Can our marriage survive the affair?
You’ve been asking yourself this question since finding out about your partner’s affair. You might recognise how hurt, angry and disappointed you feel and yet are unable to share your feelings with your partner. Maybe the shoe is on the other foot and you have had the affair and you want to stay in your marriage.
Whichever the circumstance, you want to be able to talk more openly to your partner and explore what might be possible between you both, moving forward, after the affair. It can take a tremendous amount of emotional energy and commitment to heal the rupture in your relationship, when your trust has been broken.
What would it be like for you to learn to be more open and honest with each other in terms of why the affair happened? To learn more about what has gone wrong between you, and to explore sensitively the pain that has been evoked for you both? You know how you feel about the sexual infidelity. Does your partner know how you feel? How does your partner feel?
Learning to sit with each other and to hear how each other feel can be really tough and yet can be healing and ultimately bring you closer together. Your partner will never know how you feel unless you are able to find a way to tell them. You wont know how your partner feels unless they find a way to tell you. You can’t assume that either of you knows how the other feels.
Many relationships suffer from sexual problems and often it is the sexual issues that bring a couple to couples' therapy. However, often sexual problems can mask deeper seated communication difficulties between a couple that actually affect all areas of your relationship. Brief couples’ therapy can help you both address such communication difficulties between you and sensitively explore a way forward together from what has happened between you both. It can help you learn to really listen to each other and learn how to express how you feel and have your say respectfully, whist keeping both of you ‘Okay’.
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About Mandy Atkinson
Mandy Atkinson, MBACP, MA, RGN, Cert. Ed. is an experienced counsellor who runs a practice in Hadlow, near Tonbridge in Kent. She provides short and longer term counselling for individuals of all ages and for couples and groups.