Navigating the rocky terrain of infidelity in a relationship can be a daunting and painful experience. However, it's crucial to remember that couples can heal and grow stronger together with patience, understanding, and a willingness to listen and communicate. By working together to rebuild trust, forgive past mistakes, and prioritize the relationship's health, couples can emerge from this challenging experience with a newfound sense of commitment and love for each other. There is always time to start the journey toward a happier and more fulfilling relationship.
As a therapist, it's crucial for me to maintain objectivity during couple's sessions where an affair is the primary disruptor. It's easy to align with the victim since I tend to resonate with others' pain and discomfort. However, as a certified Imago therapist, I am trained to view the relationship as my client, which helps me maintain my objectivity.
Navigating and healing from infidelity presents its unique set of challenges. I sit with the couple to make sense of the affair and to find meaning after it. Believe in yourself and your abilities. You have the power to achieve great things and positively impact the world. Remember that every small step you take towards your goals is progress. Don't be afraid to take risks and try new things. With hard work and determination, you can accomplish anything you set your mind to. Keep pushing forward, and never give up on your dreams.
We often discover that a significant percentage of affairs result from accessibility to a glimmering opportunity. Whether the affair was discovered or disclosed determines the path to recovery. There isn't a solid evidence-based treatment plan for infidelity. A few of my favorite authors, Esther Perel and Tammy Nelson, offer insightful perspectives through their books and podcasts. They share their experiences working with couples grappling with infidelity. Each person and couple is unique, and the unmet needs from their childhood that they bring to the relationship often indicate whether the relationship will wake up, shake up, or break up.
Regulating the intense emotions of couples teetering on the brink of an ending is a primary focus when addressing the stressor of an affair. The offending partner may experience regret, shame, confusion, and even exhilaration from the affair's aliveness. Conversely, the victim may feel hopelessness, guilt, dread, anger, resentment, and confusion. I've noticed that partners committed to saving their relationship often invest significant effort into the restoration process. This new behavior may sometimes push the offending partner into a guilt-driven withdrawal due to the ensuing confusion. The victim may feel further rejected and distant, with feelings of exhaustion from swinging between performance and anger.
By staying present with the couple's emotions and sitting with them in their grief, I observe a space where an awakening occurs. This highlights the cracks in their connection and the extent of their brokenness. But there is also an opportunity for growth, a chance for a deeper connection than ever before, and room for empathy. The path toward restoration often involves moving the couple from forgiveness to compassion and from criticism to curiosity. These discoveries help contain each partner's reactivity, shifting them into higher consciousness to restore their relationship and recover their lost parts as individuals. From this launching pad, couples experience hope for a conscious connection and can collectively decide to either break up or make up.
About the author:
Ateeka (Anne) Contee is a dedicated professional whose holistic clinical approach emphasizes the interconnectedness of mind, body, and spirit. With a diverse background in Imago relationship therapy, trauma-centered yoga, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), and Ayurvedic wellness, she brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her practice.
Anne is known for crafting unique therapeutic experiences tailored to meet her clients' individual needs. She seamlessly integrates eastern and western contemplative perspectives into her work, fostering a collaborative and empowering alliance with her clients.
Her mission is to help her clients develop the necessary tools to navigate life's challenges, build healthy relationships, and cultivate resilience. With a compassionate and inclusive approach, Anne creates a safe space where individuals and couples can explore their emotions, heal from past traumas, and break free from generational patterns of dysfunction.
A firm believer in the healing power of therapy, Anne Contee is committed to helping her clients lead healthier, more fulfilling lives.