Healing A Relationship After An Affair With An Infidelity Therapist

Medically reviewed by Nikki Ciletti
Updated January 10, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Infidelity can have a devastating impact on relationships. It can leave a partner feeling betrayed, alone, and overwhelmed. An infidelity therapist or other mental health professional can provide guidance through the emotional turmoil caused by an affair. With therapy, partners may be able to rebuild trust and improve their communication to mend the relationship. Perhaps one important part of the recovery process involves confronting and understanding the reasons behind the infidelity. Read on to learn more about how you can create a plan to overcome infidelity and have a more fulfilling and stable relationship moving forward. 

The Effects Of Infidelity

Infidelity can leave lasting scars on the people involved in the relationship. For example, infidelity may cause negative effects on mental health, including feelings of anxiety, sadness, or constant stress. This emotional upheaval can disrupt daily life and affect overall happiness.

Experiencing infidelity may also have negative effects on the self-esteem of both partners. Feelings of inadequacy or self-doubt can arise, which may decrease confidence and hinder personal growth. In addition, trust within the relationship is often broken by the act of cheating, which may lead to separation if both partners aren’t willing to repair the damage. Rebuilding trust can be difficult, and communication and commitment may be put to the test.

Children can also be affected by their parent's infidelity. Witnessing their parents’ emotional hardships can create tension and stress for children. Specifically, this may lead to behavioral issues or difficulties in their own relationships later in life. 

Types Of Infidelity

There are different ways in which one partner may be unfaithful to the other. For many couples, it can be useful to create boundaries and specify what constitutes infidelity. Problems may develop if these boundaries are crossed. The two most common types of affairs include:

  • Emotional Affairs: Emotional affairs may occur when one partner forms a deep, emotional connection with someone outside of their relationship. This connection may involve giving personal thoughts, feelings, and experiences to another party. Even though no physical contact happens, emotional affairs can still cause significant pain and damage to the relationship. Trust and emotional closeness can be key to a healthy relationship; emotional infidelity can weaken the foundation of the partnership.
  • Sexual Or Physical Affairs: Sexual affairs, also known as sexual infidelity, may involve physical or sexual contact between a person in a committed relationship and someone other than their partner. This type of infidelity may be more about sexual closeness than emotional intimacy and can take many forms, including one-night stands, ongoing relationships, or online encounters. Having sexual intimacy with another person can cause feelings of betrayal, anger, and loss of trust in a relationship. Like emotional affairs, the effects of sexual infidelity can be profound and long-lasting.

Both emotional and sexual affairs can severely damage the trust, intimacy, and stability of a relationship. It can be important for individuals and couples to understand the different types of affairs to prevent and resolve problems with infidelity.

Understanding The Potential Causes Of Infidelity

Infidelity can stem from various factors that may range from personal to relational issues. Relationship problems such as a lack of affection, low self-esteem, or inadequate communication about emotional needs, for instance, can make someone unhappy in the relationship and cause them to look for satisfaction elsewhere. 

Sex addiction and other forms of addiction can also contribute to a partner’s infidelity. This can include addiction to pornography, which may result in repeated affairs as the individual turns to other sources for pleasure. In these cases, a therapist may recommend cognitive behavioral therapy as a helpful way of managing the addiction and helping the person recover.

For some, infidelity might be a way of coping with unresolved personal or relationship problems. As these problems persist, the individual may have a sexual affair to avoid facing these issues or to intentionally end the relationship. Knowing the root causes of infidelity can be a helpful part of the therapeutic process. Although these reasons do not excuse the infidelity, they may provide a framework for understanding why the betrayal might have occurred.  

Is The Relationship Worth Saving After An Affair?

After an affair, both partners must determine whether they are willing to forgive and rebuild trust in their relationship. Trust can be restored, but it can take a considerable amount of work and effort from both parties. Partners may experience feelings of depression, low self-esteem, and even PTSD. Healing from these emotions can be an important aspect of re-establishing trust and moving forward in the relationship.

Open and honest communication may help support the healing process. Both partners may want to discuss their feelings, needs, and any self-blame they are experiencing. If multiple affairs have occurred, or if one partner is not committed to rebuilding trust, ending the relationship may be an appropriate option.

Studies show that around 30% to 60% of individuals affected by infidelity experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These symptoms, including constant worrying, feeling emotionally detached, and having trouble sleeping, can make it hard for them to cope with everyday life and heal from the event.

Recovering From Infidelity

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Seeking Emotional Support After Experiencing Infidelity?

Recovering from infidelity can be a challenging process, but it may be possible with commitment from both partners and the help of therapy. A licensed therapist with experience in marital therapy may be able to assist couples through this difficult time. They can help identify the underlying problems that might have led to the affair, put the situation into perspective, and teach ways to rebuild trust and make the relationship stronger.

Finding An Infidelity Therapist

When a couple experiences infidelity in their relationship, getting professional help may help alleviate the emotional effects and support the healing process. Infidelity therapists often use an integrative approach to help couples work through their challenges. Therapy may be particularly helpful for couples seeking to repair their relationships and regain a sense of connection.

Couples Counseling

Couples counseling may be an appropriate choice when both partners are committed to working through the issues that may have led to the unfaithfulness. During this process, the therapist can help partners communicate openly, allowing them to understand each other's thoughts and feelings about the infidelity. This type of therapy may help couples address underlying relationship problems and provide ways to rebuild trust as they move forward.

Key aspects of couples counseling for infidelity may include:

  • Stopping the affair
  • Committing to the therapy process
  • Being honest about what caused the infidelity 
  • Discussing the effects of the infidelity

Through couples counseling, the therapist may help partners improve their conflict resolution and communication skills. Therapy might assist in rebuilding trust and respect in the relationship and remind the couple why they fell in love in the first place.

Individual Therapy

Individual therapy can be a valuable resource for both partners. It may be especially helpful for those experiencing intense emotions, including guilt, anger, or confusion, that might arise in response to infidelity. A therapist may be able to help an individual process and cope with their emotions and explore any personal issues that may be linked to infidelity.

Individual therapy may focus on topics such as:

  • Understanding personal reasons for cheating
  • Coping with feelings of betrayal and hurt
  • Learning lessons from the experience and growing as a person

Finding the right therapist can be an important step toward managing the emotional effects of infidelity and experiencing healing. Couples counseling and individual therapy can each provide valuable support, depending on the circumstances of the individuals involved.

Online Therapy For Problems With Fidelity

Online therapy may be a helpful way to resolve problems related to infidelity in relationships. Studies have shown that couples find online video therapy to be both beneficial and positive. This method has some benefits that may make it more comfortable for couples and individuals compared to in-person therapy. These include:

  • Availability: Online therapy enables couples and individuals to get professional help from the comfort of their own homes. This can be particularly beneficial for those living in remote areas or who have limited way to infidelity therapists in their local community. 
  • Flexibility: Online therapy sessions can be scheduled at times that are convenient for the couple or individual. This flexibility may make it easier to fit therapy into busy schedules, which can facilitate consistent and successful treatment.
  • Consistency: For couples separated by distance or who have conflicting schedules, online therapy can help maintain consistent support and communication as they work through their infidelity issues. Both partners can participate in sessions from different locations, ensuring they receive the guidance they need to heal their relationship.

Online therapy can be an effective option for working through fidelity problems in relationships. BetterHelp is an online platform that helps match individuals with licensed mental health professionals. After signing up, you can get the support of a therapist who can help guide you as you work through various relationship difficulties.

The Efficacy Of Online Counseling

Online counseling has been shown to be a helpful resource for individuals and couples alike. In one study, researchers found that couples receiving therapy through videoconferencing experienced a positive shift in expectations toward their partners. Most couples reported that the experience was productive and useful, and many of them said they connected exceptionally well with their therapist, which contributed to the success of the intervention.

Takeaway

An infidelity therapist can provide valuable support for individuals and couples facing relationship challenges. A therapist may have the expertise to help couples improve their trust and communication skills. With therapy, clients can explore any issues that could have contributed to the infidelity and create a plan to maintain the stability of the relationship. Individuals can find an infidelity therapist through different resources, including online platforms. Online therapy can provide a safe setting in which individuals and couples alike can experience growth and healing. To match with a counselor, reach out to BetterHelp today. 

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