You’ll also need to decide if you’re going to remain together and work on repairing the relationship or if you’ll dissolve the relationship. People often vacillate between staying or leaving, sometimes many times the same day! Your therapist will provide containment, validate the vacillation and help you, slowly and bit by bit, move beyond vacillation to a decision. This is a tumultuous process and always longer than either of you wish or expect. Sometimes some sessions of Discernment Counselling may be very helpful.
Once the chaos has abated, and depending on the decision you’ve made, ie., to repair or to dissolve, therapy moves into the next stages of understanding the context of the affair, repair and trust rebuilding. You’ll explore the relationship as it was before and at the time of the affair. There will be deep expressions of remorse and regret. Remorse and regret are also part of the first part of therapy; but at this next stage of therapy, remorse and regret are of the kind that move the relationship to a deeper “felt” intimacy and greater connection.
Should you decide to dissolve the relationship, therapy can help here as well. There is still a certain amount of insight and understanding that will benefit each of you as you move from this relationship into the next stage of your life. Certainly children, if children are present, will benefit when their parents have an amicable split.
All this takes a great deal of time, effort, and, for many couples also a good amount of their financial resources (though the financial hit is never as much as the typical divorce or dissolution generally involves). The pain is worth it, as the gain is great!