Sam and Terry—Healing from an Affair Dr. Carol Ann Conrad, EdD
Terry was heartbroken when Sam left her for another woman. Sam had a short affair and realized that leaving his wife and children was a huge mistake. They came to see me in order to repair their broken relationship. Sam and Terry at one time had a strong and loving relationship that had been worn away because of recent painful stressors in their life. In session and with my help, Sam was able to identify how he felt he wasn’t ever able to get it right for Terry, and the resentment that built as he felt she was controlling him. With my support and guidance Sam shared that he wanted so much to please her and feared he would disappoint her and be seen as “weak” if he told her what he needed. His fear had turned to anger and belief that Terry never really loved him. He told of how he fell into a trap with someone else from work because it felt like she listened to him, but that he really only wanted Terry. Terry was able to share how painful it was to feel Sam rapidly distancing from their relationship and that she was left to manage things all by herself, which left her hurt and angry. Sam was able to hear and understand her pain, her pain was hurtful to him, especially that he had been the one to cause her such horrific pain.
After several sessions, Terry told Sam that she wanted to forgive him, but was holding back, afraid of losing him again. I was able to help Terry ask for what she needed from Sam, to have some kind of reassurance that he was really with her again. Sam was then able to respond that he felt he had left her in his head because he was hurt and angry, but he never left her in his heart. She was always a part of him and even though a part of him tried, he couldn’t leave her, he loved her too much. He wanted to come home and be with her again and would be especially careful to talk about his needs. As they were both able to relax, set down their fears and walls, their relationship began to recover and heal.
All stories are from real couples who have given permission to have their stories written. Names and identifying information have been changed to protect confidentiality.