Couples Counseling for Affairs

After helping many couples where there has been infidelity, one of the sure fire ways facilitate the early process of reconnection, is for the partner who had the affair to no longer be involved in anyway with the person they cheated with. I realize that sounds logical, but sadly, after many hours of therapy, time, energy and money, some partners continue their outside relationships, expecting things to change inside the marriage. This is not possible and is actually highly destructive.

What is happening here is that the person who became involved with someone else hasn’t unplugged from the affair partner, so plugging into their spouse or significant other doesn’t happen or is seriously impaired. Those who cheated may feel justified in the affair because of hurts sustained throughout the relationship. Therefore they believe they shouldn’t have to change their behavior, so they continue with the outside relationship, expecting their partner to make changes before they even consider giving their significant other a chance. Sadly, this spells disaster for the primary relationship and unfortunately it means very little success for the couple in couples therapy.

It can be very difficult to let go when we fall for someone outside our primary relationship, and may result in a period of grief and loss while letting go. Not letting go creates more agony for the significant other to be hurt again and again and again and may manifest in anger and frustration, causing the partner who left the relationship to be reluctant to reengage because of their partner’s anger. This becomes a negative cycle associated with infidelity and can be worked through with EFT for couples therapy, unless the outside partner is still in the picture. By maintaining the outside relationship and never giving the partner a chance when the partner really wants it to work and is making changes, this can be very painful for everyone and will ultimately doom the primary relationship.

When working on your relationship involving an affair, you can process the letting go of the outside relationship with the therapist and even the partner in therapy. Sharing what was lost for the one partner and processing the wounds of the violation with the one that cheated, creates openness and transparency. Without the outside relationship the couple can heal and build a deeper level of connection and safety.

Couples Therapy when there has been an affair

Couples therapy for infidelity or affairs is more effective if the partner who had the affair is no longer engaging in contact with the person they had the affair with.  Many times this is hidden while the couple is in therapy and the therapy stalls for good reason.  Please, do not believe that paying good money, time, energy you can build a bond with your partner if  you are still cheating.

What is the difference between Neediness and sharing your Needs?

So the topic of expressing needs vs. being needy came up recently and I thought this was such an important issue that ‘needs’ to be more fully explored and understood.  It is not easy letting your partner know your needs, especially when there have been very negative interactional cycles hijacking your relationship and not allowing for safety.  We may fear being seen as ‘weak’ or ‘needy’ when it comes to letting our loved one know our needs, so we march on and believe in some way they should just know what we need and not have to tell them.  Then again, this could fuel the negative pattern we are caught in because if they don’t know our needs, they won’t be able to be there.  All too often we then end up feeling crushed because they aren’t there for us so we respond coldly or angrily, leaving them to wonder what has made us upset now, and further fueling the negative cycle.

Please be advised, asking to have our needs met works best when we are not caught in negative cycles with our partners.  This is the first Stage of EFT, and sometimes the longest part and most challenging part of helping couples gradually reconnect.  Staying out of negative cycles is not easy, but better yet, understanding them and helping each other understand and guide each other out of them, is what it is all about.  To learn more about negative cycles, please go to the menu bar for ‘Couples Therapy’.

Securely attached individuals ask in a healthy way for their needs to be met in times of need, and expect them to be. This is not easy for those working toward earned secure attachment and still stuck in cycles. This may lead to questions such as: Are my needs legitimate? Can you really be there for me or will you let me down again? Will I get stung or rejected, or will you only sometimes meet my needs if I ask for them to be met? Will you outright neglect my needs?  All of this is vulnerable and scary as it is unknown territory because we are taking a big risk putting ourselves out there and potentially being hurt, especially if we have been hurt in the past. 

The article listed here, by my colleague, explores how ‘neediness vs. asking for our needs to be met’ provides further clarification.  So next time you are hoping your partner will get your needs met without you having to ask and then feeling let down when it doesn’t happen, take a moments and ask yourself, ‘Did I let him/her know what I needed in a heathy way that gives them a chance to be there fore me?’

Oh and by the way, understanding attachment, the cornerstone of connection, can help us comprehend why sharing our needs and having them responded to is so important.  Attachment, which starts out in infancy  (please type ‘Attachment’ in the search bar of my website to learn more about this very important process) indicates that we are hard-wired to connect and that we are more likely to evolve and be fully ourselves when we experience the love and belonging of another.  When our significant other isn’t there, or has let us down, it makes sense that we worry they won’t be there for us again in the future.  However, once the negative patterns slow down between the two of you, it can become safer to request your needs in a healthy manner and have them be heard.  That is, neither hinting sarcastically or overtly demanding, but being able to withstand a loving choice by our partner to not meet the need, is important for us to learn and experience as well.

 

 

Marriage Counseling help about Infidelity, Verbal Abuse and Soulmates

 Even if you are in ongoing marriage counseling or couples therapy or just want to know about very important issues that plague all relationships, read on and watch this video presentation from Dr. Susan Johnson, the primary developer of Emotionally Focused Therapy.  Her wisdom on cheating and what it represents(minute 4:50 ) for both partners and how to heal it is very interesting.  Also, don’t miss what it means when a partner verbally abuses the other and what is under the anger and biting comments (minute 3:00). You know how everyone tells you you need to have a close connected relationship with your parent or parents in order to have a good relationship with your partner, there is more to that that as well which may surprise you. (minute 8:19).  That is not all Dr. Johnson shares with humor and expertise, so sit back watch with your loved one and become more connected.

Oh by the way, once there at the ‘Revitalize’ conference site put on by ‘Mind Body Green’, there is so much else offered about health and healing your won’t want to miss, and it is all accessible to you just by going to the top of the site where Sue gave her presentation here. So check it out especially if you have been feeling sick or exhausted and cannot seem to explain what is happening. There is a ‘love revolution’ happening through Emotionally Focused Therapy  along with a ‘health and food revolution’ and Mind Body Green is helping us get it in so many ways. Just the way we need to make changes in our relationship, we need to make changes in what we eat and how we treat our bodies. It is all connected!

Send out an SOS and HALT those arguments

Many of us know about the 12 Step Approach using ‘HALT’ to slow us down, but now it is being effectively applied to relationships with our loved ones, as Psychologist Carol Vogt notes in her article here. Basically, the concept is designed to help each other in the event you or your partner or child ever becomes H-hungry, A-angry, L-lonely or T-tired because it is during these times, that we are not at our best and we are more likely to exacerbate a negative cycles we may be caught in, or to create a negative cycle, and thereby create disconnection.

So, I realized  there are a few more that are worth noting to add to the HALT concept. You may want to say ‘HALT’ and send out an ‘SOS’ to your partner when you become S-sick, O-overwhelmed and S-stressed because those are times when negative cycles can really ramp up as well.  Try to help each other by saying SOS and HALT when you find yourself in a rough place and you can spare your relationship from having cycle flare ups together.  The linked article above can help you learn more and thereby help each other stay better connected.

If you aren’t sure what I am referring to when I mention the word ‘cycle’ as it relates to your relationship, you can learn more about couples negative interaction cycles in Sue Johnson’t book ‘Hold Me Tight’ under ‘Demond Dialogues’ listed on my ‘Recommended Reading’ page under the menu ‘Couples Therapy’ of this website. Or contact me for couples therapy/marriage counsel to start the process of taming those negative interactional cycles with me and EFT.