Marriage counseling for recovering from affair

Marriage counseling for recovering from affair

Affair can be a devastating blow to any relationship. The discovery of a partner’s betrayal often leaves individuals feeling hurt, angry, and uncertain about the future of their marriage. However, it’s important to remember that healing and rebuilding trust are possible through dedicated efforts and the support of professional help. 

Techniques of Marriage Counseling for Recovering from Affair

At the beginning of therapy, it is crucial to explain to the individual or couple that the reactions displayed by the discoverer are normal and not indicative of a pathological condition. However, it is important to understand these responses and offer specific ways to support the discoverer’s recovery. Acknowledging the sense of victimhood experienced by the discoverer is essential for the therapist to effectively connect with them.


There are three phases in the treatment of recovering from an affair (Lusterman, 1989,1995). 


The therapist should communicate to the partner who has been discovered that they can play a pivotal role in assisting the discoverer. The discoverer needs to express their grief, shock, and anger directly to their partner, and honest answers to their questions are necessary for the restoration of trust. This phase can often be the longest part of treatment. Periods of increased trust may also lead to heightened vulnerability, resulting in the discoverer becoming more hypervigilant.

Discoverers frequently go through a period of intense emotional experience, even if it is not characteristic of their usual personality. In some cases, the discovered partner may also exhibit high emotional expression. The discovered partner, who may still be dealing with guilt and possibly depression due to the loss of the affair partner, requires therapeutic support to provide the emotional support the discoverer needs. 


It involves examining predisposing factors that contributed to the affair. Careful examination often reveals that both partners had unexpressed thoughts and feelings about important issues, which were never disclosed or resolved. Exploring family-of-origin issues is often necessary to help the couple identify and address these underlying problems. For example, unresolved issues surrounding a couple’s wedding planning may emerge when exploring the bride’s family dynamics.


It focuses on reconciliation. The couple works on improving their self-disclosure and problem-solving skills. With a better understanding of the issues that have complicated their marriage, they can determine whether they can build a more satisfying relationship or if a respectful divorce is the best option. Enhancing their communication and problem-solving abilities allows them to make informed decisions about the future of their relationship and personal conduct.


Marriage Counseling for recovering from affair and Marriage counseling for infidelity primarily addresses the traumatic reaction experienced after discovering an affair. It is important to note that unfaithful partners typically did not intend to harm their spouses. Knowing that they can contribute to the healing process is often significant for unfaithful partners as well as their discoverers. When both partners actively engage in the healing process, it sets the foundation for cooperative reevaluation of their marriage. This provides an opportunity to leverage their newfound understanding to reinvent their relationship.

Source: Handbook of Couples Therapy, Harway, M. (2005).

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