Counselling for Affair issues
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An affair is generally a traumatic event for a romantic relationship because it attacks at the very heart of what relationships are founded on: trust and security. The damage to the relationship is great but the personal impact on each of the partners will obviously be different – depending on whether you are the one who had the affair or the one who was cheated on.|
To really understand why this is traumatic, you need to understand the mechanism of attachment that underlies romantic relationships. Attachment is a biological mechanism designed to make us turn to our caretaker when we are most needy and vulnerable. These processes start in our infancy but what we now know is that the same attachment process that involves security seeking and separation anxiety continues to operate in our brain for the rest of our lives. It is the main engine of our close relationships. The moment we fall in love, the attachment systems kicks in. We expect our partners to always be there for us, as the main source of support. We rely on them just as we did with our parents in our early days as vulnerable children.
But each affair is a story in itself, that involves its own unique context, history and personalities. Let’s consider three possible reasons you may want to meet one of our relationship counsellors:
Three possible reasons to seek help:
You discovered your wife’s affair.
This may have a devastating impact. Men initially report feelings of shock, betrayal and disbelief. Later, it can change into a profound grief for the loss of trust, of control, of predictability. After the grieving phase, comes anger – anger at oneself, anger at the partner and at the third party.
Womens’ affairs usually involve emotional connection. Her affair may imply how unhappy she feels in her relationship and this can cause feelings of failure and shame.
In some circumstances, the affair may undermine many core beliefs about yourself, your partner and about the relationship. In the coming days and weeks, you may find yourself trying hard to make sense of what exactly happened, why it happened, what it means, what to do and more.
Recovery from such a shattering experience is not easy but we have seen couples recovering from affairs so well that they strengthened the relationship, even produced more children.
You will need to carefully assess the unique circumstances of the affair and ask what it means to you and to your relationship. Ultimately, you will need to reflect on the question “am i able to restore trust?”. It is important not to cope alone at such a difficult time. Be aware of any feelings of shame or failure and how they affect you. Do not hide or avoid sharing with others. It is essential to process what happened with the help of someone. Our relationship counsellors are ready to assist you. Healing and forgiveness are certainly possible.
You have been caught
If you have been caught, you will most likely face serious consequences for your relationship. Your partner will go through the same feelings as the ones described above. You may go through feelings of fear, guilt and shame; fear of her reactions and fear of losing your family, guilt for the pain you have caused your partner, and shame for being exposed as untrustworthy and unreliable.
If you are really keen to save the relationship, you will need to handle your partner with much care, sensitivity and wisdom. She will need your empathy, patience and your help to make sense of why you acted the way you did, before she is able to heal, forgive and restore trust.
We encourage you to consult one of our relationship mentors.
Your are having an affair
If you are having an affair you are probably experiencing mixed and confusing feelings. On the one hand, an affair can be an exhilarating and rewarding experience but on the other hand, scary and confronting.
An affair is intensely rewarding because it is designed to only provide you with pleasure without the commitment, demands and expectations that a loving relationship entails.
It is scary because there is so much at stake for you: the trauma and hurt you may cause to your partner, the impact on your family and your marriage and possible damage to your reputation.
It is confronting because it may clash with your core beliefs about family life and about yourself.
You will want to reflect on your affair and its impact on you, with much care and consideration. For that, you need a third party who is non-judgmental, someone who can help you make sense of your feelings and provide you with perspectives on your affair. Check out our relationship counsellors, who have experience helping people with this issue.