Marital Affairs, Couples Therapy, Betrayal, Healing, Recovery, Counseling Therapy, Louisville, Kentucky, Anne Milligan


After the Affair: Healing the Pain of Betrayal
Anne Milligan, LCSW

As anyone who has ever experienced the emotional pain of a marital affair will tell you, the sense of betrayal and grief is a lot like going through a death. It most certainly is the death of the relationship as the couple knew it. I (Anne Milligan) have seen many couples in therapy eventually come to realize that the affair was a wake-up call that heralded a whole new life (WITH REORGANIZED PRIORITIES) for the relationship. I have also seen marriages crumble beyond repair and two people destined to a life of bitter hate for each other (and many scenarios in between, including the development of a false recovery of the relationship, based on continued dishonesty between one or both of the individuals).  While every couple's situation is different, there are a few things we can look at here that make a difference in how couples do or don't heal their relationship and recover the marriage:

Whether the unfaithful partner voluntarily confessed to the affair or was caught.

Whether one or the other (or both) is Clinically Depressed and willing to seek treatment.
Research in the area of marriage therapy reveals that a large percentage of troubled marriages include at least one of the partners who is masking Clinical Depression.

How committed both parties are to staying together.

emotionally honest both parties are willing to be in the process of recovery.
As hard as it might be to realize when a person is in the initial stages of grief, anger and shock over an affair, the fully honest emotional involvement of both individuals is required in order to heal and move the relationship forward. The couple eventually will have to move beyond "blame and shame" to a real focus on solutions to the core problems (and possibilities) in the relationship. That is the greatest challenge for marriage therapy when infidelity is an issue.

You might consider reading the book "After the Affair" by Janis A. Spring.

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