Healing the Wounds

The first time Jeff made a little mistake he got away with it. That was how he always thought of his marriage infidelity – little mistakes. Nothing to get worried about. Not anything he needed to tell his wife, Billie. Just a guy thing.

A few beers. A frisky woman. Or maybe a trip out of town with a woman in another department. Nothing to get upset about. None of it was serious, after all. None of it had anything to do with him and Billie. Just because it was sex didn’t mean it was really marriage infidelity. After all, it wasn’t like he wanted to divorce her or anything, was it? He wasn’t in love with those other women.

Then Billie found out. First about one “little mistake,” then about another. And soon she wasn’t just hurt, or angry. Soon she was packing her bags. Billie certainly didn’t see it the same way Jeff did. Jeff was going to have to learn what to do to start rebuilding trust…or start to learn how to live his life without Billie.

It’s easy to make excuses. It’s harder to start rebuilding trust in a relationship. After marital infidelity the damage to the structures of faith and trust can be severe, and trying to repair them without advice, guidance and oversight can prove close to impossible.

However, with the help of an experienced therapist and couples counselor, progress—real progress—can be made. Although rebuilding trust doesn’t occur overnight, the progress made with a couples therapist can build the foundation of a happy marriage for years by providing the structure and roadmap to cope with the aftermath of marriage infidelity.

A couple on its own, struggles with their limited perspective of the problem and has no clear view or understanding of the dynamic of both healthy and unhealthy relationships. As a result couples who don’t seek professional support end up feeling helpless rater quickly. A therapist not only has the advantage of their academic training and real experience, but importantly has the emotional distance needed to see the full picture of the relationship. This allows an experienced therapist to gently and reliably lead a couple to understandings and resolutions they would never reach otherwise.

Jeff found his own help when he decided to get counseling. He began his therapy alone: a hard step for a man who’d spent years pretending he was free to act without consequences. But in taking that first step, and in the months afterwards, Jeff began to grow and change. In time he began couples therapy with Billie.

The couple is stable, now, and learning new, healthy ways of relating. No longer crippled by marriage infidelity and no longer struggling to rebuild trust, they’re moving ahead with courage and hope. Their joy in each other can be felt by everyone the minute they walk into the room. Jeff gives his therapist the credit. “I can be really stubborn. Without his help I never would have learned.”

Jeff was the right kind of stubborn: stubborn enough to look for a better answer, and stubborn enough to see it through. You, too, can change your life the way Jeff did. Whether you’re dealing with your own marriage infidelity or are rebuilding trust after a partner’s infidelity, a counselor can help.


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