Has your partner had an affair?
When you find out that the person that you love and trust and share your life with, is having an affair it can feel as though your whole life has changed. The understanding that you previously had, becomes meaningless. It is now recognized that finding out your partner is having an affair is as equally traumatic as bereavement.
The nature of an affair means that it is not openly discussed. This means that most people either find out completely by accident – coming across social media messages linked by technology or by deliberately looking through a partner’s communication because they suspect them of an affair. If you are the one whose partner has had/is having an affair then you could be experiencing difficult feelings of intense anger and shame.
The kinds of thoughts someone finding out about an affair will be having are:
- I trusted them and all the time they were lying to me
- They have betrayed my love
- I am worthless
- I must be stupid not to have realised
- I’m not good enough
- Our marriage/relationship is over
- What is the other person like?
- The other person must be better than me
- My life has no meaning any more
- I will never be able to trust anyone ever again
- My love was not enough
The pain of an affair is usually so deep that it would be difficult for a couple to work through it on their own. However, with help, if a couple is committed to staying together and the partner having the affair ends the affair, relationships can be rescued. It may be surprising to know, but an affair does not have to mean the end of a long term relationship. Although it may seem hard to believe, some relationships can actually become stronger after an affair.
What are the reasons that someone in a committed relationship might have an affair?
It may be a deep need for validation – i.e. another person noticing their good qualities.
It may be a way to get a level of thrill, excitement or danger.
It may be because of a projected fantasy – i.e. this person will meet all my needs.
It may be because of pressure from the affair partner.
Relationship therapy, with a specialist, qualified therapist will allow both people in the relationship to express their pain and hurt. The therapist will not take sides but will focus on how the couple are interacting, how they might have been failing to meet each other’s needs and what other factors contributed to the affair.
With new technologies, it is now so easy to contact new people. Each couple needs to agree on the boundaries they are comfortable with in their own relationship.