Do You And Your Partner Need Help Repairing Broken Trust?Affairs Counseling

Has your partner been emotionally or physically intimate with someone else, without your knowledge or consent?

Do you want to trust them again, but feel hurt, confused and obsessed with the details of what happened? Maybe your relationship values categorize possessiveness and jealousy as harmful traits—in fact, you’ve questioned the very concept of monogamy—but now that you’ve been lied to, you feel hurt, angry and confused. Perhaps you wonder where you went wrong and worry that your partner has lost their love and lust for you.

Torn between your beliefs about monogamy and your feelings of anger and despair, do wish you knew what you wanted, and where to go from here?

Have you crossed a boundary in your relationship?

Maybe you didn’t think you were doing anything wrong, but now it’s clear that you’ve wounded the person that you love. Or, maybe you knew that you were breaking your partner’s trust, but you didn’t—and don’t—know how to express your wants and needs. Although you deeply value your relationship, you also value your individual privacy and freedom. Still, you feel guilt, ashamed and stuck.

Would you like to find a way to stay together in a healthy, mutually satisfying way?

Regardless of your role in the betrayal…

Do you want to restore trust in your relationship? Do you wish you could clear away blame and judgement, clarify your beliefs about relationships and honestly discuss your feelings, expectations and needs?

The Truth Is, Lifelong Monogamy Is Challenging—And Rare

When it seems your partnership has been tested by extra-relational attraction or sex, it’s completely understandable to feel hurt and confused. You might also be criticizing yourself and your partner, wondering if this means that you aren’t cut out for love, or that your relationship is beyond repair. After all, happy, caring couples never look elsewhere, right?

Not quite. One look at real-life human behavior makes it clear that, despite what our moralistic culture might say, lifelong monogamy is not actually the norm. People go through break-ups and divorce. They feel attracted to their friends, celebrities and strangers walking down the street. Even when relationships are wonderfully happy, affairs still occur.

To make matters more complicated, what constitutes “cheating” is neither universally nor clearly defined. Because monogamy is culturally mandated and assumed, few partners discuss what monogamy actually means for them. What seems flirty and innocent to one partner may look like betrayal to the other. A short, one-time fling might have a different impact than a prolonged, perhaps emotional, affair. And, when partners have different ideas about secrecy vs. privacy in a relationship, they likely also have different perspectives on what counts as a lie.

That said, no matter what you believe about monogamy, betrayal can be extremely painful. If your boundaries have been crossed, it’s okay to need time to process what happened. If you’ve done the boundary crossing, it’s normal to feel confused and guilty, especially as you see your partner’s hurt. And, it’s important for both partners to understand what these feelings might reveal about your needs.

Too many therapists still unfairly treat affairs, flings and dalliances as symptoms of failure. Others are rethinking what it means to look outside of a monogamous relationship. For example, couples therapist and writer Esther Perel is famous for discussing affairs not as relationship enders, but as opportunities for intimacy, discovery and growth.

I agree. As a pioneer in the field of relationship and sex therapy, I have spent nearly 50 years helping couples negotiate their ground rules, share their desires and rediscover a sense of mystique. You, too, can move forward into a stronger, more fulfilling relationship. 

With Shame- And Blame-Free Affair Recovery Counseling, You And Your Partner Can Reconnect And Rebuild  

I take a nontraditional approach to helping people navigate boundary violations in relationships. I don’t assume, blame or shame, and I don’t insist that all is lost. Instead, with honesty and empathy, I help you and your partner understand what this transgression means for you as individuals and as a relationship unit. I help you discover a unique, joyful, loving way to move forward—together.

Grappling with broken trust is not a sign that you are a bad partner in a broken relationship. However, the hurt and guilt you’re experiencing means that something isn’t working. In safe, non-judgmental sessions, I will help you and you partner discover and discuss the factors that have led you here. You can come to understand that neither of you are the helpless victim or the heartless monster—you’re both simply human. The mistakes and misunderstandings of the past don’t have to echo into the future. They can be the catalysts for deep connection and positive change.

For example, perhaps, without realizing it, you and your partner may have had different definitions of “cheating” in a relationship. Therapy offers a productive space for you to have that conversation, which often means exploring what attraction, commitment and sex mean to you. As you gain new insights into one another, you and your partner can set realistic, healthy boundaries that you both agree to honor.

I can also offer practical relationship advice to help you both strike a balance between sensitivity and honesty, and well as secrecy and privacy. No matter how intimate you and your partner are, you are still entitled to your own inner worlds, as well as your own lives. With my support and guidance, you can clarify what you’d like to share and what you’re content to leave a mystery.

Because I offer sex-positive relationship and marriage counseling, I know it’s vital to consider not just emotional connection, but also physical intimacy. Maybe you’ve always had a passionate sex life; or, maybe you were growing increasingly distant even before this broken trust. Regardless, I will help you look beyond the transgression and improve the sexual expression in your relationship. As you learn ways to share fantasies and lower inhibitions, you can find renewed excitement and pleasure with one another.

Even if you’re feeling hurt and distant now, rebuilding trust in a relationship is possible. You don’t have to carry this pain and confusion forever, and you don’t have to live with the burden of shame. You and your partner can create a future that makes you both feel firmly connected and fantastically alive.

You may have questions or concerns about couples and marriage counseling …

I don’t want to feel pressured into opening my relationship or changing our rules.  

While my view of monogamy defies the cultural norm, during therapy, my goal is never to impose my views on you. As we work together, I will encourage you to reflect on your beliefs, sift through any ideas that have been forced on you and come to your own opinion. I’ll help you recognize that it’s okay to change your mind. After all, healthy individuals and couples are dynamic and evolving, not static and stalled. In order to grow, you figure out what’s true for you.

Will you take my partner’s side during affair recovery counseling?

I never take sides, and I don’t suggest separation (though I am more than happy to work with couples who are separated). My goal is to address the problem plaguing your relationship. To achieve that, we all have to work together as a curious, compassionate team.

I’m worried that my relationship is unsalvageable.

Rebuilding trust in a relationship isn’t always easy. But, if you and your partner want to make it work, I believe that you can do it. I suspect that you believe it, too, if only a little. Why else would you be at the bottom of this page?

I also believe that you can do more than “salvage” your relationship. With playfulness, inventiveness, humor and my expert guidance, you can help your relationship thrive.

Create a New Foundation of Trust

Feel free to give me a call at 206-244-8788 or 360-394-4568 to set up an appointment. I’m happy to talk with you about nontraditional affair recovery counseling, as well as answer any questions you have about my practice in Seattle, WA.