There are few things more painful than learning that your partner has betrayed you. In fact, the effect that discovering an affair has on the brain is very similar to that of PTSD. Moving on from this form of trauma takes time. Indeed, it takes a year and a half for the brain to fully recover.
When you are feeling the intense pain of betrayal it is hard to think of anything else. It seems impossible to imagine that this could actually be an opportunity to build a better and healthier relationship. However, many of the most successful relationships have been forged after the revelation of an affair alerted both parties to the need to make a change.
Dealing with the root problems
There is such a thing as a habitual cheater, a person who, for whatever reason, just can’t or won’t be faithful, but they are rare. Something close to 50% of marriages in America are impacted by infidelity at some point. The vast majority of cases involve normal people – flawed to be sure, but basically good. There was a reason you and your partner chose to commit to each other. The odds are it wasn’t to have an affair a few years later.
In most cases, an affair is the symptom of a longer pattern of relationship breakdown. Lack of communication, small breaches of trust, and petty slights can have a slow ‘drip-drip’ effect that is easy to ignore, but cumulatively disastrous. Being in a relationship that is slowly turning bad is a bit like the proverbial boiling frog: you barely notice until things become much worse than you thought. The good news is that the discovery of an affair is an opportunity to pull back the cloak of normalcy and examine the underlying dynamics of your relationship.
Rebuilding after an affair
Couples therapy after the discovery of an affair is hard work. A major part is helping the injured party to learn to trust again, and training the partner to earn that trust. Just as important, however, is working on the entire relationship to create a new, better environment for both of you. The day you discover infidelity might feel like the day your marriage or relationship fell part. More likely it exposed cracks that were already there. However, it could well be the day you started putting it together again. If you have been rocked by the revelation of an affair, reach out to find out what couples therapy can do for you.Please share this post!