A client sought counseling after discovering her husband’s infidelity. She posed questions like, “Should I get a divorce?” and “Can my marriage survive?” These are common queries following the revelation of an affair.
Honestly, my answer is usually yes – but only if the couple is committed to diligently working on their “second” marriage. What do I mean by a “second” marriage? Allow me to explain.
The moment infidelity infiltrates a marriage or relationship, the “first” marriage concludes. It’s akin to a bomb detonating within the marriage, causing significant devastation upon discovery. The ensuing effects, such as emotional turmoil, shame, and pain, inflict prolonged harm. Is the couple prepared to confront these repercussions? Most often, they are not. The way the couple perceives the relationship undergoes an irrevocable change; it can never be the same again. This phase may be the darkest, marked by excruciating pain and isolating loneliness. I reassure the couple: they might feel solitary, yet they are not alone – assistance is accessible.
During one of the sessions, I inquire of the couple (at an opportune moment): “Are you ready to embark on a fresh chapter in your lives and invest effort in your ‘second’ marriage?” While the question might seem direct, it takes considerable courage to be vulnerable, to discuss the situation, and eventually strive to mend the wounds. Conversations may be difficult, yet it’s crucial to have a platform to process emotions and prevent the damage from festering internally. Speaking up is essential.
In couples therapy, I engage with both partners together and individually to comprehend their relationship and aspirations. My objective is to aid couples in addressing the psychological aftermath of infidelity and identifying the right juncture to nurture their “second” marriage. Typically, treatment spans 8 to 12 sessions.
You might wonder if it’s worth it. Clients have attested to its value, whether they choose to mend or eventually part ways. The presence of a secure space to discuss their pain makes it meaningful. Thus, if you’re a couple silently grappling with distress, rest assured, assistance is within reach. Take the step to reach out.
Ms Joanne Goh
Principal Therapist
Private Space Medical