To be very clear, I understand how hard things are right now, and I’m here for you. However, if you want me to tell you how long affair recovery takes, you’ll get no deadline from me. Why? Because, no matter how much we wish it were different, recovering after infidelity is not an exact or predictable process. Healing, however, is very possible if you embrace the process effectively. Then, you and your partner can make a clear and educated estimate regarding your relationship recovery timeline.
How do you get started? Use the following tools my team and I gleaned from years of affair recovery counseling.
First, You Need to Know That Time Does Not Heal
Rather than focus on whether time will heal you and your partner, consider how you will respond after the infidelity. This is what actually helps affair recovery happen.
What else makes a difference?
- how well you manage conflict
- your physical response to trauma.
- how you recover from trauma.
- the quality of your support system, etc.
With those elements in mind, let’s consider the most essential parts of affair recovery.
Forget About Timelines, Focus on Your Affair Recovery Plan
Do the following statements sound familiar?
“You aren’t healing fast ( or slow ) enough”.
“It takes ____ amount of months (or years) to recover from infidelity”.
You aren’t alone if you are now frustrated or believe that affair recovery may not be in the cards for you. We get it. We’ve done interviews with many couples interested in joining our relationship coaching programs. A common experience for most is to endure the aftermath of unhelpful therapy in addition to the aftermath of infidelity.
Again, there is no set time for affair recovery! A period of healing is the goal. Taking specific steps toward that goal makes recovering after infidelity possible. Most of those steps range from 8-10 weeks. Just keep in mind that, in addition to what you do, key variables matter too.
What You Need to Know: Post-Affair Healing Periods & Personal Variables
If you still feel hung up on “the average affair recovery time,” consider that I’ve seen the gamut of affair recovery processes as a therapist. Some couples heal within weeks. Some couples stay stuck for several years after the affair comes to light. So, healing time averages don’t really matter. Your relationship is your own. Thus, your recovery process will be your own.
Aim for more clarity with less focus on time constraints. How? Combine healing periods with personal variables. To do this well, consider your recovery from a new perspective. Your previous, one-dimensional outlook isn’t helpful. Relationships, betrayal, and healing are not one-dimensional experiences. A multi-dimensional lens is required now.
To start, consider that most couples staying in their relationship confront four healing periods (not to be confused with the initial healing phases of rebalancing, reconnecting, and restarting, experienced after the affair disclosure):
These 4 Primary Healing Periods Follow Infidelity
- Immediate Aftermath. This is the period directly after the affair’s revelation.
- In Between. This is the sequence of time that moves you from crisis toward moving on together. Short or long, this is the period of most active healing.
- Reconnection begins.
- Restarting (or considering your future) happens.
- Post-Affair Healing. Here, you begin to live out the new future of your relationship.
- New Normal. The affair is processed, stored, and rarely discussed going forward.
Healing Happens Faster Or Slower Based On These Variables
- Action: The steps you take to heal the relationship and each other.
- Expectations: the expectations you have about recovering after infidelity.
- Psyche: your and your partner’s personality structures, character, resilience levels, self-esteem, defense mechanisms, and childhood experiences.
- Trauma Response: how capably your body reacts to, stores, and recovers from trauma.
- Commitment: your combined dedication to your relationship and healing.
- Influenceability: how well you allow yourself to be compelled to change by your partner and/or a therapist.
So, Accept that Your Affair Recovery Timeline is Unique
Your relationship is a work in progress. Take a couple in our practice as an example: both partners scheduled a session 4 months after the affair disclosure. Yet, they had not moved past the crisis stage. Therefore, they were in the immediate aftermath period of recovery. The weeks that had passed were of no consequence.
Two significant variables affected their affair recovery for better and for worse. First, both partners were ready to take action to heal and regain trust. Their willingness to seek help resulted. However, their expectations differed regarding the healing process we worked on in our program.
Recognize That Recovering After Infidelity Will Come With Less Conflict Avoidance & More Communication
Deciding to face their issues, the aforementioned couple learned some key lessons that may help you too.
- First, the betraying spouse learned to release the expectation that his hurt partner should move on and spend less energy agonizing over the infidelity. We helped him understand that her mental and emotional process was not a regression. They were opportunities to heal them both.
- Regarding their psyche, this couple was open and ready to accept change. Thus, some shifts were attainable. Because one partner was emotionally stuck, held back by old childhood defense mechanisms, we helped this spouse release those responses. Improved vulnerability expanded the couple’s ability to reconnect and heal each other.
- The hurt partner’s ability to heal from trauma also required support. Our work together helped transform her ability to feel safe and accepted.
- In terms of commitment, they decided to be there for each other. Both partners were willing to stay together and make their relationship work.
- Again, ultimately, both partners were open to change and influence. Yet, they learned they were less able to accept much change and influence from each other. This was an area of improvement we asked them to lean into.
Why was all of this important? Because reconnecting helps partners better express and hear each other’s pain. Then, the conflicts of their healing become less overwhelming. Fortunately, one coaching session started to turn things around.
Essentially, this couple’s healing period took us about ten weeks. Of course, the four months they worked on healing before to our program extended that healing period to a little over six months. When all was said and done, we suggested our two-month, post-healing maintenance program. Their unique healing timeline? A little over eight months.
How Do You Know How Long Your Affair Recovery Will Take?
If you can relate to our example couple, you are not alone. If you want to know how long your recovery journey will be, you are not alone there either. Just know that if someone insists that affair recovery takes six months, they aren’t taking a multi-dimensional view.
So, can you estimate how long your affair recovery will be? In short, it depends. The following steps can help:
- First, establish how far along you are in the healing period.
- Second, determine which recovery variables pertain to you and your partner.
Your conclusions hint at the length of affair recovery and your healing. The further you are in the healing period, the better you are with the variables, and the quicker you can expect to heal and move forward.
Finally, I hope this post was helpful for you. I hope, too, that you see why nailing down a specific time frame for healing may not be helpful. What matters most? That your relationship receives the right amount of time and attention to heal. I am confident you are now more equipped to make your own estimate.
READY TO START INFIDELITY RECOVERY IN MIAMI, FL, OR ANYWHERE ELSE IN THE UNITED STATES?
Do you and your partner need a guide to get your healing started or restarted? We can determine how to help you create the loving, trusting relationship you both want.
Take the first step towards affair recovery and heal from infidelity. By seeking guidance and support at Relationship Experts through our infidelity recovery coaching program, you and your partner can begin to navigate this delicate journey. Begin with a meaningful step toward a renewed connection and genuine healing. Follow these three simple steps to get started:
- Schedule a free consultation.
- Meet our program specialist and learn all about our Affair Recovery Programs and how we can help.
- Begin healing your relationship!
OTHER SERVICES PROVIDED BY RELATIONSHIP EXPERTS
Our experts at Relationship Experts provide different affair recovery services to help you and your partner heal. Our US based private practice offers different services online throughout the United States, Canada, the UK, and worldwide besides Surviving Infidelity, including Affair Recovery Program, and Remorse Blueprint E-Course. We also offer a free Masterclass for couples looking for the secret to healing from infidelity. Check out our Podcast for more articles like this!
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Click here to read a recent blog post about affair recovery