An interview with Paula Levy, Couples Therapist
Ashton Kushner has had some and so has Arnold Schwarzenagger. Affairs can happen in troubled marriages as well as seemingly happy ones. Saving a marriage after an affair is not easy. First, we need to address the shock, anger and frustration caused by this crisis. Next, we work to heal the wounds and rebuild trust. It’s important that the pain experienced by the victim spouse as well as the guilt of the cheater spouse is addressed. Couples need hope and help through this painful process. To save the marriage they may need an expert in marriage counseling for infidelity. In CT, I specialize in saving marriages after an affair. I have offices in Westport and Ridgefield. I work to help you through this difficult process. During therapy you may experience an array of feelings including anger, depression, sadness, hopelessness and helplessness. It’s important to know that most marriages survive the affair and some even thrive as a result.
As an expert in marriage counseling for infidelity in CT can you tell us what impact an affair can have on a marriage?
Affairs can devastate a marriage. Infidelity undermines trust, which is the basis for the marital relationship. The “happily ever after” dreams are destroyed. The world is no longer a secure place. There is an immense sense of being all alone and out of control. The victim spouse can’t lean on her mate during this crisis since the spouse is the cause of this stressful situation.
In most cases, couples decide to remain married after an affair. However, there can be very little closeness or intimacy in the relationship. Mistrust, disappointment and sadness permeate the couple’s interactions. However, many couples use the infidelity as a catalyst to examine their marriage and to address the underlying issues that led to the affair. Those couples that seek marriage counseling for infidelity issues can experience better communication, more intimacy and increased passion after the affair. But, without doing marriage counseling for infidelity to address these specific issues, the marriage will flounder. Trust can only be restored if the victim spouse believes that the underlying causes of the affair have been addressed. If these issues are not addressed, there is a high probability that another affair will happen in the future.
How can the person having the affair end it?
If the cheating spouse wants to end the affair he should take that action in front of his spouse. The cheating spouse can contact the person he has cheated with and definitively end the relationship. This can give some comfort to the victim spouse and begin the healing process. There should be no further communication between the cheater and the person who cheated with him. The cheating spouse should do whatever can help him maintain that distance including changing phone numbers or email addresses.
Should the person who had the affair be honest with the person they have a committed relationship with?
There are a number of factors that determine the best course of action in these cases. This is an important area of discussion if someone seeks individual or marriage counseling for infidelity. If this is short term affair and the cheater has ended it, it may be best not to disclose the infidelity to his spouse. The revelation will cause enormous grief for the injured partner. A good question to ask is, “Am I revealing this affair to help our marriage or to make me feel better?” If the cheater is motivated to relieve his guilt it may be better to begin individual counseling to help understand the reasons for the indiscretion and to make changes needed to avoid a reoccurrence. A long term affair may need to be disclosed so that the injured spouse is aware of the deep problems within the marriage and she can work with her spouse to address these issues.
In some cases, the cheater feels the need to disclose the affair because he is tired of his dishonesty and wants to end that behavior. Whatever the reason, the cheater should be prepared to support his partner through a very difficult period.
If so, how should they explain what has happened?
I have worked with many couples who have been impacted by an affair. The victim spouse struggles to understand how this could happen. Even the cheating partner cannot understand his behavior. There are no easy answers. In most cases, the couple will need several sessions of marital therapy with a therapist experienced in working in the infidelity area. Only then can they begin to understand the underlying causes of the affair and begin to repair the marriage. More importantly, the couple can decide what changes need to be made so that another affair is unlikely. Marriage counseling for infidelity issues can save your marriage and help you create a stronger, more loving marriage.
What last advice do you have for the person who engaged in the affair?
Be there for your spouse. Try to stay closer to her. Avoid situations that will cause her stress including unnecessary travel, late nights at work or events with single friends.
Be transparent in what you do. Don’t hide your phone or close your computer as she approaches.
Answer your partner’s questions to the best of your ability. Your patience and understanding can reduce her anxiety.
Be honest. This is huge. You don’t need to give all of the details but do tell her what has happened. If she finds out later that you have concealed things from her, your relationship may never heal from the repeated dishonesty.
Do not make any important decisions about your marriage until you recover from the shock and pain of the affair. In most cases, this will take several months.
Let your spouse know that she is the most important person in the world to you.
Promise to work on rebuilding your relationship no matter what it takes. Do the little things that say “I love you”.
Let your spouse decide how long she needs to heal.
Believe in your marriage and know that you can survive an affair and grow stronger.
Find a therapist that is an expert in marriage counseling for infidelity issues.
View the Full Article on Yahoo: Tips for Stopping an Affair