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.