Helping couples heal and rebuild trust
No one can know the genuine pain and anguish the two of you are going through right now, desperately trying to understand what happened. Your pain is intense; if you are beginning the journey to rebuild trust and heal your relationship, you probably feel on shaky ground. That is totally understandable. Healing from betrayal is not easy, and in few steps, you will not be ok. The journey will be challenging. It is going to take energy, and it is going to take time.
But Dr.s John and Julie Gottman & I can offer you some hope. Healing is totally doable if you both want it to happen.
The Gottman’s have provided me with the training, which grants me the privilege to provide you with the scientific guidance that might make this journey easier for you.
Dr.s John and Julie Gottman believe in you, as do I.
What is infidelity?
An affair for the proposes of this type of therapy is a sexual relationship that violates the wedding vows of sexual exclusivity and poses a threat to the relationship.
Wedding vows traditionally include “forsaking all others” as part of the pledge that people make to another, a vow of sexual, romantic, and deep emotional exclusivity. However, if a couple has agreed to renounce monogamy vows and has an open or polyamorous relationship, extra-marital romances are acceptable and not considered betrayal. Affair counseling is exclusively for committed (same-sex or heterosexual) marriages in which a sexual affair has violated the vows and has involved the deception of the hurt partner.
Has a recent affair crushed your faith in your partner and the institution of marriage?
Do you want help relinquishing the hurt, anger but feel stuck wondering how long these feelings will last?
Still shocked and mistrustful, do you still love your partner and want help healing from infidelity?
Perhaps you had overlooked your partner’s infidelity in the past, put it on a shelf, and assumed it would not reoccur. However, this time your spouse told you about the affair and is committed to owning and changing their behavior. You would like to grieve, forgive, have your spouse understand the impact their infidelity has had on you, your children, and life satisfaction.
Have you been unfaithful?
Have you been unfaithful, overwhelmed with guilt & shame for the damage you caused? You always loved your partner; you just assumed it was possible to love two people. The passion, respect, & admiration you have for your partner have never been stronger, but you don’t know how to fix it on your own.
If you’re feeling lost, stuck, and alone, please allow me to help
Infidelity can happen in any marriage. Adultery has existed since marriage was invented. Cheating happens in bad marriages, and in good marriages, a “perfect marriage does not exist.” “Total fidelity of mind, as well as body, is the rare exception. It’s not abnormal to be tempted to stray.” (Witte, Ph.D. Northrup, and Schwartz, Ph.D. 213 #)
It is uncommon for people to talk about infidelity and those who have committed infidelity are often unwilling to admit it due to shame, guilt, or the desire to protect their family. Affairs happen; they are actually more common than we think; regardless of one’s intelligence, economic, culture, or religion, infidelity can happen. If you or your family has been impacted by cheating, you are not alone.
Often, partners drift apart; diminished communication, affection, attraction, sexual boredom, lack of investment and sacrifice in the marriage begin to erode trust. Loss of connection opens the door to an encounter outside the relationship. Other times, an urgent need to be heard, validated, or soothed goes unnoticed. Even “happily married” individuals transgress, and in many cases, extra-marital liaisons are not caused by something happening in the martiage.
The good news is most couples who experience infidelity stay together.
Affair counseling can restore and transform your marriage
When infidelity is revealed, The hurt partner suffers from:
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
- experiencing intrusive images of the affair
- hyper-vigilance, sleep disturbance
- emotional outbursts
The betraying partner experiences grief, ambivalent feelings, shame, and guilt.
Both partners need therapeutic support to realize that the PTSD reaction is normal to an abnormal situation.
Roadmap to healing after infidelity
PHASE #1: ATONEMENT: Express Emotions, Listen to Emotions, Clarify the need for openness & transparency. The betrayer partner expresses remorse, apologizes, and commits to behavior change.
“I am deeply aware of the disappointment and hurt that my infidelity caused to so many people, most of all my wife and children.” -Tiger Woods.
The initial phase of the healing process begins with establishing a therapeutic alliance with both of you; I provide non-judgmental support, empathy, instillation of hope, and clarifying the stages for rebuilding your new relationship, Marriage #2. During the Atonement phase, why the affair happened is not discussed.
Both of you are overwhelmed with emotion, clouding logic. I do not minimize any of your feelings yet may need to differentiate negative emotions from criticism and contempt. Atonement is a way of return. Returning to one’s self and one’s moral home. This involves transparency and, eventually (in Phase 2), greater understanding.
PHASE #2: ATTUNEMENT: Repair, Process Past Incidents of Failed Communication, Attain Understanding, Learn New Conflict Management Skills, Conflict Avoidance & Create Rituals of Emotional Connection.
In the second phase, we will focus on attaining awareness of how your communication went wrong. Indirectly, you may begin to figure out why the affair occurred.
The hurt partner should not be blamed. It is helpful to learn what went wrong between you, but not to blame. Processing may also lead to more self-disclosure and vulnerability related to both of your deeper needs, as well as a greater awareness that each of you felt lonely and abandoned during Marriage #1.
I will then teach you conflict management skills to reverse conflict avoidance, which tends to be universal for heterosexual couples with affairs. In addition, you will learn how to create & ritualize everyday emotional connections, including expressing fondness. admiration, appreciation, and gratitude for what each of you contributes to the relationship.
PHASE #3: ATTACHMENT: Establish Trust, Commitment & Loyalty; Clarify Values, Meaning, Hopes, and Dreams as Individuals and as A Couple; Reignite Passion & Intimacy; Prevent Relapse.
During the final phase, we will concentrate on beginning your relationship anew. The opposite of Betrayal is establishing Trust, Commitment, and Loyalty. In Phase 3, we work on cherishing. We will discuss what values give your life meaning, what dreams you have for the future individually and as a couple, and your goals for fulfilling these dreams.
Do you talk about sex? Science shows that couples who talk about their sex life are more satisfied with shaking sheets. When the hurt partner feels enough trust and safety to resume a sexual relationship, we will introduce exercises to facilitate discussions between you to help tailor your sexual relationship to your individual preferences and maybe bring it up a notch or three. We will then focus on designing specific rituals of connection to integrate regularly into your relationship.
We may discuss how to establish boundaries, new rules, and expectations and define the consequences of future sexual betrayal. Finally, we can talk about your future together and re-committing to your newly renewed relationship, Marriage #2.