Three phases of recovery after an affair

Tammy Nelson, PhD takes us through the phases of recovery when dealing with a partner's infidelity
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Three phases of recovery after an affair

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There are really three phases of recovery after an affair. The first is the crisis phase, and that is where everything is thrown into chaos sometimes. It can feel like you've just been in a train wreck. So it takes time to recover in that phase. And sometimes you might think that you're further along in the process and then something will trigger you. You'll find out new information about the affair or you'll have a memory or you'll try to push yourself into what you think is a normal routine and find that you can't do it, and that might trigger those chaotic crisis feelings. But that's only the initial phase. That will actually pass. But you and your partner won't be at the same phase at the same time. The person that cheated has known about the affair for much longer than you. They've already gotten through those phases. And they've decided the affair is over, and they're ready to move on and start working on the marriage again. You just found out about the affair. This is just starting for you. You're not going to be at the same phase of recovery. The next phase of recovery is the insight phase, where you both have to work on figuring out why this happened, how you got to this place in the relationship, and what the meaning is of the affair. Does it mean that the relationship really is over and it's not going to work? Or does it mean that you were trying to figure out how to make up for lost time from when you were a teenager and never had a date? Or does it mean like a lot of affairs that this was an affair of opportunity? You had the opportunity. You resisted it for a long time. And then in a moment of weakness, you took advantage of something that now you regret. And in the third phase of recovery, you'll find that a lot of those details of the affair are put into place in your mind and in both of your heads you sort of understand how you got to this place. And you've made a decision to stay together and move on to create a new monogamy agreement going forward. And that's the vision phase. The place in your relationship where you decide, it's time to work on our erotic relationship. It's time to create a vision of our new monogamy going forward. It's time to create a new life. Even though the affair happened, it might even make us stronger than we have ever been before.

Tammy Nelson, PhD takes us through the phases of recovery when dealing with a partner's infidelity

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Tammy Nelson, PhD

Psychotherapist & Relationship Expert

Tammy Nelson PhD is the author of several books including, “Getting the Sex You Want; Shed Your Inhibitions and Reach New Heights of Passion Together”  (2008) and  “What’s Eating You? A Workbook for Anorexia and Bulimia (2004)” and her latest  book “The New Monogamy; Redefining Your Relationship After Infidelity” (January 2013) is receiving critical acclaim.  She has been a featured expert in New York Times, Washington Post, Self,  Glamour Magazine, Cosmopolitan, Redbook, MSNBC,  Shape, Men’s Health, Women’s Health Woman’s Day, Women’s Health, and a source in Time Magazine. She writes for the Huffington Post, YourTango and can be followed on her blog www.drtammynelson.com/blog/.

Tammy Nelson is a Board Certified Sexologist, a Certified Sex Therapist and an Imago Relationship Therapist.  She is an international speaker and a licensed psychotherapist in private practice with over 25 years of experience working with individuals and couples.  She travels and lectures internationally on her quest for global relational change.

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