After an Affair: Should you get Counseling?

After an affair there are a myriad of emotions and feelings that circulate between the parties involved.  Many times they are hard to sort out.  You feel lost and confused and you don’t know where to turn or what to do.  Linda was that way at first, and her immediate response was to secure as much knowledge about affairs as humanly possible.  She was a research freak for several weeks.  This knowledge helped us to do the right things to save our marriage.

We may be unique from the standpoint that we were able to effectively counsel ourselves.  This may not be the case for many couples.  At some point you may have to ask yourself if one or both of you should seek the guidance of a third party.

Linda and I did see a counselor for one session.  I was not too thrilled to do it in the first place as you can imagine, but it actually was a good thing.  In our brief hour-long session we were able to lay some cards out on the table and get some valuable information from the therapist which provided an additional road map for us to follow.

Restoring the lines of communication paves the way for a better marriage in the long term.  Healthy couples are those that get used to resolving differences, even if it may seem unpleasant at the time.

Settling for a short-term solution (such as clamming up to keep the peace) will only expose your relationship to the threat of cheating again.

However, the fact that the damage has already been done (rather than preventing it) adds another dimension of complexity to the situation.  Bringing unspoken grievances out in the open is easier said than done.

Based on many couples’ experiences, it’s very difficult for a cheating spouse to point out the reasons why he/she cheated, let alone admit those faults to themselves.

It’s equally hard for the affair victim to hear out their wayward partner since they’re also dealing with their own pain as well.

When the act of speaking and listening about the affair seems too painful, it may be time to realize that getting your marriage back on track is not such a simple thing to do by yourselves.

As you go through the steps of improving your communication skills as a couple, it may be time for a counselor or mediator to participate and offer guidance in this process.

The advantage of having an impartial mediator is the ability to settle the root of conflicts more delicately.  The right third party can provide a detached observation of the big picture without bias or emotion.

The problem with leaving such a sensitive situation to the couple is that it can escalate to hostility (if it hasn’t yet).  Communicating each partner’s grievances through a counselor keeps it from turning into a blame game.

The plain truth is that forgiveness can’t co-exist with anger, and this won’t go away if it can’t be vented in a constructive manner. With the presence of a third party, the couple will have an easier time to air their sides without directing their anger at each other.

Just remember to choose your counselor carefully.  Make sure that he/she is a duly accredited professional – and it’s also a good idea to rely on the word of mouth from friends and family. If anyone from your immediate social circle had good results from a certain expert, then it’s better than going through the yellow pages.

We are assuming that you visit this blog for knowledge and support much like Linda did after learning of my emotional affair.  We hope that we can provide you with sufficient help based on our own experiences, which at times can be the best advice of all.  Sometimes that is all it takes, but often a couple needs more help and guidance after an affair, and a good therapist, coach or clergy person may be the answer.

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2 Responses to After an Affair: Should you get Counseling?

  1. michael April 2, 2010 at 1:16 pm #

    My wife had in the first few days, said that she thought she needed help. So I scheduled our first session 3 days after I found out. I’m still up in the air on how well it helped her. I know that it let me vent. But she remained quiet and reserved though each session. I know by what she has said that she didn’t like being there.
    With what I vented and emails that I had sent her, she responded with a lot of her feelings of neglect and hurt in emails back. But this was all while she was still having communications with him. She was still in the affair bubble. So I don’t think it was the right choice at the right time.
    It wasn’t until after I had sent him text messages that I realized what his intention for my wife was. I realized it had to end. She even hid her feelings from an old girl friend that she had found and was communicating with. She lied to her about how far it had gone. So at that point I asked her to end it completely.
    A few weeks later, mid January, she had spoke to him from work and tells me she said, she and I were going to work on us. I didn’t know about this until yesterday. I did find where she had tried to call him again and that was when I spoke to her and gave her the opportunity to consider divorce. I think it wasn’t until then that she stopped talking to him. I don’t know for sure but I feel better today that it is true.
    We had our last session, by her choice, in early February. And she still at that point hid a lot of details from me and the therapist. So in conclusion in my case I don’t know how much it helped her to see a therapist but it did open some doors for me. I know she has a lot of issues that need to be worked on besides our marriage but she doesn’t see that yet. I can just be a supportive as I can be and show her that I love her still.

  2. michael April 2, 2010 at 1:36 pm #

    Thank you guys, and others who have posted comments to me, for your continued support and guidence though these troublesome times. It was a good kick in the butt from last2know. Thank you.
    I wanted to share a story that I heard on a favorite show of mine. This isn’t the exact quote but it is close to the way I see it.

    A man walking down the street one day falls into a hole. Desperate to get out he tries everything he can. But he could not find his way.
    Along came a doctor who he cried out to help him. “Do you know the way out of here”. The doctor replied “No I don’t but ill write you a prescription to help you”. And the doctor left.
    Than came a priest. he cried out to him “Do you know the way out of here”. The priest replied “No I don’t but ill say a prayer to help you”. And the priest left.
    Later one of the mans friends came walking along. The man yelled, “Hey Mike, Do you know the way out of here”. And the mans friend jumped down into the whole. He asked him “Why did you do that? Now we’re both stuck down here”. His friend said “No I’ve been down here before and I can help you get out”
    Thank you to my best friend.

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