Learning your partner has had an inappropriate relationship with someone else can be devastating. Whether the infidelity is physical, emotional, virtual (or all of the above) many monogamous relationships do survive an episode of cheating without break-up or divorce, providing the infidelity stops and both partners are willing to do the hard work toward rebuilding trust and connection in their relationship. Surprising to some, when couples were asked about marital satisfaction, 34% of women and 56% of men who were having affairs reported being happy with their partner. Thus the stereotype that cheating is always the product of a poor relationship or that the relationship must end when a partner strays is just not the case.
Infidelity can create hopelessness, anger, powerlessness, and despair. Many couples struggle to let go of these hurts and partners get stuck in that bitter place for the rest of their lives. In counseling, I often see these negative feelings give way to amazing insights, hope, strength, and a more joyful relationship. It is hard to imagine when there has been an episode of cheating, but infidelity can be a catalyst for positive change if partners are willing to commit to the process with openness, honesty, and accountability. After experiencing the journey of infidelity recovery with countless couples, I can say that I deeply understand the process, the emotions, the changes and stages people go through during this huge life adjustment.
Based on the affair recovery models provided by John Gottman, Ph.D. and Esther Perel, I provide a structured treatment plan and encourage clients and couples to take the time they need in therapy to process feelings, establish understanding, and stabilize moods prior to making a life altering decision to stay or go. I offer ambivalence therapy for those who are unsure they want to continue in the relationship as well as infidelity recovery therapy for those who seek to reduce their symptoms or strengthen their relationship post-affair. These options are available for couples and individuals and we will address relationship goals, boundary-setting, as well as self-care.
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