Reestablishing Intimacy After Infidelity. Now that the unthinkable has happened, what do you do next? You just discovered your husband/wife is having an affair. Whether it was disclosed to you or discovered it still hurts like crazy. It can feel like someone stabbed you in the heart. You feel a range of emotions. You still love him, and he still loves you. She says she doesn’t want to lose you, that she’s willing to do anything to save your marriage. “I’ll do anything to save the marriage,” are just words if you don’t put those words into action. Saying, “I’m sorry,” doesn’t mean anything if the supposedly remorseful actions are repeated. These may be pleads out of desperation to reach real intimacy again in the relationship. However, to reach the point of intimacy after an affair, you must work on truly recovering from the affair.
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What is Affair Recovery?
Affair Recovery isn’t simply saying, “I’m sorry.” Affair recovery isn’t saying, “it’ll never happen again.” Affair recovery is a process where the Affair Partner (the cheater) truly understands the meaning and motives behind the betrayal. It’s where the Affair Partner obtains insight about why he/she cheated and articulates to the Hurt Partner why it isn’t going to happen again. Affair recovery is about the Hurt Partner learning how to manage the overwhelming emotions while undergoing the moving forward process. Easier said than done, right? Yes, this process is challenging for both partners and is not a quick fix. Affair recovery isn’t two weeks of talking to a marriage counselor and everything is better. Affair recovery can take months for both parties to get the insight needed to start moving forward. Affair recovery involves counseling with an Affair Recovery Specialist who knows how to move couples forward and helps guide the healing process. Both parties need to undergo affair recovery with good integrity and commitment to their marriage. Both partners will be asked to follow through with what is being asked of them for affair recovery to be successful. This means reaching an understanding and truly working on changing for the better and forgiving the Affair Partner.
Do Second Chances Work?
Second chances are reasonable. It’s also risky and scary because of the doubt and lack of trust, but you think the love you shared is worth it. You don’t want to give up on the hopes and dreams you had for your relationship. You believe there’s a chance you won’t be betrayed again. You hope you can be able to trust your partner again. You think the two of you might be able to redevelop the love and closeness you once had. You’re right – this is possible.
As a Marriage Counselor and Affair Recovery Specialist, I say what is needed to do this are two people who truly want to move past the affair together. Affair recovery asks that both the affair partner and the hurt partner undergo the process as Functional Adults. It is the commitment to the marriage and Despite the pain, affair recovery is a place to process the pain in mature ways. What is not permissible in affair recovery is mudslinging and power struggles. Neither partner can try to bring down the other, but rather, they must both work from a place of wanting to understand and reconnect with each other. We are here to learn not to punish. If punishing is what you want, there is poor prognosis for moving forward.
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What Does Intimacy Really Take?
To regain intimacy after infidelity, both partners must be willing to work through deep hurt, disappointment, rage, and other negative feelings. The single most important factor to regain intimacy is for the affair partner to show ongoing empathy to the hurt partner where the hurt partner doesn’t act out in negative ways dealing with the overwhelming feelings about the affair. Intimacy isn’t just sex. Intimacy is emotional connection. Intimacy is what keeps a couple from feeling like roommates. Intimacy is sometimes the driving factor behind infidelity, which can make reestablishing it more difficult. To achieve an emotional connection with your partner, you both must show vulnerability, empathy, and the willingness to understand each other. You must understand your feelings, or at least be transparent in discussing them, in order to begin to connect on an emotional level.
Intimacy is both emotional and physical. Oftentimes, people want this connection to happen organically, but when it comes to reestablishing intimacy, it takes effort. It may feel unusual to schedule time for physical contact or for deep conversations, but it is necessary in the wake of an affair. Doing so ensures an opportunity for both partners to come together and work on regaining, and strengthening, the connection they’re longing for.
Are you struggling to regain intimacy after an affair? Contact Sarah to be guided through affair recovery where you both get the results you want.