Infidelity is one of the biggest challenges a couple can face and often means the end of a relationship. Despite this, some couples find the strength and decide to overcome it. However, goodwill is often not enough.
Whether it was sexual infidelity, cyber affair, or emotional infidelity, the choice to save the relationship is often just the tip of the iceberg. Trust issues, guilt, shattered belief, and insecurities are what follows afterward. People sometimes reach a point when they are unsure if their relationship will ever be the same.
While it probably won’t be identical to the relationship before the fact of infidelity, it doesn’t mean it’s not worth trying. However, there is a long way to go. If you feel like all this cocktail of emotions is a bit too strong for you, seeking help from therapists who help with infidelity daily is definitely a good idea.
Whether it’s couples therapy or individual counseling, professional help can offer the highest chances of saving the relationship. A therapist can ensure that no hidden regrets are left behind and that both parties fully heal after this experience.
However, many couples who decide to try counseling encounter the same problem: in-person therapy is too much trouble. It might be that the only time you could both attend the sessions is late in the evening, or even never because you both have busy schedules or can’t leave your kids alone.
The global pandemic also made it unsafe or impossible to meet a therapist in person. Whatever is stopping you from starting, it’s much easier to work around these challenges with online therapy.
What Can You Expect From Online Infidelity Therapy?
Like traditional therapy, online therapy offers two ways to address this problem. A couple can attend therapy together or start online counseling individually.
Individual online therapy
While it seems that the infidelity issue would benefit the most from couples therapy, individual therapy can be very useful for both parties. It can be more intense than couples counseling for infidelity, as the therapist will focus only on one person.
The therapist will help them face painful feelings and make a final decision about the future of their relationship if a person is unsure. If a person decides to stay in a couple, online therapy will help to forgive, move on, and deal with mental health problems or trust issues that arise later in the relationship.
For a person who cheated, the effects of infidelity can also be severe. Guilt, fear, or inability to stop can make them feel trapped in the situation. Therapy can help those who want to prove that they can change and also those who haven’t even told their partner yet.
However, speaking about infidelity can be difficult, especially at first. Online therapy can make it less intimidating. While all online therapy services offer confidentiality, others can even offer anonymous therapy.
How can online therapy help? The therapist will focus on overcoming negative emotions, understanding yourself better, analyzing your actions and reasons behind infidelity. Later on, they will help a person make the necessary changes.
In cases of repeated infidelity, the therapist and the client will look deeper into the situation to touch upon the core of the problem. If sex addiction is the case, the therapist may adapt CBT methods to help the person overcome it. The therapist may also address the topic of monogamy, such as if that individual can truly prevent future infidelity and how to discuss it with their partner.
Couples therapy for infidelity
If a couple decides that they both need to attend therapy, online couples therapy can help them work through infidelity without going through more pain. The therapist will ensure that both partners can share their experiences without being judged and blamed.
Infidelity therapy can look different depending on the therapeutic approach the therapist uses. Some apply Gottman couples therapy, while others can use solution-focused therapy or discernment counseling if the couple is unsure if they want to continue the relationship.
Whatever the approach, the therapist will take time to understand the situation first. They will ask many questions, sometimes even ones that seem unrelated to the problem at all. Some therapists may not even touch upon the question of why this happened. That’s because the reason will eventually emerge later on.
After the situation is clear and the therapist knows your strengths and areas you need to improve, they can work on an action plan.
The start of online therapy may be difficult. Both partners can experience intense emotions that can be hard to control or talk about. But the therapist is there to make the situation as less painful as possible.
Most times, each partner will talk with a counselor alone, and later on, they will be able to address their feelings to their partner.
As mentioned above, the overall online counseling process will look different depending on the therapist’s training area. However, they all work on the same goal: making your relationship last or even become stronger and more intimate than before.
Lucy Baresford on TEDx gave an interesting speech about infidelity:
How Can Infidelity Therapy Online Help You?
For some couples, therapy might be the first occasion for them to speak truly openly to each other. It might be unpleasant, but it will undoubtedly be helpful in the long run. During infidelity therapy, the counselor will work on these areas to help you save the relationship:
- Get a clear picture. You may want to make this work, but overwhelming emotions and trust issues make it seem almost impossible. Therapists can show stats and evidence-based research that will help you believe that surviving infidelity is indeed possible. At the same time, they will set realistic expectations about how recovery might and might not look like.
- Rebuilt trust and respect in a relationship. The first thing a therapist should focus on is bringing trust back to the relationship. Once the trust is broken, it can take much time to rebuild it. Even when a person is willing to forgive, it might be impossible to forget what happened, and the therapist will help to realize what it takes to rebuild trust and how to do it.
- Address unspoken and unfulfilled needs. Sometimes it is hard to talk about what is lacking in the relationship because people are afraid to insult their partner or be shamed, and it might be the reason for infidelity. The therapist will help ensure that both partners feel understood and appreciated.
- Teach more effective communication. Sometimes we wish to say something about ourselves but end up blaming the partner. The more painful the problem, the easier it is to bring it up in the argument. Therapists can teach how to communicate more effectively and improve conflict resolution.
- Analyze your couple’s strengths and weaknesses. A therapist will look at how your relationship differs from what happy and strong couples have and what to do to change that.
How Long Does It Take To Recover From Infidelity?
There is no definite period after which the couple should heal completely. However, it’s a lengthy process for some. Psychologists agree that recovery from infidelity usually takes between 6 months to 2 years. How well your couple is surviving infidelity will depend on a lot of factors, including:
- Level of openness and emotional intimacy
- Communication skills
- Personal resilience
- Ability to take responsibility
- Attachment style
- How willingly they attend therapy
While every relationship is unique, healing from infidelity is a process that often has similar steps. The discovery and trauma phrase is the most difficult, full of intense emotions, such as anger, hopelessness, shock, and grief. It might take up to 6 or 12 weeks to reach more emotional stability after the news about infidelity.
With the help of online therapy, people overcome this phrase faster. However, the later processes might be both easier and more difficult at the same time, as emotions are less intense, but it requires a lot of work and openness to repair the bond.
Moreover, the progress may not be linear. After you experience what seems like a clear improvement, something might remind you or your partner about the act of infidelity and impact the progress you have made so far.
If you are trying to deal with the fact of infidelity in your relationship, you probably need therapy. While some people are strong emotionally, it never hurts to have a professional by your side. Therapists know the process of infidelity recovery and challenges waiting along the way.
Online therapy for infidelity can help you overcome intense emotions, constructively talk about your feelings, and overcome trust issues.
If you are willing to try online therapy, DoMental will be happy to connect you with a licensed therapist.