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Marriage After an Affair: Ending an Affair and Beginning Marriage and Family Counseling

An affair is survivable. Millions of couples choose to stay together for many reasons. More often than not there is still love and a longing for the marriage to continue and this is what brings couples to marriage and family counseling. Therapy, along with the couple’s determination, can help a marriage after an affair not only survive the affair but also thrive and become the marriage for which both have always longed.

Therapy following an affair consists of helping the couple through three phases: ending the affair, complete transparency, and forgiveness.

First, the affair must end. Ending an affair has to be not only an ending for the partner who conducted the affair, but also an ending that satisfies the partner who did not have the affair. Because of this it is important that both partners have a role. For example the partner who had the affair may write an ending letter to the person he or she became involved with and the partner who did not have the affair will mail it. This display of togetherness may help them become a team again.

In order for the marriage to begin the journey toward the couple becoming united again after ending an affair, the partner who had the affair must commit to complete transparency. Nothing can be off limits. Cell phones, computer passwords, and email accounts must always be available without hesitation for inspection when requested. Every question, no matter how painful, must be answered with humility.

The final step the couple must take is forgiveness. The betrayed partner must forgive the betraying partner, and the betraying partner must forgive him/herself. This last step is not something that happens on a particular date. Rather it is a journey that the couple will travel every day, and a journey where having access to the guidance of a marriage and family counseling therapist can be most helpful. With the help of marriage and family counseling couples can execute these three steps, survive the affair, and achieve the marriage of their dreams.

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