Will I ever be able to trust again after my partner has had an affair?
This question is asked regularly in couples therapy. Trust is something that usually comes so easily at the start of the relationship, but when that trust is broken it can be difficult to recover. A breakdown in trust can lead to other difficulties too, such as paranoia, shame, resentment and frequent arguments. It can feel as if your whole relationship has been brought into question: a relationship you thought was generally happy and stable.
The good news is that with support and time, trust can come back. Therapy can be a great space to process the hurt and the guilt of the affair, along with the various issues that accompany it. Some couples find that they need to redefine and reform the relationship, which may have taken a back seat with the busyness of life. Other couples decide to separate, but part more amicably than they might have otherwise. Either way, counselling is a valuable place to process these feelings and help to rebuild trust, whether for this relationship or for a future one.
Counselling is a neutral space which allows what needs to be said the space to be aired without spiralling into the arguments which can block progress. If you are one of the many people who have an internalised rule that if your partner cheats on you that it will be over, but then it happened and you don’t know what to think, then maybe counselling can help you think through this decision and support you when everything feels up in the air.
Ultimately counselling is not there to persuade you that one line of action is better than another or to say who is in the wrong and who is in the right. But it can help to hold all of the overwhelming feelings that an affair can stir up and help you to process these so that you can pick up the pieces and move forwards.
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