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Does Couple Therapy work after an affair?


An affair can cause deep pain and lack of trust in the partnership. A breach of trust can be catastrophic in a relationship. Each person comes with their own history of emotions, sense of trust and needs. Our sense of attachment, safety and security comes from as early as our first caregivers. We learn if we can count on our caregivers to take care of our needs or not. We learn what actions and behaviors gets us the attention from our caretakers, and this narrative gets reconfirmed through our our life process. The human brain remembers all of our hurt and pain to protect us from future pains.


We can therefore create an insecure attachment, dysfunctional thinking patterns and coping mechanisms. Many different aspects of human nature can create the events of an affair. No matter the reasons, it can be extremely painful and hard to build a re-trust with one's partner. The brain will there after we wired to pick up on every discrepancy, every shift or change from the normal. Anxiety can be hyperaroused, or each partners sense of self can be depleted leading to depression. Substance abuse or heavy use can be a way of coping with these painful feelings.


Through the therapy process each partner can better understand the process of events that led to the affair. If both partners continue to work together toward a better future, new patterns, behaviors, narratives and perspectives can be built. This can create a deeper sense of trust with each other. When needs and boundaries are valued and communicated and the relationship is in a safer place, the fear of a future affair becomes less intense and the brain eventually follows suit, lessening the symptoms that were experienced before the therapy process.


A therapist can help guide communication between the partners, discover needs and boundaries and can help bring some understanding and strategies between the partners. It is not a therapist job to "fix" someone. Each person is determines what they need for happiness and fulfillment and how they want to lead their lives. A therapist does not "fix" people.


Many couples learn to trust each other again, and negate the feelings and environment that lead to the affair in the future. At the same time, there are couples who decide through out the process that they no longer want to continue with the relationship and do not see a conclusion they need to move forward.


If only one partner wants to begin the work, and the other does not, then individual therapy can be an option. One partner can still work to understand, heal and learn to move forward for themselves, whether they decided to stay in the relationship or not. However, in couples work it is more advantageous to have both parties participating. Regardless of the outcome, therapy can be an excellent place to work through the painful emotions and experiences that come from an affair, and get some healing toward a better future.


Immediate openings in our Gaithersburg and Frederick locations, along with virtual sessions are available. Contact us today to schedule your FREE initial consultation, so we can discuss how we can help you get back on track and heal!

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