I often think that betrayal and infidelity are possible the most devastating thing that can happen in a relationship or marriage. It can come as a complete shock to the partner betrayed and sets them on a difficult emotional path.  I have counselled many couples who a trying to put their relationship back together and it is very difficult to rebuild the trust.

Often the betrayed person will need to know information such as who, where what when, and how long, often though this seems to increase the hurt pouring salt on an open wound.  An apology and explanation may be forthcoming, but alone are rarely likely to resolve the betrayal.  I find that often the injured party is given both an explanation and an apology at the same time and that makes excuses and suggests that the betrayer is not taking responsibility for their actions.

Time and again I encounter relationship breakdown that has followed a period of failure in communication, feelings are not shared or held back. Perhaps there is resentment, perhaps you feel unloved or controlled and it is a reaction to that. There is not intimacy and by that I mean more than sex, I am talking about shared experience and the little actions that keep you together. Sitting on the sofa watching a movie, talking about how your day went, both of you listening and speaking so that you really hear each other’s feelings.  Not that this will happen every day but it does happen regularly so you feel connected to your partner.

Rarely does someone wake up in a stable relationship and think I am going to go and sleep with someone else.  Yet that is not to excuse the betrayal, it is simply to acknowledge that it takes place in a context where the relationship was in trouble.

I most often see couples who want to put their relationship back together. This is a difficult road often the betrayer will want to move forward more quickly than the betrayed. In many ways they resent bringing up of the infidelity after they have apologised and explained, believing that they should have moved past it.  For the betrayed, it is often difficult to move past the act almost being anchored there until they understand what happened and feel confident that they are more in control and are able to try to trust again.

It is not uncommon for checks on phone messages and emails to happen and it seems like it is a part of the process some need to start trusting again.

Counselling sets a framework for talking and helps to get communication going again. It also looks at the hard issues, those things that are difficult to talk about. Surprisingly for some clients on occasion I will talk to each partner separately, this is usually to give them a chance to explore their feelings on an issue before they take it to their partner.  Counselling can work and can put marriages back together, but both parties will have to work hard and want the reconciliation.