Saundra had an affair a year ago. Her husband, Rick, agreed to try to work things out and rebuild trust. This hasn't been as easy or as smooth a process as either of them hoped it would be. They are both willing to keep trying, but are starting to wonder if they need outside help.

“Is it time to see a professional to help us rebuild relationship trust?”

If you and your partner are struggling in the aftermath of an affair, you might be asking yourselves the same question.

It could be that the two of you have tried to sort through each of your feelings and heal after the infidelity, but the mistrust and distance remains between you.

It might also be that one or both of you are resistant to the idea of sharing your personal challenges, feelings and history with a complete stranger! Perhaps you or your mate associates counseling, coaching or therapy with a sense of weakness or some other negative aspect.

Here are a few indicators that might mean it's time for you to seek the help of a professional:

*You and/or your mate feel stuck and your usual patterns and coping strategies aren't working the way you want them to.

*You and/or your partner are at a loss for how best to proceed. You might know that you want to stay together and restore your relationship but feel unequipped to do so.

*You and/or your partner feel drawn to seek outside help. Your gut is pulling you in this direction.

*You and/or your mate is being abusive. Whether it's emotional, physical or sexual abuse, if either of you are being hurt or threatened, it's time to get out, get safe and get professional help.

When you go to a professional for help rebuilding trust in your relationship, you don't necessarily have to go together-- or even at the same time to the same person. (*This is especially the case if abuse is present in your relationship.)

If you know in your gut that counseling or coaching is something you'd like to try but your partner is set against the idea, go ahead and go alone.

There are certainly benefits to meeting together-- or at the same time-- with a professional. But there is also amazing growth that can happen for you individually and even within your relationship if you are the only one going through the sessions.

When Rick asks Saundra to meet with a relationship coach with him, she immediately says no. She feels enough guilt about having an affair, and worries that the coaching sessions will only make her feel worse about herself and her mistakes.

Rick is disappointed by Saundra's initial rejection of his request. But he goes ahead and makes an appointment with a coach for himself. He tells her that he wants to do this for himself and he respects that she is not ready for coaching right now.

After sharing with Saundra what he's working on with the relationship coach, she becomes more interested and less fearful about it.

Saundra accompanies Rick to his third coaching session and has continued on. While it is painful at times, she is grateful for the insights and new skills she is learning.

The close, trusting relationship that both Saundra and Rick want seems more possible now.

How do I pick the best professional for my relationship needs?
Once you've made the decision that it's time for you-- either with your partner or alone-- to seek outside help to rebuild trust and heal after infidelity, you might feel confused and overwhelmed.

There are many professionals offering their assistance to individuals and couples. There are counselors, psychologists, psychiatrists, members of the clergy, coaches and various other therapists.

It is just as important, if not more so, that you find a professional who is a match for what you want and your situation.

In a very general sense, counselors (which can include psychologists, psychiatrists and clergy) come from a more clinical, medical or religious perspective. They are usually trained in more formal institutions.

These types of practitioners often approach relationship issues by focusing on the past, sorting through what brought you to this point. Of course, this is not always the case. Some counselors specialize in working with couples dealing with infidelity.

Coaches, on the other hand, might be just as rigorously educated, but their training tends to be from less formal organizations or institutions.

For the most part, coaches blend various influences of personal growth, medical, psychological and spiritual aspects into their coaching.

Relationship and life coaches often focus with their clients on the present and desired future. Again, there are coaches who find it helpful to explore the past with clients as a way to clear the path to a desired future.

Take the time to interview prospective counselors and coaches you might work with. Develop a list of questions and a clear statement of what you want from your experience.

Use your questions and statement to get a better idea of how well-matched you are with this particular professional.

It takes courage and a willingness to be open, honest and take a certain amount of risk when you decide to seek outside help with your relationship.

You can congratulate yourself (and your partner) for taking such a step.

Now be clear about what you want from your coaching or counseling experience and find a great person to work with to help you move toward the relationship and future you want!

Author's Bio: 

Relationship coaches Susie and Otto Collins, authors of "Should You Stay or Should You Go?" "Relationship Trust" "7 Intimacy Secrets" and "No More Jealousy" are experts at helping people get more of the love they really want.

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