For some the answer is simple. “I’m done, I’m outta here, and there is no way I will ever trust you again.” That is a perfectly acceptable decision, you know yourself best. Some vow, “If you ever cheated on me, I’d be gone,” but then somehow after it happens they suddenly find themselves rethinking that original proclamation. For those people, the bottom line is it’s not always so easy to walk away, and it’s also not so easy to stay together. Either decision will be a challenging, emotional, and considerable healing journey towards recovery. It’s a personal decision that each person or couple needs to make on their own. Well-meaning friends and family will give advice on what they believe you should do, but no one walks in your shoes except you.
Part of a counselor’s job when working with clients after an affair is to help sort through the plethora of emotions that can range from anger, rage, sadness, shock, loneliness, regret, guilt, shame, and hopelessness, sometimes all occurring simultaneously. Most report feeling as if they are on an emotional rollercoaster.
There are different ways to handle the decision of what to do next. As your therapist, I will sometimes see one person individually. This is usually to assist an individual who isn’t certain about which way to go. We would work together until clarity is obtained. Other times I work with the couple together to process what happened, and decide if rebuilding is possible or even desired. If the decision is to repair the relationship, the first step is to figure out what went wrong and take it from there one day at a time.
There are so many factors to consider when faced with this type of adversity in a relationship: length of relationship, if there are children involved, relationship history, level of commitment, religious beliefs, previous affairs, just to name a few. I have worked with couples who have repaired severely fractured relationships and others who have decided it best to go separate ways. I’m here either way to assist in making the process as painless and amicable as possible.