Partners can be unfaithful for many reasons. In the recovery process, those reasons will be uncovered and processed to make sure the past will not repeat itself. But that comes later. The first and most important decision is whether both partners want to move forward and are willing to work on the relationship. Infidelity work is tough for both partners, hurt and unfaithful. It’s intense and evocative of potentially overwhelming emotions. As a therapist, my goal is always to guide couples through this process using a structure and framework to provide safety.
So you’ve been unfaithful or your partner has been unfaithful. You’ve decided to try and move forward with your relationship. Couples often come in to therapy asking; is it even possible to get over this? Will this always be hanging over us?
The couples I’ve seen who have done this work successfully view it as an opportunity to overhaul their relationship. When you’ve been through something as traumatic as infidelity and decided that you still want to continue your relationship, a huge space opens for transformation. One that you and your partner co-create and one that is fulfilling for both of you. I’ve had couples who describe feeling a sense of relief in the aftermath; after all, the worst had happened and there was nowhere to go but up.
Couples do get through this, but not over it. Not in a negative sense; they work very hard and are very honest with themselves and their partners. They recommit to their relationship and to making it the best it can be. They lower their defenses and learn to communicate in a way that ensures they’ll be heard. They remember where they’ve been and what they’ve learned so they don’t make the same mistakes again. They do it all so they can have the relationship they need moving forward. It’s about moving through and embracing the lessons to be learned.