Healing from Infidelity

Your Quick Guide to Relationship Success
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Your Quick Guide to Relationship Success
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If someone has cheated on you, it may feel like healing from infidelity is just not possible. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Recovery is not just possible, it is likely. Some people have an easier time than others, and as is pointed out in a recent study, some couples recover while others choose to dissolve their relationship.(1)

Steven M Cohn, PhD, LMFT
The Portland Couples Counseling Center
1940 NE Broadway
Portland, Oregon  97232

Couple arguing

This study also points out that forgiveness is the key factor in preserving a relationship and healing after infidelity is discovered.

If you have discovered that your spouse is cheating, forgiveness is often not the first thought on your mind, but it may be the most important thing you can do. It may help you to know that you are not the only person in the world who has ever had to face the challenge of recovering from an affair.

Although it is generally accepted that as many as 60% of men and 40% of women cheat on their spouses, some statistics show that only 10% of people who cheat end up subsequently divorcing their spouses and marrying the person with whom they had an affair. Given that, it is important that you learn how to restore your stability and how it can help you to preserve your marriage. Michele Weiner-Davis, is an advocate of keeping relationships intact. She believes that healing from infidelity is possible. Weiner-Davis points out that the recovery process is both long and arduous. Many setbacks are to be expected while you work through the painful and challenging issues.

Seeing a Relationship Specialist may be a key to your recovery. A counselor may be able to help you face your problems head on, rather than avoiding or skirting around the issues.(2) Your counselor may also help you to change the dynamics of your relationship to promote trust and stability.

An affair is one of the most difficult problems to address in couples therapy because the trauma of cheating alters the ways in which couples process information about each other.(3) The authors present a three-stage treatment approach which helps your healing from infidelity cognitively (in your mind), behaviorally, and emotionally (in your heart).

Alternative medicine counseling providers see healing from infidelity both as an intensely personal event and a community event, meaning that healing involves not only the couple where infidelity was discovered, but also, their relationships with other people in their lives such as children, friends, and extended family members.(4) The authors found as many as nine interdependent relationship characteristics that can promote healing from infidelity.

You had probably invested a lot in your relationship before you discovered that your partner was being unfaithful. Doesn’t it make sense to preserve that investment by learning about healing from infidelity, rather than just chucking it all? If you cannot find healing by yourself, please consider seeing a Relationship Specialist before you make any decisions that will forever change your life and your family’s life.

End Notes

(1) Hall, Julie H. and Fincham, Frank D. Relationship Dissolution Following Infidelity: The Roles of Attributions and Forgiveness. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology 25(5): 508-522, May, 2006.

(2) Blow, Adrian J. Face It head On Helping A Couple Move Through the Painful and Pernicious Effects of Infidelity. Journal of Couple & Relationship Therapy 4(2/3): 91 – 102, September, 2005.

(3) Gordon, Kristina Coop, Baucom, Donald H., and Snyder, Douglas K. Optimal Strategies in Couple Therapy: Treating Couples Dealing with the Trauma of Infidelity. Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy 38(3): 151-160, September, 2008.

(4) Miller, William L. and Crabtree, Benjamin F. Healing Landscapes: Patients, Relationships and Creating Optimal Healing Places. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 11(supplement 1): s41 – s49, December, 2005.

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Did Your Husband, Wife, or Intimate Partner Cheat on You?

Don't let infidelity, an affair, or a one-night stand destroy your relationship.

With professional intervention it is often possible to work through the pain of betrayal and come out stronger on the other side.

Steven Cohn, PhD is a seasoned Relationship Specialist with extensive experience in working with couples struggling to recover after an affair.