Many issues can cause challenges in a relationship. But perhaps none causes as great a challenge as an affair. Relationships are built on trust between two individuals, and an affair – both emotional and physical – can thoroughly erode that trust in a way that instantly changes the marriage or relationship.
When couples seek out counseling after an affair, it is because they are trying to save the relationship. But many wonder – can the relationship even be saved after an affair?
The Effects of the Affair
The couples therapist in my wants to say that yes, all couples can recover from affairs. But the truth is that is simply not the case. It depends a great deal on where you are as a couple, and what has led to the affair. For example:
- Mutual Challenges – If the affair was the result of long term, mutual challenges in the relationship that already had you growing apart as a couple, or if it was simply one partner’s choice to have an affair.
- Love and Energy – Some couples have a great deal of love even when they have gone through an affair. Others have had relationships that have broken down over the years, and much of the love is gone.
- Commitment to a Future – After an affair, some couples are both thoroughly committed to working through it, rebuilding trust, and improving the relationship. Others are more one sided, where one partner wants to rebuild, but the other is still on the fence.
These factors and more can all change the likelihood of a recovery. In my experience, the truth is more of a mix. For some couples, the damage is done. There is simply no way to fully recover and have a successful relationship. When these couples seek counseling, what we try to do is repair the relationship so that the parting is easier for all parties, and both can rebuild their lives after separation.
For others, it is possible to put a Band Aid on the relationship, but not stop the bleeding. Every single affair has some type of underlying issues. Unless they are addressed, recovery is difficult. Couples counseling can be a big benefit here.
Finally, for other couples, it is possible to get to a better place. The breakdown in trust can be long lasting, but if and when both parties are ready to commit, understand the issues that led to the affair, and are willing to both actively work on solving them, a stronger relationship is possible.
For more information about couples counseling in Garden City, Lawrence, Merrick, Rockville Centre, and much of the rest of Long Island, please contact me today.