You’ve just discovered your partner is having an affair!
Or, if you are having an affair click here.
You feel like the earth has disappeared from under your feet and your mind is racing. You can’t imagine that your partner, who you’ve always trusted and admired, could do such a thing. You don’t know where to turn!
Turn to professional help and quickly, before key mistakes are made!
Here are situations I have a lot of training and experience to counsel:
- Sexual affairs.
- Emotional affairs.
- Sexual compulsive behavior/sex addiction.
- Deception pattern.
- Lack of agreement on monogamy.
- Gay partner in a heterosexual relationship wanting to come out.
- Sexual entitlement.
This is an area I have a lot of experience in and proven track record. I have been trained by some of the pioneers in affair recovery including Esther Perel, Ellyn Bader, John Gottman, Janis Abrahms Spring, and Sue Johnson. I use their methods.
Don’t wait! Once again, it’s important to go to a couples therapy specialist. You wouldn’t go to a Primary Care Doctor if you needed a Cardiologist! Mistakes in the first few days and weeks after discovering an affair can mean the difference between a marriage that can survive and thrive afterwards, and a marriage left with insurmountable pain and never ending resentment.
Try not to overwhelm yourself with uncovering too much unnecessary information about the affair. With the prevalence of phones, tablets and laptop computers, it is easier than ever before to find much more information than you really want or need to know. There are many things to ask, but painful details that will only haunt you over time, should be left alone. Ask a couples therapy specialist when in doubt.
Find out what to ask your partner and HOW.
It is so important to ask questions that help you understand what the affair was about. Here are some options: feeling understood, feeling special, sexuality, intimacy, common bond, feeling appreciated, being desired again, feeling desire again, a way to cope with grief and mortality, and overcoming shame/low self-esteem. Those are just a few possibilities. My role is to support you through the process, and help you both get a comprehensive understanding of the affair. In this way you learn the cause(s) and can make different decisions going forward to inoculate your relationship.
Not all affairs are sexual or sexually focused. Some are “emotional affairs”.
An emotional affair is a connection that develops with someone where the prime feature is emotional intimacy. It may exclude sex altogether, or can lead to sex. The workplace is a common arena for this, as co-workers sometimes spend many hours together. This can also occur between people through developing a texting only relationship with someone. Often, both parties start out thinking of their relationship very casually, but texting is very rewarding and reinforcing if you feel disconnected from your partner, and can eventually become frequent and even compulsive.
Often emotional and sexual affairs can be difficult to stop.
How to set the scene to discuss the affair with your partner.
If you want to learn the truth, you should think twice before you threaten your partner. Your first goal needs to be to set an atmosphere where your partner will open up to you. You will need to call on all of your inner strength. This will be very hard for them as they have likely been feeling guilty throughout the affair, especially if there have been a lot of attempts to deceive.
Above all, leave moral judgments out of the discussion. Your partner will not open up to you very much, if at all, if they feel they are being judged and if they feel you are being self-righteous. Self-righteous indignation is potentially one of the barriers to being able to heal as a couple. As an alternative, tell your partner about the hurt and sense of betrayal you feel. Go deeply into your feelings with your partner, without condemning them.
This way they will understand your pain deeply, which is critical, and they will be much more likely to talk to you openly from a vulnerable place themselves.
Your partner may not be ready to tell you the truth, at first. That is why your approach is so critically important.
Sometimes people in this situation keep lying until confronted with undeniable proof, and sometimes even beyond that point no matter what you do. This is very destructive to the relationship! But if you think your approach isn’t helping them come clean, be sure to start couples therapy as quickly as possible. Remember: people most often lie out of fear of losing their partner. They may think you will leave them if they fess up.
Will I ever trust my partner again?
Yes is the answer, but they will have to earn your trust back through their actions, love, support and participation with the therapy process.
It will feel, for quite a period of time, that you will be unable to imagine trusting them again. But therapy is designed to eventually reestablish trust and safety. Without therapy, some marriages continue, but with a great deal of resentment which can poison their relationship.
You need a Couples Therapy Specialist not a general psychotherapist who does a little bit of couples therapy without advanced training.
There are many twists and turns in the healing process for couples. Each couple dealing with an affair crisis is unique and it is my job to understand the dynamics, and factors involved. It is imperative to dedicate yourself to finding a couples therapist with enough specialized training and experience in couples therapy. It can make a huge difference. Don’t risk getting help from someone who has not seen other couples through to a healthy relationship again.