Infidelity can devastate a relationship more quickly and completely than anything else a married couple may face. Saving and strengthening a marriage is a challenging process. In every instance, a couple needs to rebuild trust, intimacy and security. Some relationships have other complex issues that precipitated the affair that need resolution. Reconciliation after infidelity has a high ‘degree of difficulty’ due to the need to address layers of interwoven or long neglected issues.
For married couples that want to make the effort necessary to salvage and improve their relationship there is no ‘universal solution’. While some partners benefit from incremental relationship improvements over time other couples may prefer a more immediate path to rebuilding their marriage. For couples who are looking for an immersive and intensive way to recover from infidelity an affair recovery program can be a perfect answer.
HELPING MEND YOUR MARRIAGE AFTER INFIDELITY:
Affair recovery programs share a number of similarities with intensive treatment programs (aka ‘rehab’) for drug and alcohol addiction. Most affair recovery programs seek to remove couples from the stress and distraction of their day to day lives. In many cases, programs are held in isolated areas such as rural retreats and mountain resorts. They offer a wide variety of methodologies, accommodations, and other amenities.
No matter the setting, affair recovery programs provide an intensive recovery program designed to provide a framework for the long-term process of moving beyond infidelity and strengthening relationships. They don’t promise a ‘quick fix’ for troubled marriages, but they can provide a solid foundation on which couples can reconcile and build their future together.
WHAT CAN BE ACCOMPLISHED:
Regardless of the methodology, setting or timeline the process of dealing with infidelity, rebuilding trust and strengthening marriages usually takes a similar path and sequence. The first concern is to deal with the immediate crisis and get the couple ‘on the same page’. After that, a counselor or therapist helps the couple find clarity on what happened. A mutual understanding of the infidelity is essential for additional progress and healing.
At this point, the focus shifts to the individual and their needs. Both the ‘wounded partner’ and the ‘involved partner’ have issues that need to be resolved involving trust, security, guilt, intimacy and similar emotional concerns. Once each partner has had their needs addressed the process of rebuilding the relationship can begin.
The attention now reverts to the couple and their mutual desire for reconciliation. Understanding what transpired–directly or indirectly–to cause the infidelity is an important part of restoring honest communication and trust. After that, the emphasis becomes repairing the emotional damage and looking toward the future.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT:
It’s not possible to fix a marriage damaged by infidelity in just a few days. It is a long-term process that requires the full commitment and dedication of both partners to the shared goal of making a relationship work. Affair recovery programs don’t promise a magic transformation in a damaged marriage. The goal is to give the couple a framework for the future and a revitalized relationship.
As part of this philosophy, many programs place a strong emphasis on aftercare. The length of aftercare varies but the goal is to build on the themes and goals of the intensive component of the affair recovery program. Counseling is the main focus of aftercare with group, couple and individual sessions. Additional support and guidance resources are also available–these may leverage modern communication tools such as the telephone, text messages, video conferencing along with email and other Internet-based resources.
IS IT EFFECTIVE?:
No two couples or their situations are the same. This reality makes it difficult to generalize broadly about the efficacy of affair recovery programs. That being said a couple that shares the desire to change the problematic areas of their relationship and strengthen their marriage can benefit greatly from an intensive recovery process. There is a wealth of research that underscores the importance of working with a trained and experienced therapist or counselor. Simply put, couples that agree to counseling and other professional treatment methods have a significantly better chance of saving and rebuilding their relationship than those who try to ‘go it alone’.
There’s no substitute for the objectivity and perspective of a ‘detached observer’ along with the training and experience that a good marital therapist can offer. For couples who want an intensive and immersive ‘head start’ toward repairing their relationship, an affair recovery program is often a perfect course of action.
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