Affair healing Blog
After listening to a podcast interview with Guy Winch, the author of Emotional First Aid, I ordered and read his book. While it does not focus specifically on affair recovery, most of the problems addressed in the book are commonly experienced in the affair healing process. In each chapter, the author (a practicing psychologist) discusses an emotional wound using real-life examples and then offers practical research-based remedies.
Each of these emotional wounds is covered in a chapter of the book: Rejection, Loneliness, Loss & Trauma, Guilt, Rumination, Failure, and Low Self-Esteem. Anyone struggling to heal from wounds of infidelity would benefit from the instruction and remedies presented by the author.
With Disney's film release of the musical, Hamilton, I've finally been able to understand the obsession of those who witnessed the theater production. It's an amazing creation that stirred many emotions while I watched and listened to this creative telling of Alexander Hamilton's life and the birth of a nation.
One song, in particular, produced a flow of tears. It's Quiet Uptown follows two tragic events in the story: Hamilton's public humiliation over his confessed affair and the death of his son. These cause an estrangement between Alexander and his wife, Eliza. But they choose to do the unimaginable: find their way back together again.
Following an affair, the recovery of the marriage is not the only option. But partners who decide to heal together will take different steps toward that goal.
The vertical pairing of the steps listed below depicts how partners are connected to each other’s experiences and actions. Discovery should be met with disclosure. One partner’s trauma should lead to the other’s remorse which, in turn, can shorten the traumatic ordeal. Empathy should be offered to pain. Honesty needs to be met with acceptance. Atonement encourages forgiveness, and both partners must take the vulnerable risks necessary to reestablish trust.
If either partner fails to take the necessary steps, the journey stops. If they remain stuck, then complete relationship healing cannot occur.
Having already reviewed the steps of the Involved Partner, let's consider what steps the Injured Partner must take if a couple chooses to heal their marriage...
The healing of a marriage/relationship after an affair is not a passive process. There is no recovery conveyor belt to carry you from one stage to the next. The only way to reach your preferred destination is by walking the right path, step by step.
Couples who hope to heal together can expect to stumble. A lot. They will need to frequently adjust their footing to get back in sync. Knowing their desired destination can only be reached by taking the difficult journey together, both partners must cooperate in their efforts.
Consider the steps the Involved Partner (the one who had the affair) must take to help their relationship heal...
We might get the impression that once a spouse decides they want a divorce, the move to the end the marriage quickly becomes the certain choice of both partners. By the time the divorce is finalized, both partner's are likely confident about the difficult choices they are making.
The Doherty Institute released this video addressing research that points to the uncertainty that some couples continue to feel about the choice they are making. Is it too late for those couples to give their marriage another chance?
Unless otherwise noted, articles are written by Tim Tedder, a licensed counselor and creator of this site and its resources.