Isn’t it shocking that in the UK over 50% of marriages ends in separation or divorce. It’s little wonder that we’re all so stressed, and in and out of couples therapy. Discovering that your partner has had an affair is one of the most shocking things to have to deal with, and rather than just pretend that I have all the magic answers, I thought it would be helpful simply to pass on some things which have helped the many couples who have attended out couples counselling programme both in Thailand and in the UK.
How does the person who has been having the affair react to the reality of their actions? Do they want to change or are they just concerned with justifying themselves. Do they see what they have done is wrong and a mistake and are keen to put things right, or are they just interested in making the right noises so they can carry on with the affair undisturbed.
When we talk to couples the first thing that becomes self evident is the reaction of the person who has had an affair, and reactions are as varied as the affairs themselves. The all important factor is if the person who has had an affair genuinely sees it as wrong, a betrayal of trust and a mistake and is keen to put things right. At least then we are off to a good positive start.
Counselling and Therapy
Don’t delay to get some counselling, or any kind of help. Find the most experienced counsellor that you can who specializes in couples therapy, or relationship counselling. Initially it doesn’t matter if it’s just for you or your partner or both of you. The important thing is to start getting things moving forward. Things are likely to get worse and more complicated the longer you leave them.
Is the person who has had the affair taking responsibility for their actions? Lasting change is really very unlikely if we do not take responsibility for ourselves. Why would we change if we don’t really see the need? It’s essential that through good counselling that the person who has had the affair is able to take full responsibility and do whatever they can to put things right again, and learn from the mistakes of the past. We can all change, if we really want to.
Do I Stay Or Do I Go?
So aptly put by the band The Clash back in 1982; Shall I Stay Or Should I Go. Most people whose partner has had an affair feel like running to the hills, or at least somewhere where they feel more comfortable. If that feels right to you, go ahead and do it. If getting away and finding some space and peace and quiet, and being with people who are kind, thoughtful and sincere feels right to you and you have the ability to make it happen, go ahead and do it. It certainly can’t hurt.
Will They Change?
This is the million dollar question that will keep running around your mind. Will they change, will it stop, will you be able to forgive them. The fact is that everyone can change, and everyone can learn from their mistakes and move on. We are all only human after all, and part of being human is making mistakes. If they genuinely want to change and put things right, they can do. It’s not rocket science. Trying to work this out yourself is often impossible and the best thing that you can do is ensure that your partner gets some good counselling so this is clarified in their own mind.
Many people do move on with their partner after they have had an affair. Of course things will change, it won’t be the same again, but then everything in life changes, so let’s make the best of things while we still have them.
If your partner has had an affair it’s really difficult to work things out by yourself, not impossible, but difficult. If you are in this situation do have a look at our couples therapy retreat.
Thank you for reading.