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Repairing After An Affair
Majority of couples will go through a roller coaster of emotions after an affair. Know that over 2/3rds of couples will make it through. You might be deciding on what to do next.
Putting the pieces together after an affair can be especially challenging. Many questions need to be answered, many doors need to be closed and there is no such thing a linear path back towards healing together. Or at least that is not what I have seen.
I always explain and define an affair as a deep betrayal that penetrates the very fabric of our being and often leaves an emotional scar that will need very specific type of support to heal.
Our assumptions are shattered, the ideas and perception of who our partner is have been shaken to the very core. The future is often compromised. Trust is often gone.
On the other side feelings of guilt plague the partner who had the affair. Sometimes there is sense of loss if they had a relationship with the other person outside the relationship.
The intensity of feelings can be overwhelming and debilitating.
The big question is how do you move forward?
The answer begins with healing and knowing how to handle the emotional roller coaster of feelings.
I have helped many couples navigate through the emotions and get to a place where they are making deeper meaning of this chapter in their life.
There is definitely a right way and wrong way to handle the unanswered questions and I can help to set those agreements right from the start.
Common questions are...
What feelings are normal?
What sort of rules around privacy do you need now?
How do you trust your partner again?
Does this feeling ever go away?
How long do I have to feel guilty and give up your privacy?
How do I make sure that the other person is really out of the picture?
My biggest question is WHY? And that is not being answered. How do I handle this?
Is my partner a sex addict?
All of these questions and statements are normal. I believe that if the beginning stages of healing within a relationship are not taken properly it will set up the relationship for a very long and possibly dysfunctional healing period.
Here are my steps to recovery after an affair.
Processing the right way
Everything I work with in the beginning is based around the "how". You process together moving forward and both partners need to process the information in the right way. Too often an affair can invite explosive and toxic dialogue.
Rebuilding trust through healing conversations
Fundamental to restoring trust is healing in the aftermath .I do not put time limits on this and instead motivate couples to create a relationship culture that supports open and responsive dialogue.
Rules of engagement
Most couple's counsellors stay away from giving direct feedback in relationships. I am the opposite, I give you very straightforward advice on the rules you need to move forward.
I do this based on what I have seen to work in similar situations and I always do this in co-creating/cooperative approach.
Some conversations I ask that we only process in session as it they can become far too toxic outside the office.
Taking the relationship to the next level
Making meaning out of a crisis is very difficult to do when you are right in the middle of the situation. After a couple of months of repair work and the couple is well on their way back towards being back in a stable relationship I invite them to deepen their relationship intimacy and connection.
The agreement & commitment moving forward
After we are well on way in healing I look to help the couple make a new and powerful agreement towards one another. This is very liberating and often a significant experience for most couples to set the stage for a reawakening in the relationship.
Slowing down and assessing your relationship is very important. Both of you will be feeling a great deal and need time and space to consider how to move forward.
Reaching out for help can feel shameful and discouraging. It takes courage to make that call and the first step to taking charge of your relationship and life again.
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Ken is a certified psychotherapist that specializes in a powerful approach called Gestalt Therapy that focuses on building a person's awareness, self-esteem and mind-body connection.READ MORE
Explore your concerns in a warm, safe, and non-judgmental environment.
My offices are located in Calgary and Alberta.