From an attachment theory perspective, infidelity can be understood as a threat to attachment security. In other words, the betrayal of infidelity can leave injured partners questioning: Do I matter to you? Do you care about me? Are you here for me? Can I rely on you? Do I know you? Are you in this with me? Will you show up if I'm in need? Injured partners may find themselves frantically trying to re-establish security in the relationship in order to quell the discomfort of disconnection. Alternatively, some injured partners try to rebuff their own fears and needs. Many injured parties vacillate between urgently trying to engage their partners (e.g. waves of intense emotion, anger outbursts, seeking sex, questions, demands, stipulations, and ultimatums) and detaching from themselves and the relationship.
The partner who was unfaithful is also reacting to the rupture in the attachment bond. This person may try to repair quickly to feel 'normal' again. He or she may feel guilty for hurting their partner, but unsure how to convey this clearly. The partner who was unfaithful may feel angry, alone, and/or confused. How many times do I have to say I'm sorry? Will she/he ever let it go? I can't go on like this forever. I need to know if she/he will ever forgive me and want me again.
Couples therapy, from an Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) model, focuses first on giving each partner space to share how they are impacted by what has happened in the relationship. Ultimately, each partner needs a map for: how the infidelity came to occur, the pain of the betrayal, and how to heal the wound together.
If you are overwhelmed and heartbroken, I can help.
Learning of an infidelity can be one of the most earth-shattering and heartbreaking experiences in a person’s life. All of a sudden the person you thought you could count on forever may suddenly seem like a stranger, and your world may feel turned upside down. Deciding whether to heal from and pick up the pieces of your relationship together can be incredibly difficult and confusing - both for the person who was unfaithful and for the person who was betrayed. To make things even more difficult, oftentimes our well-meaning friends and family may weigh-in with their opinions, which can further add to the complexity of an already difficult situation.
I have helped many couples pick up the pieces and create a relationship that is stronger than ever. Through the use of Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFT), which is evidence-based and highly effective, I help couples not only heal their relationship but create a relationship that is stronger than ever.
I also help couples navigate through their discernment process after an affair. If through that process the couple decides to separate, I help them find honest and meaningful ways to part and end their relationship.
Frequently Asked Questions about Affair Recovery:
I feel like I am on an emotional roller coaster that I can't control. Is this normal?
Research shows that following a discovery of infidelity and/or out-of-control sexual behavior, people often experience acute stress with symptoms of PTSD. This trauma produces triggered responses including:
Emotional turmoil, such as depression, anxiety and fearfulness
Self-protective behaviors (e.g. you act like a detective by checking and searching for more information)
Obsessing about the trauma and discovery
These painful emotional responses are common. However, by taking the courageous first step to get help for yourself, you will to have the opportunity to learn the necessary tools to slowly diminish these negative responses.
Why do I feel I have to know everything down to the minute details?
Individuals who are betrayed often initially want a complete disclosure of their partner’s infidelities. This is a way for you to try to make sense of everything. It helps to validate suspicions that you may have tucked away and blamed yourself for. The feeling of having to know everything is also a part of trying to fully understand the situation and gain a sense of control. Infidelity counseling sessions can help you regain an emotional balance so you can begin to make decisions for yourself in a way that you feel comfortable, instead of making decisions while you are in turmoil.
I don't think infidelity counseling will help me. No one understands what I am going through.
When you first learn about your partner’s secrets and out-of-control sexual behaviors, the shock you experience is like a tidal wave washing over you. Experiencing intense emotions like this can easily make you feel like you are alone with your pain. In addition, sexual matters are often a taboo subject in our culture. As a result, you feel like others will quickly pass judgment on you. However, with safe, compassionate and expert treatment, you will learn effective recovery tools that many individuals and couples have used to heal from these painful experiences. With infidelity counseling, you, too, have the chance to feel stronger and more resilient as you move forward after your experience with betrayal.
“When we seek the gaze of another, it isn’t always our partner that we are turning away from but the person that we have ourselves become.”