Strategies to get past an affair
About 60-75% (depended on the study) of couples stay together after an infidelity. For about half of those who stay together the affair leaves a deep scar. Usually years of hurt and bickering ensue. However, the other half tends to take a good look at what went wrong, and after some time of soul searching, create a relationship that is stronger than it was before the affair. These are usually couples who seek the help of a relationship counsellor.
After the discovery of an affair there are three main tasks:
1. Find ways to manage and minimize painful emotions (this is the hardest part)
2. Come to understand how the affair come about (this requires honesty)
3. Reach an explicit, well informed decision how to move forward (this may lead to reconciliation or separation)
If couples decide to stay together relationship counselling can help
- To avoid doing more damage
- To commit to a recovery process
- To understand and make sense of their own and each other’s experience of the affair
- To gain an understanding of why the participating partner got involved in the affair
To identify vulnerabilities of the relationship and ways to strengthen it
Relationship counselling after an affair is an emotional roller coaster ride that lays the strength and weakness of both the relationship and each partner bare. However, most couples who came to see me and decided to stay together reported that their relationship was better after relationship counselling than it was before the affair. In most cases there were some problems in the relationship before the affair occurred. During the counselling process couples learn how to address, rather than avoid, these issues and how to manage them more effectively. Sometimes the person who had an affair come by themselves to explore the factors and boundary violations that lead to the affair.