Portland Relationship Counseling: After an Affair, Honesty Is the Only Thing

October 17, 2012 by

I know from my Portland relationship counseling clients that few things can damage a marriage as much as an affair. Learning that your partner cheated on you is reason enough for anyone to get marriage help. But it’s not just the fact that one of you sought out physical or romantic intimacy from another person, it’s also that they engaged in lies and deception to cover it up and maybe even to keep it going.

In short, it’s often less about the act and more about the betrayal. Someone put their complete trust in their spouse and allowed themselves to open up and relax, and then had that repaid by having things deliberately kept from them. When my clients ask me what is needed to repair what has been broken, my answer is simple: time, and complete honesty.

Portland Relationship Counseling: Honesty Has to Be Your Foundation

Because your problems stem from betrayal and dishonesty, the solution needs to be complete truth. Many people nod their heads when I say this, but a lot of them aren’t prepared for what it really means. If your partner has questions about the affair, you have to answer them as honestly as possible. If they ask where you’re going and what you’re doing, you need to tell them without bending the truth or hesitating. And if they want proof, you should strive to provide it to them – without complaint.

Why? Because you’re trying to rebuild trust. It’s the foundation upon which everything else is built, and you can only get there with honesty. Without trust, you can’t expect your spouse to feel the affection for you that they once did, and you can forget about physical and emotional intimacy. Those things grow out of the feeling that you are safe and at home with another person, and immediately after an affair that just isn’t going to happen.

Portland Relationship Counseling: Foundations Take Time to Be Built

It’s not going to happen in a week or even a month, but if you’re honest with each other over time – even about the stuff you’d rather not say – this will help to show that you’re not just trying to tell your significant other what he or she wants to hear and move you closer to where you used to be. In the long run, you might both find that you can now be more honest with each other because you’ve passed through the worst thing.

For more advice on how honesty can help you recover after an affair, contact Portland relationship counseling.