Your world is spinning…
It’s only been six hours since you found those messages, but it feels like six weeks. Time stopped… then started again in slow motion. Your brain keeps trying to turn the clock backward.
You weren’t even looking for anything – or anyone. You innocently used their device to Google something when it caught your eye.
An odd text message…
You glanced at it, mildly curious, but you couldn’t stop once you started reading.
Shock and confusion rolled through your body, and you descended into the rabbit hole. “How could this be happening?!?” you thought.
Everything in your life feels different now.
At first, it seems like a twisted joke as it dawns on you that appearance isn’t reality. There’s so much you didn’t know… and don’t know.
The moments of your life together flash through your mind – times when you thought everything was fine – even happy. All those happy faces online and on the walls have a different meaning now.
The more you learn, the more you question everything that’s happened between you. It’s like you have to rewrite the entire history of your relationship. Was it ALL a lie??
The certainty you once had about your relationship, life, and even yourself is gone.
Broken… everything is broken. And the explosion of this affair has created a wasteland of your lives – a shambles of debris you can never put right.
This affair has cost you more than you ever dreamed – perhaps even more than you know.
You’ve thought about what you’d do if they had an affair.
And the answer always seemed simple: Leave. Have some self-respect. Don’t allow someone to treat you like this. “Once a cheater – always a cheater,” right?
But it doesn’t seem so easy now.
You’ve been together for years.
There’s the house, the kids, and all your friends. Why should you have to lose all that, too? It seems too high a price.
Not to mention… you still love them. When things are good, they are so good.
But isn’t staying the wrong thing to do?
Doesn’t that tell them what they did is okay?
And what will people think?
What now? Is there hope?
Another complicating factor is many types of affairs. Some are clearer or more blatant emotional violations than others.
When a spouse “cheats,” we usually think of long-term affairs, including sex. But there are other, subtler… perhaps even more invasive infidelities.
Emotional affairs occur when a partner develops an intimate connection usually reserved for marriage with someone else.
They can be just as damaging, if not more damaging, than a physical affair – because partners often disagree about what makes up “cheating.” Boundary lines may be blurry, so it’s harder to tell when a partner has crossed them.
You might be thinking…
“It’s better to say I tried everything – even if it doesn’t end up working.”
Perhaps, but making such momentous, long-term decisions amid such complicated circumstances and feelings can overwhelm you, particularly when you’ve “lost” your primary sounding board and decision-making partner.
But you don’t have to face this alone.
We are here to help you find your way.
Leaving is hard no matter where you are emotionally. Staying and committing to the work needed to repair the relationship is also hard. There is no “easy” path here. You have to pick your “hard.”
Repairing the relationship requires change from both partners, and it’s a brave thing to do. Some can do it; others think it’s easier to “just leave.”
Both choices are challenging, but both are also possible.
Healing from an affair requires six essential steps.
You have to do them all, but you can do them in any order:
Clearing the air…
The partner who had an affair must fully disclose the details of the affair and take accountability for their actions.
Adopting a new form of communication…
You must both learn and practice reflective listening for communication.
This means creating a clear, shared definition of boundaries.
Together, we’ll outline the behaviors you can use to repair, rebuild, and find trust within your relationship.
Fighting fairly with a plan…
You’ll learn a structured approach to handling disagreements so that inevitable conflicts will bring you together instead of tearing you apart.
In therapy, we’ll nourish the self-esteem of both partners, restoring you to a healthy place so that you can nurture a successful, egalitarian relationship.
This won’t be easy.
Looking at these steps, there are probably some you’re looking forward to more than others.
But if you do the work, you can create something better and stronger than before!
A recent study by psychologist Dr. Shirley Glass, whom the New York Times calls “the godmother of infidelity research,” showed that 71% stay together after their therapy.
You CAN heal your pain, repair the relationship, and move forward together.
Give me a call. Let’s schedule your free consultation to see how I can help: (480) 908-7898.