After Infidelity – Part 1

Infidelity in a relationship creates chaos in the lives of the parties involved. This is betrayal of your trust and promise to each other and the fallout is immense and far reaching. Through the pain and anguish the injured party feels, there are decisions that have to be made. This 3 part series from The Couples Expert will explore both sides of the issue. Should you stay or should you go? 

Leaving seems the thing to do in the moment; all you want to do is get away from the person that caused you so much pain. There are many reasons to go, but consequences for leaving can be manifold and unseen. If you’re the person who caused the relationship injury, the one who cheated, whether it was a sexual or an emotional affair, you may be asked or told to leave, as your partner can’t bear to even look at you without wanting to do you harm.  

Once things calm down after the discovery of the affair, you both have some important and consequential decisions to make about the future of your lives individually and as a couple. This is further complicated if you are married and/or have children together. You will both need to examine your feelings and emotions very deeply as well as the issues in your relationship that left it open and vulnerable to the affair.  I recommend you do this with the help and support of a licensed couples’ counselor that specializes in an attachment -based model of couples counseling   and /or discernment counseling.  

Learn more about discernment counseling here: https://www.thecouplesexpertscottsdale.com/2017/06/discernment-counseling-what-is-it/

When we talk about staying or leaving after infidelity, there are both short-term and long -term scenarios to consider. In the short- term, it’s a defense and emotionally protective decision to distance yourself from the person that you love so much who just betrayed you so completely. You may need time and space to figure out long-term answers, you don’t have to do it right away. The person who cheated has had this knowledge all along, but the injured party, having just learned of the betrayal, has a tsunami of emotions to process before making decisions. The knee-jerk reaction is to kick them out, or leave, but making that kind of monumental decision about your life and future when you’re under extreme emotional stress is ill-advised.  A cooling off period is a good idea; then you and your partner can come back together in a more neutral emotional state and discuss what you both really want to do as far as working to repair the relationship or ending it for good. I recommend you don’t wait too long as assumptions, resentments and other negatives can grow if you and your partner don’t talk about what happened and what you want to happen next. 

Consider what it is you want. If you are the injured party, you probably have been going along thinking that you love your partner and want to stay with them, but now the infidelity has happened, and you’re re-thinking this position. Do you really want to stay with someone who is capable of breaking your trust this way?  Will you ever feel safe again?

As the person who cheated, you may have been looking for a way out of your current relationship, thinking it’s not going to last, or you’ve fallen for someone else.  Will I ever really feel satisfied with my partner? You both have some serious decisions to make that will have far -reaching consequences for you and your future.

Can this relationship be saved? Do you even want to try? How do you fix this, and how can you be sure it won’t happen again if you stay?  These questions and more will be addressed in Part 2 of our 3 part series. “After Infidelity: Should I Stay or Should I Go? “ 

2019-07-26T20:15:10+00:00

About the Author:

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Stuart Fensterheim, LCSW helps couples to overcome the disconnection in their relationships. As an author, blogger and podcaster, Stuart has helped couples around the world to experience a unique relationship in which they can feel special and important, confident in knowing they are loved deeply and that their presence matters. The Couples Expert Podcast consists of weekly provocative conversations offering the perspectives and insight of experts from a variety of relationship related fields. Stuart also offers daily relationship video tips on The Couples Expert YouTube channel and by subscription in Stuart's Daily Notes. Stuart is happily married and a devoted father of 2 daughters. His office practice serves the greater Phoenix, Arizona area including the cities of Scottsdale, Chandler, Tempe, and Mesa.