When you find out that your spouse has been unfaithful, you may feel violated, betrayed, and even humiliated. The person you trusted more than almost anyone on earth, the person you thought trusted and loved you, too, lied to you and broke their promise to be faithful.
Despite ever-expanding norms of behavior, 91% of Americans who responded to a 2017 Gallup poll believe that adultery is morally wrong. Cheating breaks down trust in a relationship and is the second most common reason for divorce, after “lack of commitment.”
At the Soho Center for Mental Health Counseling in New York City’s Greenwich Village, our compassionate mental health specialists help you and your partner navigate the turbulent waters after an affair. Here are a few reasons why couples counseling can help you make the decisions that are best for you and may even lead to a relationship that’s stronger than ever.
Helps you cope with grief and loss
After finding out that your spouse had an affair or multiple affairs, you may be experiencing profound feelings of sadness and grief. The marriage you thought you had, or that you once had, no longer exists. You’re either facing the end of the relationship or working toward a new form of the relationship, where trust must be rebuilt piece by piece.
It’s normal to feel depressed or numb after your relationship has been broken. You’re grieving the loss of love and trust, and your partner may be dealing with similar emotions. Couples counseling helps you discuss the feelings you have and find new ways of framing them, so that you can accept them, accept your new circumstances, and move toward a different future than the one you’d originally planned.
Gives you a safe space to explore
If your unfaithful spouse is willing to commit to couples counseling, they probably have a strong interest in continuing the relationship, despite their behavior. However, you may be so angry and hurt that it’s impossible to have a conversation about the betrayal without getting into a fight and becoming even more upset.
Your counselor provides a safe space for each of you to talk honestly about your feelings. You may learn things about your spouse and their infidelity that either help you decide to stay and fight it out or give you good reason to move on. Your spouse may have psychological issues, such as a sex addiction, or may have felt isolated and abandoned in the relationship.
Helps you make a healthy transition
Whether you decide to stay or go, life isn’t going to be the same as it was before you discovered that your spouse cheated. Divorce is traumatic and difficult, especially if you have children. Your counselor helps you discuss issues that need to be resolved and negotiated in order to transition to a single state, including getting family counseling to help any children you have adjust to the divorce.
The couples counseling process also gives you new communication tools you can use in dealing with your spouse now and in the future, and with new relationships, too. The process helps you learn more about yourself and your relationship patterns, so that you don’t unconsciously repeat them in the future.
If you decide to stay together, couples therapy gives you the skills you need to rebuild trust. In many cases, couples find that deciding to stay together and rebuild their relationship with couples therapy makes their marriage stronger and increases intimacy.
Find out how couples counseling helps you cope with the betrayal of an unfaithful spouse. Contact us for couples counseling by using the online form or calling our friendly staff during office hours.