nfidelity is one of the most devastating problems that a couple can go through. Raw emotions such as shock, anger, mourning, sadness, and guilt often come into play. The partner who has been ‘cheated on’ feels betrayal, agony and furry. You never thought it would happen to you. You are literally in shock, traumatized, and feel the innocence and trust in your relationship will never return.

The partner who is the ‘cheater’ is also overwhelmed with a roller coaster of emotions. On one hand you intellectually know you did the wrong thing and cannot understand how and why you let this happen. On the other hand, you may feel somewhat justified for your actions due to unhappiness or disconnection in your primary relationship.

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In my experience of counseling couples who have experienced infidelity, I have found that learning that your spouse has been unfaithful, creates so much anger, jealousy, and fear. Due to this, unfortunately, deep and sustaining connections can be obscured, leading couples to further damage or utterly abandon relationships that often have a greater potential to be intimate and passionate.

It’s important that couples try to understand that they can survive, and even thrive, in the aftermath of an affair. Working together we will uncover and define:


  • What makes a spouse cheat? Generally affairs do not occur in a vacuum, and it’s crucial tofind out what made your partner cheat. Often there is a problem or weakness in the ‘cheater’ or the relationship that is not being addressed such as emotional or physical disconnection, lack of intimacy, having parents who were unfaithful, or overwhelming stress from career, family, or financial pressures.
  • Too often the partner who is the ‘cheater’ is using the affair as a dysfunctional coping mechanism – a way to hide or not deal with the problems they are having personally or in the relationship. Once the problem is uncovered and defined, the ‘cheater’ must create healthier ways of coping and dealing with their problems in the future.
  • Processing the anger of the partner who has been ‘cheated on’ is an important yet treacherous stage. It is completely understandable and normal that the partner who has discovered the affair is consumed with rage. People tell me their fury comes out at many inopportune times. You have a right to feel this anger, but a responsibility to process it in a healthy way. Take time to process these feelings in counseling until you can articulate them to your partner in a way that makes sense and feels safe.
  • Different partners feel different emotions at different times. Do not expect your partner’s healing process to be identical to yours. We are all individuals and process painful feelings and emotions differently. Some people are able to emote and can get in touch with their inner thoughts on demand, others hold painful feelings in or hide them with defense mechanisms.
  • Define what is broken in your relationship and work towards repairing it. This will take hard work, a commitment, patience, healthy communication (talking and listening) and honesty from both partners. Once we find out what is broken, together we can make a plan to reconnect the couple.
  • Each partner needs to take responsibility for the affair. An affair is a couple not an individual problem. It’s crucial to understand that you are both culpable.
  • The Healing Process – making amends. This is a crucial stage in the recovery process. Each member of the couple has as much time as needed to discuss the ways in which they feel hurt, abandoned, betrayed, and disappointed in the relationship.
  • Forgiveness. Healing from an affair takes time.No one can put a timetable on sorting through excruciating emotions. The process can be long and painful for both partners. It’s important to give your partner (both the ‘cheated’ and the ‘cheater’) time to heal, and time to forgive.

The good news is that couples can and do survive, and even thrive, in the aftermath of an affair.


Early Signs:

Relationships rarely die overnight. Almost always, the destruction of a couple happens little by little, over time.
Your relationship may be in trouble if you are experiencing:

  • Communication breakdown
  • Diminished sexual desire and activity level
  • Replaying old arguments and resurrecting old hurts
  • Resentment and contempt have replaced patience and love
  • One or both of you are having an affair


We saw Rachel when we were engaged and having major in-law problems that were interfering with the planning of our wedding. We were bickering a lot and couldn’t seem to resolve these problems on our own, and that’s why we decided to go for counseling. Rachel helped us to discuss these problems without being defensive, and taught us that we had a right to set limits with our families. We found the process very helpful, and we continue to call on her when our relationship needs a tune up.

Diane (28) & James (29)

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