Marriage Retreat for Affair Recovery: Part Three – The Importance of Assessment

The essential idea behind affair recovery is that the old relationship is dead. Marginalized, split off parts of ourselves are invited back, and a new hard-won bond emerges in the couple which has learned from the affair, and has resolved into transparency, openness, and a deeper appreciation of what happened and why.

Terry Real is fond of pointing out that interactions can be a good day for us, a bad day for our partner, and a good or bad day for the relationship. Affair recovery is like that. The question is what do we recover into? The answer starts with meaning. Couples who construct a narrative of understanding and meaning can achieve a deeper and more abiding connection for having gone through the fire together.

As I mentioned in a previous post, the meaning of the affair in the life of your marriage is an essential intimate disclosure. Couples can come into Affair Recovery determined to work together to recover, with one or both partners mostly checked out, or somewhere else entirely. But it is the couples who see a way to becoming transparent and frank that achieve a deeper intimacy in their next relationship. And that’s what it is…..their next relationship.

“The BIG BIG Book” is how you tell us what is real for you. We ask about the factors that shaped you, and the decisions you’ve made. Clients tell us that in looking back, they firmly believe that their therapy began with the Big Big Book, because it induces a sense of curiosity about the themes that play out in our lives, and how we experience these themes over time.

Attachment style is one of the ideas we measure in the Big Big book. Whether you are securely, anxiously, or avoidantly attached can provide sheet music to the emotions that might overwhelm you at this time. We ask clients to read the questions in the Big Big Book carefully, but after a second, the first impulse for an answer is typically the best one. Don’t overthink the Big Big Book.

Assessment is also going ask you to think about the people outside of your relationship. Like children. Parents. Siblings.

How are they already affected, or how could they be affected by choices that you are on the threshold of making right now?


Read Part One of Retreats for Affair Recovery

About the Author Daniel Dashnaw

Daniel is a Marriage and Family Therapist. He currently sees couples at Couples Therapy Inc. in Boston, Massachusetts, three seasons in Cummington (at the foothills of the Berkshires...) and in Miami during joint retreats with his wife, Dr. Kathy McMahon. He uses EFT, Gottman Method, Solution-focused and the Developmental Model in his approaches.

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