Victims of infidelity need counseling; as does their spouse, and sometimes their children. Too often, the image of infidelity is a wounded spouse, devastated, and humiliated; huddling in the fetal position sobbing like a child. This is obviously a probability, but it is hardly indicative of all the victims of a cheating spouse.

Damage all around

The image of the wounded spouse is the first to come to mind since many people mistakenly see the betrayed spouse as the only victim of the affair. The reality is every member of the family will eventually be affected and need counseling. Even a small child will grow up with the realization that something bad happened between mommy and daddy and feel insecure about the family and relationships in general. Even the offending party will struggle, regardless if the marriage is saved or especially if they try to move on to another relationship.

Blame continues to pour salt on the unhealing wounds of infidelity. A wounded spouse and even children may try to find solace in self-blame; endless questions of “What did I do wrong?” and “What could I have done better?” Others may search for justification by pointing an accusing finger at another person or even unavoidable circumstances. None of these tactics help.

Time does not heal all wounds

The misnomer that time will solve severe emotional trauma is particularly true in the case of infidelity. Each person involved needs to come to certain understandings right away as well as develop a plan on how to best move forward. A good counselor can guide individuals according to their needs and help them to identify and deal with their faulty thinking.

Countless cases show that people don’t fare well by trying to figure out the labyrinth of emotions caused by an affair. It often takes years to understand all the dynamics of such a cataclysmic event. By involving a professional, you may forego years of needless suffering and questioning. Children can be particularly at risk as they pass through adolescence with distorted ideas about love, honesty, and relationships.

Learning how to trust

Trust may be the hardest attribute to regain while dealing with the aftermath of infidelity. Trust in others often isn’t as difficult for some to deal with compared to learning to trust in themselves. Learning to trust yourself comes after you learn to be completely honest with yourself, not in a self-deprecating approach but a frank and dispassionate assessment of your own reality.

Often the unfaithful partner has the most difficult time with trust. They see any new partner through their own eyes, not able to fully trust in their new partner’s fidelity. They also may not be able to completely trust in their own decisions and judgment. “How long will this relationship last?” is a question on the tip of their brain nearly every day. Marriage counseling for the new relationship may be its only salvation.

Moving forward

Nothing creates an emotional minefield quite like infidelity. Its prevalence belies the emotional toll it extracts from its victims. The feeling of being alone is often overwhelming. Infidelity counseling may be the only way to successfully recover and move forward.