Learn how you can restore your relationship, and hopefully avert breaking up.
- Are you stunned, angry, or grieving because you’ve learned your partner had an affair?
- Do you feel like your whole world, dreams and all, is washing away right before your eyes?
- Are you completely at a loss as to what to do… but know that deep down you are still in love with your partner?
- Do you need to find out whether there is hope for your situation?
You are not alone.
Like many of us who have been face-to-face with this, you unexpectedly may be at an entirely new place in your life. What is worse, you might be the only one who knows. Suddenly, your “perfect world” doesn’t feel like such a great place.
Maybe you feel like you are numb, or that you want to explode in a thousand directions. It may seem scary (maybe even too scary) to contemplate the future.
In the days and weeks to come, you might find it increasingly difficult to concentrate, to sleep, or even to eat in the ways you used to. A sense of intimacy with your partner — once so strong and fulfilling — may be entirely missing or changed.
You may feel increasingly insecure, lonely, and unclear about what to do. It’s an unspeakable, nameless problem that keeps you up at 3 am with no solution in sight.
Your friends and family might still look at you and think, “Wow, she’s really got it together.”
Little do they know, you are in so much pain that even your fingernails hurt.
Hundreds (if not thousands) of couples experience the exact same problem, and the same reactions.
I imagine you probably have a lot of mixed feelings right now. I was in your shoes once, many years ago, and the thing I remember most vividly was crying so hard I had Kleenex stuck to my mascara.
There can be so many sources with advice, each offering what sounds like a helpful suggestion — and it all clogs up your busy mind with what seems like too many things to even consider.
But you know, deep down, this isn’t a problem you can solve alone. You also can’t just roll up in a ball and wait for it to go away. It won’t.
You need to begin to talk about what happened and how to move forward.
And there are questions you need answered, like:
- Is there hope for us and for our relationship?
- How can I ever trust my partner (or anyone) again?
- And, the big one: What should we do now?
My experience working with couples just like you has taught me that there is hope. Time and again, though, I find couples who wait so long to seek the help they so desperately need. A problem that might date from early in the relationship takes a huge toll if you have no one to talk to for years… and years… and maybe even years.
By the time couples come in to work with me, they often feel isolated, angry — and often exhausted!
But once they take that difficult first step of asking for help, a burden is lifted and the opportunity for a positive future — together — is possible.
It’s so sad that so many couples suffer for such a long time in situations that could be improved — sometimes right away! And there are times when the improvements are quite dramatic.
For some in marriage counseling couples therapy can make changes happen very quickly. For others, it takes more time.
Much of the progress you make depends on how open you are to looking at your real selves — warts and all, as they say — and on your willingness to cultivate your relationship, to listen to each other, and to begin walking together down life’s path.
The question is this: Will you continue doing the same things, floating toward almost certain destruction of your relationship because that’s where life leads you — or will you take steps to make meaningful changes that will also have a huge positive impact on those you love?
So what steps can I take right now?
1 - Don’t ignore your anger. It’s been my experience that unresolved anger leads to some of the worst problems down the road. I meet people every day who have symptoms of depression, who have eating disorders, who harm themselves physically or psychologically — and often the roots of their problem is in anger. Bottling up anger will not help. You need to find some way to channel it and create change.
2 - Try not to inflict further pain. Yes, I know you are hurting, and it’s often tempting to try to inflict pain on others — your partner, your family, yourself. Don’t let yourself fall into this. There are other, more positive ways to take out frustration today (exercise or journaling come to mind), and these won’t leave the deep scars that painful words or actions will leave behind.
3 - Begin couples counseling, and avoid living in distress one day longer! A plan that fits you and your unique situation can be developed after the assessment is completed — usually during the first session — and then you’ll be on your way toward healing.
Wishing you all the blessings of life!