CAN YOUR MARRIAGE SURVIVE AN AFFAIR?
The answer is yes if you follow these therapeutic guidelines I learned in Marriage and Family Therapy School and in my 20 years as a Marriage and Family Therapist.
1. We are all capable of having an affair. We live in a very judgmental society. When we hear of a friend whose spouse has had an affair, we quickly jump to the conclusion that the one having the affair is the bad partner and the one not having the affair is the good partner. This is not true; it takes three to have an affair. An affair is a symptom, that the relationship has many serious issues.
2. Both have to buy into the above concept and be willing to treat each other and the marital relationship with empathy, kindness and forgiveness
3. The affair must be over.
4. Marriage Therapy has to be part of the recovery process; both must be committed to saving the marriage.
5. The Marriage Therapy sessions must be about the marital relationship only — not the affair.
6. Both need to understand the concept that it is about the in-between and the relationship which is broken, not the person who had the affair. Relationships are very sacred and fragile and need to be treated as such.
7. Both need to own their part in not treating their relationship as something sacred and putting it first above all other relationships.
8. All marital relationships at some point will enter a difficult place; this does not mean the marriage needs to end.
9. I learned in Marriage and Family Therapy school that a marriage may need to end if one of the three A’s is present in the relationship: An untreated addiction and/or mental illness, abuse — both physical and emotional and adultery -- an ongoing affair which one is not willing to give up.
10. Most therapeutically unhealthy marriages that should have ended, and I have witnessed many, continue to stay in the unhealthy marital relationship.
11. Most marriages that I have witnessed ending, and there have been many, may have been saved.
Helen Skovran MS LMFT
Founder, Director, Clinical Supervisor
THE FAMILY THERAPY CENTER LLC