Written by: Courtney Kershaw.
People seem to love home makeover shows. Entire networks are dedicated to rebuilding, re-styling, and re-designing homes from the ground up. And what’s the most exciting part?
Is it the drama of how the designers overcome unexpected obstacles?
Is it seeing them find that one accent piece that makes all the difference in a room?
Is it the big reveal at the end when you see a transformation you couldn’t have imagined?
Maybe it’s a little bit of everything. You need all those parts to make the house come together in the end. But in so many episodes you start with something that’s falling apart. Crumbling walls, plumbing leaks, holes in the floor…and you think, “How on earth are they going to make something of this?”
When a couple encounters infidelity, it can often feel like the relationship is about to come crumbling down.
A tricky thing about infidelity is that it has many forms. It can be emotional, physical, mental, or a little bit of everything. So, when infidelity occurs and a couple chooses to try to repair and rebuild the relationship, they may be looking around at the wreckage and asking themselves, “How on earth are we going to make something of this?”
It starts with tearing down. Tearing down the parts that aren’t working, the pieces that are damaged and crumbling, and starting from the studs. When you see the frame of the house (i.e. the relationship) for the first time in years, you see what structure you’re working with. You may even find that the foundation is stronger than you ever realized, because all you’ve been able to see for years are the holes in the floor.
Since every couple is different and has their own strengths, challenges, and nuances, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to repairing a relationship. But there are some consistent themes that arise in the process of repairing—the foundation. These are the fundamental parts of the relationship that may also be the hardest to believe.
Some of the hardest things to believe:
- They still love me. One of the most difficult things for couples to accept is that there can be love in the relationship even when there is infidelity.
- Trust can be re-built. Rebuilding trust is the cornerstone of repairing a relationship and it is built in a combination of ways; through words, actions, attitudes, and perhaps most of all…time.
- We will get through this. When you are in the thick of it, believing things can get better may feel like an impossible task. Trying to repair a relationship in the middle of devastation can feel kind of like putting a new coat of paint on a crumbling house. Take it one piece at a time.
Love, trust, and faith in the future are cornerstones of repairing a relationship, and they all take time. The damages of infidelity won’t be “made over” in a 60 minute episode with a big grand reveal at the end. But with time and dedication, a couple may find that they cherish the relationship they were able to rebuild.
Comparing infidelity to a home makeover may sound flippant, because when you are experiencing it first-hand it doesn’t feel like a catchy metaphor—it feels like your world is collapsing.
And having someone who can help hold the seriousness of the situation can be incredibly important. It’s also important to feel like there is hope. So maybe a silly metaphor won’t change anything. But maybe with time, trust, and support, you’ll rebuild something amazing in your relationship.
And maybe once you tear down the old walls, rip up the old carpet, and build something new in its place – you will find that what you are building instead is stronger than it was before.
For more information on individual therapy, visit: https://coloradocouples.com/infidelity-therapy/