It IS Possible to Heal After An Affair

A blog from our friends Debby Deroian, LAC and Meredith Keller, LPC of Couples Therapy Center of New Jersey

Have you ever heard someone declare “If my partner ever had an affair, our relationship would be over. I would be done!”?  Although that’s easy to say, in reality, if you are the one in that situation, it is a lot more complicated, especially if there are children involved.  At Couples Therapy Center of NJ, we help couples to figure out if repair and healing is even possible.

When there’s been infidelity, it’s our job to get them through the initial intensity of the revelation and to evaluate whether this relationship is salvageable.  We use a three step approach that focuses first on the present, second on the past, and third on the future:

  1. We help the couple deal with intense emotions that they are feeling in the present. An affair brings on many difficult emotions in the relationship, including rage, grief, confusion, guilt and shame. Navigating these intense emotions is an important step in stabilizing the relationship.  Stabilization is critical in order for the couple to move to the next step.
  2. We guide couples in looking at the history of the relationship. The purpose is to examine, and learn from, what may have led up to the affair. In this stage, couples make amends and begin healing this huge rupture.  If both partners are willing to acknowledge their contributions to the relationship, they can actually grow from this painful experience.  It’s not our job to point fingers and lay blame.  Instead, we help the couple take ownership of their past behaviors which, in turn, shines a light on what needs to be different going forward.
  3. We focus couples on the future. With our tools and techniques, they co-create a better and stronger relationship. Both partners work on what they need to do differently to rebuild trust and closeness.  Often couples who come to our office will say “We just want to go back to the way things were.” Our response is that we would like to help them go forward and not backwards because something about your past lead to the infidelity.  We seek to change the dysfunctional pieces together so trust is rebuilt and this never happens again.

It is possible to heal after an affair, and we have helped many couples through this process and onto a better, stronger relationship.  Plus, these couples have been able to spare their kids from a painful divorce.  If you’d like our help, call Couples Therapy Center of NJ at 908-246-3074 or email [email protected] to set an appointment with one of our relationship experts.