The revelation of an affair can traumatic. How the emotional fallout is handled can have a profound impact on the future of your marriage, as well as relationships with other family members, friends and the wider social and professional circles to which you belong. Children, in particular, are highly vulnerable to the effects of affairs.
Should You Get Help?
In the midst of the emotional chaos that accompanies the disclosure of an affair, the idea of going to therapy can be both encouraging and anxiety provoking.
For some, it is natural to want to move on as quickly as possible and not dwell on what has happened. Some discoverers of affairs try to do this by adopting an understanding and forgiving attitude almost immediately. However, this rarely works and instead leads to more and more emotional disconnection which can eventually lead to an emotionally deadened relationship.
Other couples can go the opposite route, engaging in volatile and prolonged arguments sometimes lasting hours, which do not result in emotional satisfaction.
Volatility and deadness in relationships can interfere with sleep, work and self-care, which can lead to a host of secondary problems including physical illness. Criticism, defensiveness and withdrawal can take over attempts to communicate with each other. These behaviors destroy relationships.
Does any of this sound like you? If so, I will work to bring you to deeper understanding and connection. I can help the two of you to engage with each other about what has happened in ways that actually create empathy and understanding. This process will help you move beyond the traumatic impact of the affair, and allow you to grow in ways that you might not be able to imagine right now.
For The Discovered
Are you struggling with guilt and and anxiety since the revelation of the affair? It is natural to fear more criticism and blame from the therapist, but that is not a part of good therapy. I can help transform your guilt and anxiety into something that will contribute to your relationship, both with yourself and with your partner.
For the Discoverer
Coming to therapy doesn’t mean that you have decided to stay in the marriage or forgive your partner. It also doesn’t mean that you are going to be blamed for the affair. It is simply a place to start from where you really are emotionally and let that process unfold in a safe space.
For the Other Person
Are you left wondering how this could have happened? Or why? Being the other person probably has cost you a lot. However, you might feel that you just cannot let go. On the other hand you might wonder if that is really necessary, since you do get so much out of the relationship. Are you feeling torn apart by these conflicting feelings? Is it hard to find someone who is consistently there for you while you sort it out, someone who hasn’t already decided what you should do and understands that this is process that takes time? As your therapist I can support you in sorting it all out, even if it might seem impossible.
Can Therapy Really Help?
Couples: If there was a time in the relationship where things felt really right between you, then there is a good chance that engaging in the therapy process can be very healing, and indeed, lead to a deeper sense of connection than ever. Once the truth has been dealt with and each partner feels newly understood the resulting closeness and sense of commitment to each other can be beyond what was previously imaginable.
Individuals: This can be such a confusing time. The most common reason for remaining in affairs that no longer feel right is a fear of being alone; never finding someone with whom love can be shared again. It can be so difficult to see beyond the present moment. Working through the complex beliefs and feelings that you are experiencing can make a really big difference. Once you have developed a new relationship with yourself, the path becomes much clearer and obstacles can seem to melt away.
Please feel free to call me at (415) 751-6515 or (925) 948-0562 or email if you think you might be interested in therapy. If you are unsure, or unsure if couples or individual therapy would be best, I can help you with your questions. If finances are an issue, we can discuss this as well.
Still unsure? Perhaps you would like to read my reviews.
If I cannot see you I would be happy to assist with local referrals. If you live outside of the San Francisco Bay Area go to DearPeggy.com for a geographical listing of therapists who work effectively with affairs.
Wishing you the very best,
Susan Berger, Marriage and Family Therapist