By Nancy Ryan
Marriage and Family Therapist
Fair Oaks, California
April 30th, 2020
What To Do When You Find Out There Has Been An Affair
We all know that infidelity can shatter a relationship, leaving both partners feeling angry, hurt, and betrayed. It is without doubt an unideal situation. However, infidelity does not necessarily mean the end of a relationship. With help, many couples are able not only to make it through an affair but to come out even stronger, together, on the other side. Here is advice on how to overcome infidelity from an infidelity counselor in Roseville, California. Below you will find practical steps on what to do when you find out there has been an affair.
- End the affair. This may seem obvious but it has to be stated. For the sake of rebuilding trust, it is vital that the unfaithful spouse end the affair and cease all contact with the person with whom they were involved.
- Don’t make any immediate decisions. After finding out about an affair, you will be feeling emotional and reactive, and rightly so. You are more than justified in your feelings. However, it is a good idea to postpone any big decisions about your relationship or your life until these emotions have simmered down and your mind is clear.
- Take responsibility and apologize. For one reason or another, one person broke the trust and went outside of the relationship for emotional and/or physical connection. He or she must take responsibility and apologize for their actions and the pain they have caused. It is also important, however, that the betrayed partner also accept responsibility and apologize for their contribution to the situation. This may feel difficult or counterintuitive, but when both partners accept responsibility and apologize, instead of blaming or victimizing each other, the relationship has a much better chance of survival.
- Ask and answer questions. Our minds can be dangerous when left to their own devices and consequently it can be very helpful to the spouse who found out about the affair to have the opportunity to ask questions about what happened. Keep in mind, these questions should not dive too deeply into unnecessary or explicit details and the answering partner should be considerate and kind when answering. Do provide all details honestly and completely, however, honoring and allowing your partner their process.
- Have truth talks. Take turns telling each other the truth… about what happened, about how you are feeling, about how you contributed to the infidelity, about the future of your relationship. Don’t hold anything back. Let one partner talk while the other listens. Then, have the listening partner reflect back what they heard before switching roles.
- Show your partner empathy. The way a couple looks at and receives one another says a lot about whether the relationship will survive. In this situation, the unfaithful partner must show empathy for the grieving partner, allowing them to express all the emotions they will undoubtedly feel. And vice versa. If your intention truly is to repair and recreate your relationship, keep an open mind and open heart when it comes to your significant other.
- Grieve together. No matter what happens after an affair or whether a couple chooses to
stay together, when infidelity happens, both partners lose something they once held dear. Your old relationship is gone, the trust and confidence you had in one another, the vision of your future – all of these things must be grieved before you can begin to create something new.
- Recommit to the partnership. Trust can only be rebuilt when full commitment is present. Although both partners will probably be on an emotional roller coaster after an affair, making sure you both know that neither of you is going anywhere is an important part of getting through the challenges together.
- Take time to do things together. Focus on spending time alone, just the two of you. Take this opportunity to get to know one another again. Couples that have shared interests and participate in enjoyable activities together recover from infidelity more quickly.
- Focus on forgiveness. There will be a million different thoughts and feelings in both of your heads but if forgiveness and moving forward is what you want, then forgiveness and moving forward is what you must focus on.
- Seek professional help. A trained therapist is available for infidelity counseling in Roseville or Fair Oaks. The affair happened for a reason and its effects will be deep and long-lasting. Seeking the help of a therapist who specializes in infidelity and couples counseling will help both partners identify, understand, and resolve the underlying issues that caused the affair in the first place.
- Give it time. The road to overcoming infidelity can be long and winding. Stay focused on your commitment and create a vision that both of you can work towards. I encourage you to get help as this is a lot to go through on your own. Visit us at https://therelationshiptherapycenter.com if we can be of help.
About The Author
After 25+ years in the corporate world, Nancy Ryan, LMFT finished her Masters Degree in Psychology as a working adult and spent her part time hours working toward licensure. Fully licensed, she left the corporate world and made the transition to working in a private practice office. Years of her own personal growth, therapy and recovery have given Nancy an ability to fully relate with clients intuitively and use her experience and training to help clients . After building a thriving private practice, she launched the Relationship Therapy Center to help more people get the quality therapy they were looking for. Because the center specializes in couples, she went on to become the only Gottman Certified Therapist (an evidence-based couples counseling method) in the Sacramento area and all her staff also are trained in the Gottman Method.