Is an affair really the end?
Relationship specialist Chris MacGovern on what really goes on in couple counselling when clients present with an affair . . .
As a relationship therapist I see many distraught couples who come in saying its all over. He/she has discovered their partner has been cheating on them. Discovery is usually via indiscreet use of phones. In this day and age of passwords etc., that that discovery is usually via a text displaying on an unattended screen interests me. It’s all as if the errant partner was unconsciously trying to be discovered. Of course they will say no, they were trying to hide it, but it is my hint that given some good work on the relationship, this couple are probably going to be in a better state when we end therapy than they have been for years.
And that is the pattern. When couples present because of an affair or betrayal, asking if there is hope, from experience I can usually offer a firm yes. Of course there are couples who include a partner for whom affairs are almost a way of life, and that can be difficult. But for most that I see, the affair was a surprise to both in a long term relationship.
Once we have got past the hurt of the discovery, which needs its own time, I get curious about ‘why this relationship was available for an affair’. And we often discover that while it started out as a committed, well match partnership, at some point this changed. Perhaps after children and the work required to pay off a heavy duty mortgage. Perhaps people became tired and lost the energy a good relationship requires. They start to feel unnoticed and under appreciated as getting the kids washing done, or that work promotion in, takes precedence over things like romance.
An affair is necessarily the end of a relationship.
Sometimes one or both partners did try to do something about it, but the efforts sadly didn’t stick. And then a few years later someone has an affair and they end up in my office. Now I am not suggesting an affair is a good way to rescue a decaying relationship, its an awful way. But as the happy couples that often leave my office after an affair attest, there is hope as it can be an effective way.
Relationship counselling for couples
Find out more about specialist couple and relationship counselling services in Wimbledon and Canary Wharf call me on: 07500 582 526 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org