Let’s be clear. If you ask me, “How long does affair recovery take?” I will not be the therapist that tells you how long you and your spouse should be taking to heal.
Instead, I’ll provide you with tools to make an educated estimate. Why? Our guidance is based on years of experience working with couples in the aftermath of infidelity. As we understand it, healing is subjective.
Does Time Heal All Wounds?
Also, other factors, like the following help: your ability to handle conflict, your body’s reaction to trauma and how you recover from trauma,, your support system, and more.
Because we will not be able to cover everything in this post, let’s go over the most valuable information to know as you recover.
Why Do Therapists Say Affair Recovery Takes “X” amount of Time?
As you may know, we interview couples interested in joining our coaching programs. This gives us access to their experience prior to trying to fix things with us. Throughout the years and amid hundreds of interviews, I’ve noticed many couples come to us not only in the aftermath of infidelity but also in the aftermath of unhelpful therapy.
Some of these couples have heard that they’re not healing fast or slow enough. Many couples were told that affair recovery takes “X“ amount of months or years to recover. Of course, this only serves to frustrate couples further, thinking that they may not be cut out for healing.
Please hear us! There is no set time for affair recovery. However, there can be a period of healing. During this time, you and your spouse will take specific steps towards healing. Even better, this period is not even that long. Most of it can take anywhere between 8-10 weeks. Additionally, healing not only depends on what you do, it also depends on other key variables.
Are you ready to learn more?
Exploring the Post-Affair Healing Periods & Variables
As a practicing affair recovery therapist, I’ve seen a range of reactions. I’ve seen couples recover after a few weeks. I’ve also seen others stay stuck and unable to move even a step forward, years after the revelation.
Is there an average healing time? Possibly, but it is likely that such a time period would be irrelevant to you. So, to gain some clarity without a rigid time limitation, it’s important to combine healing periods with personal variables.
In other words, a one-dimensional outlook won’t work. Healing, betrayal, and relationships are not one-dimensional. Instead, let’s look through a multi-dimensional lens. We’ll start with the healing periods.
Unlike the healing phases (rebalancing, reconnecting, restarting) these are bigger chunks of time. The four healing periods are those most couples can expect to experience if they choose to stay together.
4 Primary Healing Periods Following Infidelity
- Immediate Aftermath – This is the period from revelation day forward.
- In Between – This is the time spent moving away from crisis mode toward the option to move on. This time may be short or prolonged. Also, this is where most active healing happens:
- Reconnecting begins.
- Restarting or thinking about the future occurs.
- Post Healing – During this period, couples start experiencing the future of their relationship.
- New Normal – Infidelity is processed, stored, and does not hover over the relationship. The couple does not discuss it often.
Couples Go Through These Periods at Different Speeds.
Healing speeds up or slows down due to the following variables:
- Action. This refers to steps taken to heal the relationship and each other.
- Expectations. These are the expectations that you have about healing.
- Psyche. This refers to each partner’s personality structure, character, resilience, self-esteem, defense mechanisms, and respective childhood experiences.
- Ability to Heal from Trauma. This is how the body reacts and stores trauma.
- Commitment. This refers to a couple’s dedication to the relationship and the healing process.
- Ability to Accept Influence. This deals with how well you are influenced by your partner and/or a therapist.
Each Couple is a Work in Progress..with Its Own Affair Recovery Timeline
A couple we worked with is a good example. They came to us 4 months after their “ D-Day”. However, they were still very much in crisis mode. So, regardless of the time passed, this still put them in the immediate aftermath period.
In terms of this couple’s variables: both partners were ready to take action to heal and regain trust. Yet, their expectations differed regarding the healing process we worked on in our program.
Healing Happens When We Handle Conflict Instead of Avoid It
In the case of the aforementioned couple, the hurt partner’s spouse expected her to move on and spend less time and energy discussing and agonizing over the infidelity. We helped him understand that, instead of seeing those moments as repeatedly stepping backward, they can both see them as opportunities to heal.
In terms of their psyche, this couple was extremely open and ready to accept change. This allowed for some key shifts in their relationship:
- One spouse remained stuck, held back by old defense mechanisms they learned in childhood. We helped this spouse release those responses to allow for more vulnerability. Making those changes transformed the couple’s ability to reconnect and heal one another.
- The hurt partner’s ability to heal from trauma needed support as well. Thus, we added more work around that. This, in turn, transformed her ability to feel safe and accepted. In terms of commitment, both partners were willing to stay together and make their relationship work. This allowed them to be there for each other as needed.
- Lastly, as mentioned before, both partners were open to accepting change and influence. Yet, they were not able to accept much change and influence from each other. We needed them to improve this.
Why? Because they needed to reconnect to better express and hear each other’s pain. Then, they could handle the conflicts of the healing. Fortunately, within one coaching session, this started to improve for them as well.
All told, this couple’s initial healing period with us took 10 weeks.
However, if you add the 4 months they worked on healing before working with us, it took a little over 6 months to get to the post-healing period. At that point, we suggested our maintenance plan. This afforded them at least two more months to complete the post-healing period. Overall, for this specific couple, healing their relationship took a little over 8 months.
Do You Relate to Parts of That Couple’s Journey?
You are not alone. Many people can relate to this specific case. Yet, even if your story and circumstances are different, that’s perfectly okay.
Just know that the next time someone insists it takes 6 months for post-affair healing, their statement is one-dimensional. It doesn’t begin to describe the reality of complex relationships.
So, How Do You Know How Long YOUR Affair Recovery Should Take?
In short, it depends.
In your specific case, let’s see how you can determine a clearer answer:
- Determine how far along you’re into the healing period.
- Determine the variables as they pertain to you and your spouse as you recover.
- The combination of the two hints at the length of your healing. The rule to go by? The further along you are in the healing period and the better you are with the different variables, the quicker you can expect to fully heal and move on.
Can you see now that giving a specific time frame for healing can be irrelevant? Your relationship deserves the right amount of time and attention for your relationship.
I hope this discussion was helpful to you. I know I didn’t make things easy by not giving you a set number of weeks or months for your affair recovery. However, with the information above, I am confident you are now more equipped to make your own estimate.
Finally, do you and your partner need a guide? Please schedule a free consultation with us. We can determine exactly how to help you create a loving, trusting relationship. Please visit here to schedule a consultation to meet with me for an in-depth conversation about your relationship experience.
Take Action – Let Us Help You.
Being our Infidelity Recovery Program
Thank you for taking the time to read this post! If you are in need of support, we would be happy to help repair your relationship! Please consider a 45-minute free consultation to see if our infidelity recovery program can help you heal and regain trust. We offer support from our Miami, FL-based counseling practice. To start your recovery journey, please follow these simple steps:
- Visit here to pick a time.
- Meet with us for an in-depth conversation via Zoom.
- Start having your pain heard, and overcome infidelity!
Other Services Offered with Relationship Experts by Idit Sharoni
Our infidelity recovery coaching program isn’t the only service offered at our Miami FL-based counseling practice. Other therapy services our team offers include affair counseling, communication counseling, and online therapy. For more useful relationship information, please visit my podcast.