Relationship Counseling: How To Deal With Infidelity
Infidelity can severely strain a relationship. An affair can leave the other person feeling devastated, betrayed, and confused. While some couples end their relationship after an affair, others take steps to heal together.
If you’re dealing with infidelity, there’s good news: You’re not alone. According to the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy, most relationships not only survive betrayal, but many relationships become stronger and more intimate after couples therapy. Here’s how relationship counseling can help you start the healing process, navigate relationship issues, and strengthen your bond.
How does counseling help with infidelity?
Dealing with betrayal can feel like an emotional rollercoaster. It’s natural to feel intense emotions, blame yourself for your partner’s affair, or fall into depression—but you don’t have to deal with these emotions alone. If you’ve been affected by an affair, individual therapy can help you let go, manage your stress, and figure out the best steps forward.
In addition to individual therapy, marital therapy can be a valuable resource for couples in troubled relationships. After betrayal, relationship counseling can help you clarify your relationship and decide how to move forward. Couples counselors encourage open discussion, assisting couples to identify unhealthy relationship patterns such as emotional abuse, affairs, and codependency.
Ultimately, couples counseling can help partners embrace their new relationship. Therapy for infidelity can help couples grow a stronger bond and improve intimacy, freeing both partners from the negative emotions surrounding the affair.
What should you expect during relationship therapy?
Recovering from betrayal can be a lengthy process, and there’s no linear timeframe for establishing a healthy relationship. In many cases, the recovery timeline depends on a couple’s reactions after an affair is discovered. After the initial discovery, you might experience depression, vulnerability, and a sense of loss.
During your initial relationship therapy appointment, your relationship counselor will help you set goals for treatment. After a betrayal, couples who want to restore their bond must overcome mixed feelings about staying in the relationship.
The therapeutic process is hard work—and relationship therapy can activate painful emotions. The right therapist will provide a safe place to explore your emotions, creating an environment where each partner listens and speaks freely. Depending on your relationship and the situation surrounding the affair, your couples therapist will create a personalized treatment plan tailored to your preferences, requirements, and mental health needs.
How can you talk to your partner about the affair?
While marriage counseling can help you develop healthier communication skills, you’ll need to work on your relationship outside of therapy to start healing. Opening up about an affair is a significant step, but deciding what to do next can feel overwhelming.
Talking about the affair might take time, and that’s normal. Here’s how to start rebuilding trust after a betrayal.
- Be patient. If you had an affair, take a step back and be patient with your partner. It may be painful for them to process your affair. Meanwhile, if you recently found out about a betrayal, allow your partner to express their feelings.
- Take responsibility. If you had an affair, avoid blaming your partner. Don’t minimize the impact of your betrayal.
- Practice forgiveness. Forgiveness is a necessary step to rebuilding your relationship. The partner who had the affair needs to offer a genuine apology, and the partner who was betrayed must accept that apology.
Compassionate, Data-Driven Counseling in DC
Defining a healthy relationship can be challenging, especially after infidelity. After successful relationship counseling, your connection will be stronger, and you’ll be able to address relationship issues as they arise.
To find a relationship counselor or a specialist LGBTQIA+ couples therapist reach out to a mental health professional through the Therapy Group of DC. We know that navigating relationship problems can feel overwhelming—and we’re here to help you with supportive, data-driven counseling. One of our experienced counselors will help you develop a healthy, honest, and trusting relationship.