The Importance of Seeking the Right Kind of Help

My husband’s affair was disclosed to me on a Friday, and on the following Tuesday, we were tucked into a cozy loveseat in the office of a local therapist recommended by our pastor.  I was desperate for someone to tell me we could make it through this wasteland my life had become since the nuclear revelation of D-Day.  The counselor asked us in a very soothing and pleasant voice why we were in his office that day.  My husband informed him that we were having marital difficulties and then confessed to the therapist that he had been having an affair. This gentleman was a kind-hearted soul who clearly meant well when he proceeded to turn to me and ask me if I had forgiven my husband.

Four days had passed since my husband called me on his way to work to tell me he had met his soulmate (who was, unbeknownst to me, not me) and was leaving me for her.  At the time of disclosure, I had some strong suspicions that things were not right between us, but I was in total and utter denial that my husband could be capable of infidelity, deception, or betrayal.  To say I was in shock, sitting there that day, on that therapist’s loveseat, was an understatement of massive proportion.  I may have nodded.  I think I even mumbled something about thinking I had forgiven him as much as I could. In my mind, all I could think was that I wasn’t even sure what was happening to me, much less if I was capable of forgiveness. 

I’ve learned the hard way that even well -meaning therapists can cause more damage and confusion than good if they don’t have the needed experience and expertise.  Our first therapist never once asked about our timeline of disclosure or our plan for the 30-day trial recovery that my husband and I had agreed upon. He did counsel me that men have affairs because their wives don’t satisfy them in bed and that I had caused pain in my husband’s life that pushed him into the affair.  These faux pearls of wisdom have since been discredited by experts I trust in the area of infidelity recovery, but it took some work to undo the damage done by that guidance.

I know enough now to understand that we were in a crazily precarious situation, made worse by a counselor who lacked knowledge about infidelity recovery.   My deepest regret about how we handled things in the early days and weeks following disclosure is not seeking expert advice sooner.  We did not discover the resources here at Affair Recovery until we were four months past D-Day. I read every free resource I could find and watched every blog video that was posted.  Then I signed us up for EMS Weekend. It was such a relief to know we weren’t alone.  To know I wasn’t having an abnormal grief process because I hadn’t been able to move past my hurt and anger after four months like my therapist was suggesting. Following that, we started going to a counselor that specializes in infidelity recovery.  I don’t feel that my husband and I started making significant progress in recovery until we sought this specific expertise.

Samuel's blog about the importance of getting the right kind of help was an eye-opener for me, and I encourage you to read that one as well. Affair Recovery has so many resources available to you, and I encourage you to read and watch as many of them as you can, take the free 7-day Bootcamp class, sign up for a class or an EMS Weekend. Educate yourself about your circumstances. Find a counselor with specific expertise.  Be your own advocate.  Don’t tell yourself it takes too much time to excuse you from doing the work. 

I think about all of you who are reeling from disclosure, sitting on that metaphorical loveseat, anxiously looking for some hope and some guidance. I want to tell you to have courage, there is hope. The guidance you need is available but you are going to have to embrace the process of finding it. You are going to have to be persistent, tenacious, and dedicated to your own recovery. You will definitely have to sacrifice time and you might even have to sacrifice money to get the right help, but in the end, it will be worth it.

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