The Family Afterward: The Ongoing Impact of an Affair on the Family

The Family Afterward: The Ongoing Impact of an Affair on the Family

After an affair has been revealed, the 16 year old adult daughter never wants to speak with her father again. The 30 yr old adult son wants to “fight it” out with his dad; the 14 yr old teenage daughter speaks with refusal and indignation to her mother; Holiday/family gatherings of late have been very strained and uncomfortable. The already other-imposed confines of Covid-19’s impact on traditional holiday gatherings now may be forever uncomfortable and miserable. 

In the unfolding days and months of the 2020 Pandemic, the interviews I have had with couples coping with the ravage of an affair have revealed one startling discovery: the impact of a marital/couple affair, when known to the family, may have unprecedented and profound negative effects on the family system.

What are the immediate effects as well as the lingering effects on the family? Are they repairable? Should the family members be told of the affair? Should the details be revealed? If the affair has been revealed, how does one help the family recover? Meaningful answers to these questions are complex, and unique to each couple and their family situation.

The one question, perhaps the most sustaining and surest question, is Can the pain be healed? Ester Perel, in her work with post-affair recovery, says that the survival of the family rests on the quality of the emotional connection between the couple.  Defining and cultivating and sustaining the quality of “emotional connection” is enhanced by working with the both the THE BETRAYER OF TRUST andTHE BETRAYED, otherwise defined as the THE UNFAITHFUL PARTNER and the HURT PARTNER.

If you have experienced a recent or past infidelity discretion in your relationship, seeking marriage counseling or couples counseling with a professional who specializes in helping couples successfully rebuild , repair, and strengthen the emotional connection in their relationship can be extraordinarily beneficial for help in understanding and coping with the emotional and psychological tension in the family. 

Call Debra Neal LCPC

(816 )805-0732