There are many challenges that a couple faces during the course of their relationship and/or marriage. Sometimes, the couple can manage the problem by themselves. However, often, the problem is too great for them to solve without professional help. One of these great challenges is when facing infidelity and breaking the trust.
For many couples, the discovery of a partner’s infidelity is experienced as a betrayal that breaks one of the most fundamental assumptions of a relationship: its exclusivity. Infidelity is serious in that it severely impacts the betrayed partner and the relationship as a whole.
Yet, with great challenges come great opportunities. It is definitely not easy to overcome infidelity and/or trust issue, but it is very much possible. When trust is broken, especially as a result of infidelity, the damage is great and the question “can I trust him/her?” might be there for a long time. The key question would be “Is it going to be an open wound or a scar?“
In general, humans are deeply monogamous and romantic in their beliefs as they aspire to be in a monogamous relationship. Most people wish for one person for life. Yet, many individuals find themselves in a conflicting desires; in a conflict between their values and their behavior. They might find themselves crossing a line they didn’t think they would ever cross and pay high cost for that.
In the aftermath of the infidelity, counselors must help couples restore their relational bond, enable them to make genuine and sincere amends and free them of the victim-perpetrator trap. They must continue assist couples heal from their wounds and strengthen their relationship in the period of the post-affair.
spiral2grow can guide you overcome the overwhelming crisis of the affair and guide you through the recovery process. We can help you develop the necessary skills to have more healthy and satisfying relationship. No doubt, that this is a challenge, yet it is possible to achieve. Ernest Hemingway said “The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.”
I believe that many relationships and marriages can overcome infidelity and affair. As strange as it may sound, an affair can be a blessing in disguise. I believe that with hard work and commitment to go through the difficult process of healing, a couple may find a way to emerge stronger and happier.
Overview of Infidelity and Marital Affair
Infidelity or an affair can be defined as a violation of an agreement or expectation of sexual and or emotional exclusivity expressed or implied in an intimate committed relationship (married, cohabiting, or engaged partners). Infidelity can be physical or emotional and takes place when one partner in a relationship continues to believe that the agreement to be faithful is still in force, while the other partner is secretly violating it. Infidelity also involves trust, betrayal, lying and disloyalty.
Infidelity is one of the most painful and devastating experience that can be inflicted in a marriage or other committed relationships. Amazingly, many marriages do survive after an affair. The fact is that only 15 percent of divorces can be attributed to affairs. Also, about 70 percent of couples decide to work on rebuilding their marriage/relationship and overcome infidelity. About 50 percent of couples succeed in repairing their marriage and even emerging stronger and better than before the affair.
Affair and infidelity is common and exists in all societies in any generation. Yet, it is important to understand that what is defined as an act of infidelity varies between cultures and subculture and very much depends on the type of relationship and agreement that exists between the individuals in that specific relationship.
When we face infidelity, we feel alone. We think that we are the only one that encounter such horrific event and experience such deep pain. But the reality is that many people have experienced similar issue and have felt the same way. Know that you are not alone, and that there is a large support groups that is available for betrayed spouses and individuals recovering from extramarital affair. This is a helpful way that one can find empathy, sympathy and support to build strength and overcome the affair.
Infidelity creates a great strain on both partners in the relationship and on the relationship itself. The affair is shocking and leaves the betrayed person feeling devastated, jealous, sad, confused, lonely shame and very angry. As it is very hard to overcome the infidelity, many people seek therapy to help recover the affair and move on. Moshe Ratson, as an expert in infidelity counseling can provide the necessary guidance to help overcome the dramatic challenge of infidelity and affair.
Causes and Types of Infidelity
The causes of infidelity are complex and varied. Affairs can occur not only in troubled marriages but also in happy ones. Anyone whose ever been cheated on is often struck with overwhelming questions of “Why is this happening to me? What did I do to deserve it? What is wrong with me that I was not able to provide my partner what he/she needs. At times the answer to these questions can be relevant, but at times they are not relevant as the cheating was about the cheater. Reasons for infidelity, include but not limited, to low self-esteem, relationship deficits, such as lack of affection, lack of emotional intimacy, avoidance of conflict, unfulfilled sexual needs, sexual addiction and unrealistic expectations.
Sometimes, one of the partners doesn’t feel desirable and will reach out to someone else to make them feel that way. Some individuals may feel trapped by their relationship and they want out, or they want something ‘on the side.’
During life cycle changes, such as a transition to parenthood, empty-nest period, mid-life crisis, etc. individuals that are facing psychological challenge may act out in ways that pushes one of them to have an affair.
In some cases, multiple affairs may indicate an addiction to sex, romance or love or and/or can be manifestation of low self esteem. The addicts to romance and love are driven by the excitement and passion of a new relationship, while sexual addicts are compulsively drawn to the high, adrenaline and the pleasure of sexual orgasm. But such addiction comes with a high price to both, the addicted person as well as it partner.
Few Types of Infidelity
occurs when a partner is in committed and loving relationship. Yet, the partner gives in to their sexual desire and expresses it to another individual. The opportunistic infidelity is motivated by out of control lust, impulsive behavior, situational circumstances and/or opportunity, and sometimes, pure risk-taking behavior. Sometimes it is purely a case of bad judgment. For example, a person may feel satisfied with their marriage, but one night at the office with a co-worker and a couple of glasses of wine can lead to lack of impulse control. Addicted sexual behavior (a repeated behavior of infidelity) can be an extreme case of opportunistic infidelity, yet, portrays a more serious problem than just bad judgment.
Occurs when one partner is still in love or attached with his/her spouse, yet this partner is continually rejected when engage in sexual contact. This feeling of rejection may contribute to resentment, insecurity and low self esteem which may result in cheating and search for other people to fulfilled the need of sexual intimacy as well as approval and sense of security. Some individuals end up having an extramarital affair solely on the need for approval from somebody, even though they still hold a strong attraction to their committed partner.
Happens when one partner is in the process of “fallen out of love” with his/her spouse or partner and decide to cheat and have an affair with another person. In this case, the romantic aspect of the relationship is fulfilled by another person, while the cheater, for various reasons, decides to stay in the “formal relationship.”
Conflicted Romantic infidelity
Takes place when a person has fallen in love with another partner or partners but is still in love with their spouse. In this circumstance, the person is unable to resist the compulsion and act secretly.
occurs when a person has completely fallen out of love with their spouse, but is still decides to stay in a committed relationship because of the perceived responsibility. This is similar to romantic infidelity by more extreme as the cheater is totally fallen out of love with their partner, yet feels trapped in the marriage that binds him or her.
An “emotional affair”
which sometimes also called an “affair of the heart,” is an affair which does not include sexual physical connection but includes emotional intimacy. The emotional affair differs from regular or platonic friendships in that there is greater emotional intimacy than in the marital relationship, and there is secrecy and deception from the spouse.
Emotional affair may begin innocently as a friendship in different environment (work, pleasure etc.) and can easily start over the internet to grow to what is called “internet affairs,” which becomes very destructive to the health of the relationship or marriage.
Infidelity has many variations and serves for different purposes.
Understating the different types and infidelity and some of the reasons that led to it is an important first step to overcoming it and make it easier somewhat to decide what to do to survive infidelity.
Respond to Having an Affair
spiral2grow Marriage Family Therapy, a leading provider in couples therapy and infidelity counseling in New York City, has marriage counselors and marriage therapists, who are experts in helping couples in crisis, dealing with infidelity or extramarital affair and saving marriages in crisis, while building healthy relationships.
How the betrayed spouse responds after an affair
The respond to an affair is hard and can manifest itself in many ways. The discovery of the affair has tremendous effect on the relationship and specifically on the betrayed spouse. The impact of the infidelity on the betrayed spouse may be physiological hyper-arousal, flashbacks, rage, mood swings, withdrawal and intrusive images, which is similar to the symptoms of a PTSD (post-traumatic stress Disorder).
A spouse’s affair can cause you to doubt your self worth and self-esteem. The betrayal inflicts deep wounds, causing psychological and relational turmoil. In the emotional turmoil and devastation after infidelity and affair, you are dealing with images that continue to run through your mind of your spouse with another person. In addition to being angry and sad, the feelings of being hyper-vigilance and supper-protective means you have another strong emotion to work through: jealousy.
Why counselling is advisable to help manage infidelity?
Some of the common reactions to the loss of the trust and ideal partnership, include obsessively pondering on the details of the infidelity; not believing the spouse, while continuously looking for additional signs of betrayal. Checking cell phone messages, credit card bills, email account, asking endless questions, are just few examples of attempts to understand the entirety of what has occurred.A high level of hurt, insecurity, and anger as well as a tremendous fear that such the betrayal will take place again in the future is normal and hard to avoid. The raging thoughts may lead to angry behavior and strong desire to punish the involved spouse by telling the children about the incident, telling bosses, mothers, and others about the infidelity. Some spouses will resort to verbal and even physical abuse toward the unfaithful partner. At the same time, the involved spouse may fear that they will be never be forgiven or forever punished for the what they have done. The unfaithful partner may be left to deal with their guilt alone and might justify their behavior by blaming their partner by distortions of what the relationship was like and how unhappy they were in it.The shocking news may lead to a situation that the betrayed spouse is numb and somewhat unable to function normally. Some individuals may be in rage, impulsively will ask for separation, divorce, etc.. Others may look for insight, try to understand what went wrong, what they have done, and other might look for validation for their feelings, and might need emotional stability as opposed to drastic action. Some betrayed spouses may blame themselves for not having seen the patterns of lying and deceit, and for not acting sooner. Some might feel shame and fear judgment to unfortunately keep them isolated in their fear and hurt.In other cases, some betrayed spouses will dramatically engage in sexual or seductive mode, thinking that if they provide enough sex, their partner won’t “need” to look elsewhere. Others may direct the hurt of their partner onto the individual(s) with whom their partner had the affair, protecting their spouse and their “ideal relationship,” while denying the responsibility of their partner’s behavior.As one can see, there are many ways individuals respond after infidelity. Regardless of how the response is, it is hard to process it and overcome the overwhelming emotional challenges. If couples are not able to manage this crisis by themselves, and many cannot, it is recommended to seek help of psychotherapist who is an expert in infidelity and affair.
Infidelity Counseling NYC
People are deeply monogamous and romantic in their beliefs as they aspire to be in a monogamous relationship. Yet, many people find themselves in a conflicting desires; in a conflict between their values and their behaviors.
They might find themselves crossing a line they didn’t think they would ever cross and pay high cost for that. Marriage after infidelity is like entering a whole new universe with new rules of physics. All the physical and emotional connections as well as the habits that the partners have spent years building are suddenly broken beyond repair. The thought that from now on you can never trust your spouse again fills the unfaithful spouse feeling of hopelessness. The couples face one of the most difficult challenges to overcome. Yet, most marriages are repairable after an affair. In fact, many couples find that after affair recovery, their marriage thrives.
The following are some tips and guideline to help couples overcome the crisis of infidelity and rebuilding trust in the relationship:
Take responsibility for the affair
When the affair becomes known, it is important for the unfaithful spouse to be honest in admitting what happened as well as taking responsibility to their actions. This is a necessary step to begin the process of renewed trust in your mate. Only then will the relationship have a fair chance at redemption and you will have the possibility of a second chance.
The unfaithful spouse must take full responsibility for the extramarital involvement and show remorse for the pain caused before the healing process starts. Additionally, acknowledge’ how much the betrayal hurt your partner, how difficult it must be to move past it, and vow to do whatever necessary to make things better.
People make mistakes, but owning up to them makes you a better person. When you take full ownership of your own selfishness, immaturity, or basic destructive relationship behavior, you make a clear statement that “I want to change my ways,” you own your decision and behavior without e excuses.
To regain the trust the unfaithful partner must demonstrate a commitment to being honest, even about information that might be hurtful. The only way to rebuild the trust is simply be honest and transparent and to and always tell the truth. Therefore, the cheaters must stop lying or making excuses for their actions. The cheaters must amend their way and move away from dishonesty.
If cheater continues to lie, it sets the reconciliation process way back. If the betrayed partner discovers (either on purpose or by accident) that you have lied about or left out salient details, they will likely never trust you again. Truth is the only way to rebuild your relationship and the only way to reclaim your own integrity. You simply cannot build a relationship on lies and deception.
Talk about the affair
Some people may think that discussing the affair with the spouse will only create more upset. However, the opposite is true. Talking about the affair itself is a major part of the process of moving beyond the affair and start healing. It is important to deliberately focus on dealing with the affair and what comes with it, rather than avoiding it. It is, also, necessary for the partner who had the affair to answer all the questions, sometimes repeatedly.
By asking multiple questions, the betrayed partner get up to speed, thus obtaining necessary information to deal with feelings of being in the dark while their partner was trying to hide things from them. The betrayed partner is going to ask lots of questions and want details about things unfaithful partner may not want to answer. The unfaithful partner is going to cross reference prior stories and ask to confirm if “this” or “that” was a lie. With all this challenge, the unfaithful partner needs to answer.Withholding information about the affair gives the impression of an attempt to continue the deception. Talking about the affair is very difficult, yet it is the only way to improve the chance of repair and rebuilding trust and intimacy.
Be honest, open and transparent
Make a commitment to honesty and ongoing open communication, even when honesty is uncomfortable and inconvenient as well as hurtful. Honesty, in this case, means more than just “not lying.” It also means not withholding relevant information. In addition, voluntary sharing additional secrets clearly state your intention to build trust and not hold secretive information. You need to be as open as possible in your relationship in order to show that you have nothing to hide.
Do everything you can to let your partner know that you have nothing to hide. Additionally, do not hide your phone or set the ringer on silent. If your partner requests, give them your phone, email and voice mail pass codes. When you are open and transparent, your partner will also feel that they should be open enough to you as well.
Even more, if you have nothing to hide, then offer your partner the codes without them having to ask. Don’t clear you phones call log, messages or lock phone or email. Allow your partner to check and see any and all of your messages emails etc. and assure them that, from now on, you will be truthful.
Although you may feel as though some of these are a violation of your privacy, you need to know that truth and transparency are absolutely necessary if you are trying to rebuild trust. Remember, keeping secrets is probably one of the worst things you can do for a relationship. Dishonesty will never get you to your goal of loving your spouse again. Once individuals break the trust of their partner, it takes a while and a whole lot of effort to get it back.
Express sincere remorse
The unfaithful partner must be contrite/regretful, remorseful, empathetic, compassionate and honest. Remorse needs to be conveyed in both verbal and nonverbal ways. Just saying “sorry” won’t do. “Sorry” needs to be conveyed through the eyes, body language and actions wholeheartedly, again and again, until trust has been restored. The unfaithful partners can’t apologize often enough. They need to tell their spouse that they will never commit adultery again.
At the same time, acknowledging the degree of pain the unfaithful partners caused on their partner is important. It is vital for healing that the unfaithful partner understands, tolerates and empathizes with the hurt partner’s pain. In addition, expressing appreciation for another chance gives the betrayed partner a clear message that you are sorry for what you have done, that you are mindful of their pain, and that as long as you are aware of their struggle to overcome the ordeal, you will be less likely to make such terrible decision again in the future.
In many cases, the betrayed partner may not see a lot of remorse until the relationship begins to cool down and the overwhelming emotionality has subsided. Also, the betrayed partner must recognize that the unfaithful partner understand that the affair is a horrible mistake and should not happened again.
Be available and make your partner feel good
While being emotionally available following the discovery of a betrayal might be difficult, it is important that the unfaithful partner make a tremendous effort to be emotionally available. Being around to answer questions and soothe the betrayed person’s thoughts and feelings will keep them from building up and causing future explosions and regressions in the relationship. If partners can’t be with one another physically, try to keep electronic communication open (phone, text, email) whenever possible to be able to answer the betrayed partner’s calls, and allowing them direct, quick and free access when they need. Depending on your partner’s temperament, you may need to respect their desire to be alone, but you need to keep yourself available when they need you.
Giving your partner your full attention during this challenging time will help them to regain the feelings of importance in your life, and will serve as an indication to them that you are unlikely to repeat your mistake and hurt or betray them again. It is also important to show and tell your partner how much you care or love them, this will help your partner to overcome the anger, shame and humiliation as well as the hurt that comes along with the betrayal. Any gesture or actions toward making your partner feeling good, will more than likely make them feel a little better about themselves and at the same time will open the door to your reconciliation and lead the way to recovery.
The betrayed partner will appreciate the fact that you are making yourself available and showing your seriousness about rebuilding trust in a marriage or relationship. In rebuilding trust after an affair, the unfaithful partners are required to go out of their way to demonstrate their willingness to amend their way and avoid potential temptations. For some couples, this may mean avoiding close friendships with the opposite sex, not being flirtatious, and when possible, not being alone with someone who has shown interest in you. The more time you spend with your spouse, the less you will be tempted to contact your lover.
Building an inventory of positive interactions including a caring responses and actions even in the face of painful or negative interactions will create positive energy and will encourage your partner to move beyond the pain associated with the affair.
Communicate and express your needs
Healthy relationship starts with communication. This goes to any relationships (even when infidelity is not involved.) It is important to understand yourself, identify your need and express them in a healthy way. Healthy communication means being assertive (not passive and not aggressive), yet being respectful.
Take the time to talk with each other frequently so that you both know where the other one stands. This will allow you to feel as though there is nothing that you’re not communicating to the other. It is better than being in the dark and unclear about your position.
Expressing your need will go a long way to showing your partner how much you trust them. By allowing them to see what makes you happy, you are becoming vulnerable to them and to their reactions. They might not like what you’ve decided, though they probably will appreciate the fact that you are telling them what you need from them. Trusting them to listen and to respect these needs will help the favor to be returned.
Remember, both partners are part of a team. Both partners need to do for the relationship and the family. It’s not just what the person who had the affair needs to do.
Be patient and committed
Generally, the unfaithful partner wants to “move forward” and putting the affair behind. The betrayed partners may think that since they have confessed, apologized and clearly stated that he would remain honest and loyal, things should return to normal. Unfortunately, this is simply not a realistic request. Restoring trust in a broken relationship will take time and energy, and it’s a process that’s measured in years, not months. Do not expect things to return back to normal after a short time.
At the same time, the hurt spouses have totally different process to manage. They are in a stage of discovery, grief and pain. In many cases The betrayed spouse cannot let go and still hold on to the betrayal as a way to protect themselves and sending a clear message to the unfaithful partner “you hurt me badly, and it is hard for me to move on.” Or “I still want to punish you for what you have done and for you to feel my hurt.” The fact of the matter is, that your partner may never fully be “over it”, but may still learn how to mentally move past the lies, or the betrayal.
It’s unlikely you will be able to learn and process all about the affair and its surrounding issues is a single meeting. Don’t try. Take your time to get the information you need. Most couples repeat questions, repeat telling parts of the story, and rehash some of their conversations about the affair many times. It is not an easy process, yet it is best to take it slowly and rushing will only be counterproductive. It takes time to heal the wounds of an affair.
One minute you and your spouse talk about spending quality time together and actually do it. The next time is not so much. Inconsistency is a natural process specially after revealing the affair. So, anticipate that your spouse will be on a roller coaster of emotions. Mood changes, sudden tears, angry and explosive behaviors or withdrawal are natural.
Although it takes time to rebuild trust after an affair, remember that you are rebuilding your character and your relationship at the same time. So take it slow, giving it your best will show your partner how much you regret your actions and that you really care for them and the relationship. Be patient. It is hard to forgive and forget after betrayal and rebuilding trust takes time. It is rare to completely recover from the emotional impact in less than two years.
Consider couples counseling
Infidelity is one of the most challenging that any couples can face. It is hurtful and devastating while it put the relationship is a serious jeopardy. Most couples having difficulties in manage infidelity by themselves and even more difficult is to find a constructive ways to restore the trust and rebuild the relationship. Therefore, many couples look for professional help to guide them through this difficult process.
Marriage counseling and couples therapy provides safe environment, support and guidelines to help partners manage their painful and difficult feelings. After the unfaithful spouse has fully acknowledged responsibility for the affair, it would be wise for both spouses to gradually expand their understanding of each other and their marital issues. Each partner has to take responsibility for change. The infidelity crisis, even though devastating, can serve as an opportunity, for the couples to create something new, stronger, and more open and honest.
Marriage counseling and couples therapy are instant gratification solutions. They intend to provide a safe, confidential environment to explore what is happening in your life and your relationship in the context of your personality, family of origin, and personal goals and aspiration. Before you destroy the possibility for recreating a previously painful relationship, consider looking for qualified professional counseling that is expert in infidelity. You may be able to salvage something worth having and recreate the relationship you wish for.
Infidelity can shatter even the strongest relationship, leaving behind feelings of betrayal, guilt, and anger. Counseling provides the necessary tools for communication and exercises to work on healing, and restoration of trust, building healthy relationship skill and overcoming the infidelity.
Recovery After an Affair
Ernest Hemingway once said “The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.”
An affair is devastating. Your world is turned upside down when you reveal that your husband or wife has been unfaithful. The emotional roller coaster is overwhelming and the level of hurt and anger at your partner’s cheating cannot be described. The discovery of an affair brings so many deep questions. Questions you have never even considered asking, even when you heard of other people’s infidelities. Now that you experience it first hand, you may ask yourself whether your whole relationship has been a lie; whether you were foolish to trust your partner; whether you will ever be able to trust again. You wonder what is wrong with you, or if you could have done something different to prevent the affair. There is a painful awakening of losing the naivety of life; facing a betrayal. Now, it becomes personal and you wonder if you will ever recover from this shocking discovery of your partner’s infidelity.
If you are the one who had the affair, you may wonder how exactly you ended up betraying your loved one. You are not sure what the affair meant to you. Was it just sex, or maybe it was also an emotional, intimate experience that you are not sure you want to give up. In addition, you feel guilty and awful at having hurt your partner so deeply. You also feel ashamed and prefer to put the affair far behind, so you will be able to move forward and rebuild what has been destroyed.
At this difficult time, you are probably not sure how to deal with your overpowering emotions and don’t know what to do. If you still want to stay in the marriage, you find it hard to imagine how this relationship can heal from infidelity, overcome the pain and move forward. It is very normal to have all these questions with no answers. Yet, in infidelity counseling (marriage or couples therapy), you will have the opportunity to share your feelings and questions about the affair in a safe and secure environment and find resolution to the challenges that come with the infidelity.
For over 15 years I have been helping and guiding individuals and couples in the New York City area cure the suffering of an affair. With my professional guidance and support, both partners can take vigilant, deliberate steps toward rebuilding the marriage. I believe that many relationships and marriages can overcome infidelity and an affair. As strange as it may sound, an affair can be a blessing in disguise. With hard work and commitment to go through the difficult steps of healing, a couple may find a way to emerge stronger than ever before and be mutually more fulfilled.
Over the years I have developed a reputation as a relationship and infidelity expert. I have participated in radio and TV shows and have been quoted in many newspapers and magazines. Some of the media channels that I have been featured in include: The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, USA Today, Showtime, CNN, Telemundo, Huffington Post, National Public Radio (NPR) and Psychology Today.
Infidelity Counselling After an Affair?
Individuals and couples respond differently to an affair. Regardless of how the response is, it is hard to deal with its emotional roller coaster, challenging to process it as well as overcoming the overwhelming emotional difficulties. If couples are not able to manage this crisis by themselves, and many cannot, it is recommended to seek help of marriage therapist who an expert in infidelity and affair.
The process of infidelity counseling after an affair allows each person to air their grievances and express how they’ve been hurt by the other in a safe environment with a couples therapist present. The therapist will facilitate communication and understanding. After the events and facts are fairly understood (not necessary accepted), you can then go deeper to recognize and appreciate what emotional and psychological dynamics were at play that led to the affair. Thereafter, you’ll start the process of learning new healthier ways to relate to each other that cultivate a sense of trust, connection and intimacy.
An affair is one of the biggest betrayals we may experience. But if you are willing to work on the relationship, the journey of healing can be transformative, changing both of you to become a better partner and a better persons — even if you decide to go your separate ways after all.
Build Trust in Relationship
spiral2grow Marriage Family Therapy, a leading provider in couples counseling and marriage therapy in New York City, has marriage counselors and couples therapists, who are expert in helping couples building trust and overcoming infidelity and affair. We guide couples through their crisis, save relationship, while rebuilding their trust as a foundation for healthy marriage. Located in midtown Manhattan at 260 Madison #8023, New York, NY 10016, spiral2grow offers effective and result-oriented marriage counseling and couples therapy.
In a world filled with distrust, those who can truly trust each other enjoy the possibility of having a breakthrough in their relationships and reach a next level of intimacy. It is because together they feel free to co-create, be spontaneous, and contribute to each other’s well being and happiness.
One of the most important components of an intimate relationship is the establishment of trust. It is a fundamental element in a healthy relationship and it woven into the very fiber of every aspect of a relationship. Trust is a key indicator of the degree of how healthy and intimate is a relationship. A relationship begins with trust, as it is the cement of the foundation that leads to a happy, long-lasting relationship. Accordingly, trust is something that should be created, protected, valued and enjoyed.
Overview of Trust in Relationship
Trust allows you to have a safe environment and confidence to share your feelings, thoughts, emotions, desires and your true self with someone else without being judge or rejected. When you extend your trust to your partner and share personal details of your life, while being validated, you enhance your intimacy to reach a deeper level of relationship.
On the other hand, if you are not keeping your word or promise, lying and cheating, it becomes damaging to the relationship. It breaks down the foundation, in which healthy relationship is built upon. In addition to the trust itself, problems spill over to many areas of the relationship. In is not uncommon that lack of trust may lead to stress, anxiety, anger and negatively impacts intimacy. It may even create a deep rift and can lead to the termination of the relationship.
In the end, trust in relationships requires all parties involved in the relationship to be proactive and responsible for their actions. To increase the chances of a happy, healthy relationship, individuals must behave ethically and truthfully. As such, trust must be built, earned and maintained.
The Benefits of Trust in a Relationship
Trust contributes to each other’s well being and freedom to express who you are. You cannot have the confidence to share your feelings, thoughts, emotions, desires and yourself with someone else without having safe, confidence and trustful relationship. When you trust, you can be who you are and be accepted as you are with your strength as well as your weaknesses. Trustful partners permit each other to reach into areas that others didn’t allow them to go. It is also an opportunity to get to know ourselves in a way we might not have otherwise known because we have the ability to open up and explore who we really are.
Trust is the trademark of the personal relationships between the people who constitute a healthy constructive team. When you extend your trust to someone else, you provide safety and security to experience the great potential of love and intimacy. Trust provides the comfort where two people can learn to count on each other. Without trust, there is fear, insecurity and limited intimacy and freedom. Without this trust, no legal agreement, no structure, and no process can bring happiness, fulfillment, or synergy.
With trust come freedom, safety and security to experience the great potential of love and intimacy. When you trust, you feel free to share your heart and soul with your partner. You can be who you are and be accepted as you are with your strength and weaknesses. You can be completely vulnerable with your spouse in a way that you cannot be with any other person. It is also an opportunity to get to know ourselves in a way we might not have otherwise known because we have the ability to open up and explore ourselves.
Trust is the glue that binds relationships and the grease that prevents frictional differences from becoming unbearable. A lack of trust can lead to a lot of pain, misunderstandings, arguments, and stress and without it, there is insecurity and limited intimacy.
When Trust is Lost
When trust is lost due to the actions of one or both partners it can lead to anger, anxiety, reduced intimacy and potentially the end of the relationship. Without trust, there is jealousy, insecurity and limited intimacy and freedom.
It is much more difficult to earn trust back when it is broken than to maintain trust in your marriage or relationship. That is why it is so important to safeguard yourself and your spouse from the devastation and pain of broken trust. Part of those preventative measures is accountability and responsibility toward one another. Honesty and transparency helps keeps partners in check. Yet, respect, space and privacy must be cherished as well.
Broken trust in marriages can be devastating and very difficult to overcome. Rebuilding broken trust is challenging. However, it is possible to regain the trust when couples are committed to the process, being patience, have open communication and to forgive and do the right things to salvage trust.
In case of infidelity and affair in a marriage, the challenge is even greater. Yet, there is still hope of recovery from infidelity in a marriage, but it is not easy. The most important things to remember are that the “offender” must be completely committed to changing his/her behavior. At the same time, the “offended” must forgiveness and accept that the painful past cannot be undone. Also, it is important to understand that the process of rebuilding that trust will most bring a roller coaster of emotions, particularly anger. The process will take a lot of time while requiring love, patience and commitment.
If you find yourself struggling with trust issues, I would encourage you to seek counselors and professional help to guide you and be a valuable resource in these difficult times. The psychotherapist will furnish you with the necessary tools to successfully overcome those struggles.
How to Create Trust
Not keeping your words, lying and cheating is harmful to the relationship and breaks down the foundation, in which healthy relationship is built upon. In his book “The Four Agreements,” Don Miguel Ruiz wrote “Be Impeccable with your words. Telling the truth is the most important factor in making an intimate relationship stable and persistent. The fact is that the truth is never destructive and can be conveyed in loving manners. Yes, the truth can be hurtful, but the alternative is much more costly and damaging to building trust in the relationship. The truth is a critical way to maintain healthy relationship. If you give your word to do something, you must follow through. So, “Do what you say and say what you do.
Reliability is important because of each person’s need to have someone they can count on. As couples develop their relationship together, spouses take on specific roles and responsibilities in the relationship. They rely on each other to effectively manage the marriage or family together.
It is important to know that you build trust in a relationship by entrusting yourself to the other person. If you are reluctant to share your thoughts, values, and impressions or take a stand, you also challenged by finding your true self. And by that you might destroy trust. When you know who you are and feel comfortable with yourself and able to express it to others, they will respect you. They will get to know you more deeply and also will respect you. They will see you as a person of character and they will trust you.
Communication is defined as the transfer of information from one person to another. Communication has power, but like any powerful tool it needs to be used effectively or it can cause self-inflicted harm. Communication plays an important role in developing trust within a relationship. Harnessing the power of communication is a fundamental to building trust and healthy relationship. The key is clear communication and avoidance of interpretation and assumption.
Establish Healthy Boundaries
Setting clear boundaries s important as it protects you from being hurt or moving into territory that will be destructive or have negative energy. When you know yourself and your limits and boundaries, you refuse suppression; the other person comes to trust you. Boundaries whether it’s an absence of them or not enough are the core thread of issues in relationship. Individual must draw the line and say NO!, when it is required to maintain well-being. By saying NO you send a message to the that you will not live in fear and you will be truthful to your needs.
When one person exhibits behaviors in which they give to the other person or the relationship, trust develops. The opposite of selfishness is unity and giving. A balanced attitude between self interest and relationship interest is important as building and contribution must be mutual in order to avoid resentment of one partner toward the other.
Invest in your Relationship
Relationship is a challenge with a great opportunity to grow and be happy, yet it is not an easy thing to build. It requires high level of investment. If you want to succeed in your relationship, accept the challenge and face it. Obstacles, trials and pain can serve as a lesson, in which you can script your life to reach your growth and destination.
Avoid Break Up and Divorce
Divorce is a devastating outcome for the entire family. Many couples in marriage would prefer to save their relationship and avoid divorce, ie rather than going through the difficult process of breaking up their family. Unfortunately, many couples don’t pay attention to (or ignore) the alarms and signals of discontent that their relationship or spouses have been ringing. At times, the request of a separation or divorce catches you by surprise. When you finally recognize that something is needed to be done, you find it to be too late.
Many married couples experience major disappointments, arguments, family difficulties and realize that their marriage is in distress. If the problems of marriage are ignored and not dealt with, a tremendous rift between partners is created and the marriage reach a danger zone. Marriages fail for a variety of reasons. Serious marriage problems don’t happen overnight; they creep up on people gradually. This is why the sooner you can recognize the signs of trouble in the relationship the sooner and better you can address them to bring your relationship to a better place.
spiral2grow, with its marriage counselor or couples counselor, provide the relationship expertise to avoid break up or divorce and save your marriage and relationship. We are able to help many couples building successful relationships as well as saving marriages from break ups. spiral2grow Marriage Family Therapy, located in midtown Manhattan at 260 Madison #8023, New York, NY 10016, offers proven marriage survival counseling as well as individual relationship therapy, couples therapy, avoid breakup and divorce workshops.
Signs that your marriage in trouble:
- Constantly argue and bicker – Any relationship particularly involved problems, conflicts and arguments. Even though many of the differences can never truly be completely resolved, if you find yourself in constant arguments, conflicts and negativity then you know you are in trouble. The key in a relationship is to change the way you view conflict, accept and appreciate your partner.
- Thinking about having an affair – There are many reasons you may be tempted to have an affair. But regardless of the reasons individuals are unfaithful, affairs indicate serious problem in marriages.
- Wonder if you choose the wrong partner – When you experience frequent unpleasant dynamics and you focus on the negatives of your relationship, you become unmotivated and even hopeless in regards to the success of the relationship. You wonder if you are in the wrong relationship.
- Feel resentful and angry – Resentment and anger can be a mask to a deeper more painful emotions such as boredom, dissatisfaction and even depression. Resentment and anger can be built over time and has the ability to erode the quality of a marriage. Both resentment and anger are equally toxic emotions that is destructive to any relationship.
- Not being sexuality intimate– It is normal to have differences in sexual drive between individuals in marriage. It is also not uncommon to have reduction in sexual activities as we grow older or with increased time while being with the same partner. This, in and of itself, is not a sign that your marriage is in trouble. The problem is a sex starved marriage relationship. A relationship when the spouse with lower desire does not care about the person with the higher desire and reject the sexual advances. The feeling of rejection, hurt, frustration and anger creates disconnection.
- Lack of trust – One of the key components of an intimate and successful relationship is the foundation of trust. It is an element of a healthy relationship. When trust does not exist, the relationship cannot survive challenges.
- Increased Jealousy – Jealousy is a normal emotion and at times may be justified. However, when one partner or both in intimate relationship experience it frequently and strongly, and act on it impulsively, it shows lack of trust and insecurity problems in the marriage.
- Your fights escalate – When you find yourself fighting for the same things again and again, while many of them escalate and intensify, you need to be concerned. Fights that become increasingly hostile and may involved verbal or physical abuse should be taken very seriously.
Tips to avoid divorce or break up
Marriage is a highly skilled activity that requires education, training and practice. Having a healthy marriage requires a whole skill set. We naturally acquire our skill set from our parents. So if our parents have good skills, then we are lucky to have good role models and teachers. But what happened if we don’t have parents with healthy skills, then many times, unfortunately, we carry those relationship skills to our marriage.
When you recognize your marriage might be in trouble, there are several steps you can take to get back on track.
- Be focus and intentional – Understanding that your marriage in distress requires you to be committed to work on your relationship and create the best atmosphere and environment to save your marriage.
- Identify the problems – Solutions requires identifying the problems in the marriage, figuring up unhealthy dynamics and breaking vicious cycles. Only then you can address this issues and tackle them constructively.
- Take Responsibility – Trying to change your partner, won’t be helpful. Instead, use your energy to focus on yourself and see how you can change yourself, change your attitude and influence your partner.
- Move Away from negativity – If you focus on the negative, negatives would color the relationship. So, avoid criticism, blame, complaints, accusations sarcasm, aggressiveness or sarcastic remarks.
- Avoid escalation – Argument and conflict create anger that can easily lead to escalation. It is critical to stay calm and collected and not to fuel the anger. Catch anger early and collaborate to find resolution.
- Express concerns constructively – When you use “I” statements like: “I feel [followed by a one-word adjective]”; “My concern is …”; or “I would like to …” you are constructive as you focus on your feelings and your needs rather than focus on your partners, blaming them or criticizing them.
- Have open, honest and respectful discussion – Healthy communication is one of the most important skills in relationship and takes work. It starts with an attitude of respect, listening and understanding, and courage to talk about serious or provocative issues.
- Be Positive – The more positive energy you and you partner experience, the better you can rebuild the relationship. So, provide more moments of smiles, hugs, compliments and laughs (a lot). Focus on giving, as the more positives you give, the more you’ll get.
- Learn skills for a successful marriage – Any skills requires training. Would you expect to drive a car without first taking driving lessons? Make an effort to educate yourself; read books, attend marriage education courses or seminars, learn communication and conflict resolution skills for marriage partnership.
- Get help – It is not uncommon to struggle in relationship and overcoming marriage challenges. In addition, finding or identifying the source of problems may not be easy. It also challenging to create new patterns of relationship dynamic and behavior to reconnect. This is why you should seek help. Getting assistance from a professional marriage counselor or couples therapist can help your relationship dramatically.
The counselor can help you recognize your problems and set clear steps that is needed to improve your relationship. The therapist will guide you rebuilding your relationship and equipped you with the necessary tools to sustain long lasting healthy marriage.
As marriage therapist who regularly works with couples, I know that all couples have challenges. My main concern is about the couple who recognizes the first sign of problems and does nothing about it or wait for it to be too difficult to resolve.
That would include re-establishing commitment, trust and infusing the partnership with love and care takes introspection, compassion, forgiveness, patience and effort.
After the affair by Janis Spring – Book
What Makes Love Last? How to Build Trust and Avoid Betrayal by John Gottman
Fighting for Your Marriage: Positive Steps for Preventing Divorce and Preserving a Lasting Love – by Howard J. Markman, Scott M. Stanley, and Susan L.
The Relationship Cure: A 5 Step Guide to Strengthening Your Marriage, Family, and Friendships – by John Gottman
Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples – by Harville Hendrix