When an Affair is Discovered or Disclosed

Online Couples Counselling for after the affair
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Finding Out About The Affair

This can be a time of huge shock and disbelief. Having thought that your partner was loyal to you and the relationship, then finding out they are not can leave you feeling unable to trust your own senses.

For some it may be an overwhelming sense of bemused relief. Realising that your feelings that something was off’ with your partners distance and time away from you wasn’t just your imagination. You were right and now you can decide what is right for you.

Keeping up appearances may be important. Maybe it is tolerable for the partner to have a fling as long as its discreet and your partner comes back to you. It seems that the most important thing is to bear the indignity and carry-on keeping home and relationship going.

What happens when it turns out you have both had secondary relationships. What does that say about the Primary relationship?


What To Do, Who To Tell

What do you do, who do you tell, do you end the relationship, do you try to save the relationship?

This is frequently a time of emotional overwhelm where feelings can run riot, as well as leaving you feeling numb. Whatever you feel fraught, angry, sad or confused it is normal for the situation.

For the unfaithful partner it too is a time of high intensity emotions. There can be a feeling of being torn between their partner and the person with whom they are or were having the affair.

Having a secondary relationship could be about replacing intimacy, appreciation or emotional connection missing from a primary relationship. It might be about sex, excitement or a feeling of entitlement. For some it is a way to cope with an unfulfilling relationship without facing the reality of it with their partner.

There is often a guilt, sadness, shame and embarrassment. There can also be the sense of waking up from a spell and now it’s the cold light of reality.

Make or Break

For both of you, discovery or disclosure is a time of reflection on what has happened and what comes next. For some it is a straightforward decision to end the relationship. With trust shattered and the feeling of being deceived this might be too much to pick the pieces up.

Some couples try to carry as normal as though nothing has happened. By burying what has happened it can feel less threatening than exploring what led to the situation.

Buried though, this can lead to years of living with the shameful secret, dancing around each other. Never fully acknowledging is has or is happening.

For those that have had an affair they may feel that being in the primary relationship is no longer viable. It may have felt loveless, controlling and or critical, it may have felt empty of emotion, understanding and support.

To end the primary relationship might be the right decision for one or both partners. Often though it is not straight forwards. There are financial considerations, how will assets, saving and property be split. Who will children live with, who gets the dog or cat. What do you tell friends and family.

If it is break then the next step may to work with a mediator.

Moving Forwards

A couple might decide to look at the relationship to determine if the rupture can be repaired. Can they still have a future together.

Just picking up the pieces risks the same cycle being repeated at a later date as similar situations and relational difficulties arise. This is when couples counselling helps both people to explore their feelings about the relationship and each other.

An important part of recovery is for both partners to look as what was and what was not happening in the months or even years leading up to the relationship. The relationship is co-created in that both people have an influence on each other and the quality of day to day experiences.

With emotions often running high working with a qualified relationship counsellor can help managing, making sense of and sharing feelings.


What is the motivation to work on a relationship? For the wounded person motivation may be low requiring the person who had the secondary relationship to prove their recommitment to the relationship. Sometimes it is the other way round; prove to me why I shouldn’t leave you for someone else.

A frequent position is one person wants to improve and the other is unsure and is going to make a decision during the course of couples counselling.

At this early stage a couple are looking at the possibility of rescuing a damaged relationship. Can it be rebuilt better and stronger than it was before?

The next stage is to look for and engage with a couple’s therapist to help you work on your relationship.