This is not the relationship I bargained for. I just want to have my old relationship back...
Psychologist Dr. Shirley Glass, compares learning about an affair in your marriage to the symptoms of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).
Finding out about an affair is an overwhelming experience for most people. There is a lot of research now in dealing with an extramarital affair. One expert who has researched and worked with clinicians who are dealing with an extramarital affair is Dr. Shirley Glass.
If your partner has "cheated," and you are are dealing with an extramarital affair, you may have trouble sleeping, eating, or even working. Over and over, unwanted images invade your mind. You repeat in your head what your spouse told you about what had happened, and ask yourself if they are being totally honest. You start to wonder when else your partner saw that "other person," when they claimed to be some other place. You can think of nothing else. You doubt everything they say: How they feel about you, what your marriage means to them. You feel like you are on a roller coaster, with intense emotions. One minute you feel rage...the next minute you just want to have sex and forget about it. A second later, you can't stand the thought of your partner touching you. Maybe you blame yourself, maybe not. But your trust is shattered, and you may start acting more like a detective than a spouse. And when you are dealing with an extramarital affair, you may be feeling a bit unhinged.
You may be unsure exactly how you ended up having sex with someone else. Perhaps you were drunk, or felt flattered by their attention. Maybe it happened very gradually, and before you knew it, you were involved.
Maybe they reminded you of how your marriage used to be, or how you imagine that your marriage should be. Maybe you've broken off the affair, or maybe you find it hard to end it. Was it just the sex, and the affair doesn't mean much to you?
Do you wish your spouse would just let it go and stop harping on it?
Are things getting ugly, now that your spouse knows? You don't know whether to answer the questions they ask you.
There are a lot of questions to answer when you are dealing with an extramarital affair. Do you go into detail? You don't want to end your marriage for a lot of reasons. The kids. Mutual obligations. There are the years of history you have with each other. But maybe you miss your affair partner. Maybe the passion died years ago in your marriage, but the friendship never did. Or maybe your feelings of caring are still there for your spouse, despite everything. You may be feeling actively confused. You may need help dealing with an extramarital affair.
Now, it is probably hard to imagine how you can heal from an affair and move forward. But you can, in a safe, structured setting. I'll help you figure out what to focus on, and what to let go of. I'll support both of you in how to handle seemingly trivial incidents that suddenly trigger World War III-level fighting. Flashbacks. Rage. Contempt. Or the affair partner that keeps calling. The work requires careful, deliberate steps with the goal of rebuilding the marriage and restoring trust and peace in your home once again. You’ll learn how to open up to intimacy, tune into each other, and re-build a feeling of teamwork again.
For some couples, an affair is a "wake up call" that fundamentally transforms their relationship into one that is stronger and more resilient than before. They end up looking back upon this time as a turning point in their marriage, and a time of re-commitment.
I've spent my professional years helping troubled relationships heal from affairs and repair their marriages, and have hired the best clinicians on the planet to help. Dealing with an extramarital affair is a delicate matter, any much of the hurt to the relationship happens AFTER the affair is revealed.
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Finding out about an affair is an overwhelming experience for most people. There is a lot of research now in dealing with an extramarital affair. You CAN move on after an extramarital affair, and even be stronger than before, but it takes knowing how to respond.
Dr. K is the President and CEO of Couples Therapy Inc. She maintains her Intensive Couples Therapy practice over the winter in Miami, Fl and the rest of the year on the edge of the Berkshires in Western Massachusetts. She is a Gottman Certified Couples Therapist, has advanced training in Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy, and is a board-certified sex therapist.