Tammy Nelson, Ph.D.
The Crisis Phase
The first phase of affair recovery, the crisis phase, happens when an affair is disclosed or discovered. The initial shock and deep betrayal can rock your confidence, and make you feel like everything you have ever known is collapsing. It is important in this phase of the recovery after an affair to recognize that this is a phase — you will get through this. This really difficult time will pass, and you will move into another stage.
The Understanding (or Insight) Phase
The second phase of affair recovery is the understanding (or insight) phase, and you will recognize when you are entering this phase when you start to look at how the affair happened. This second phase of affair recovery comes after the crisis has ebbed and you are moving past your intense anger and confusion. Although it can be a difficult time, this phase will help you to experience empathy for each other and can give you hope for the future if you decide you want to stay together. You may still not know whether you want to make things work for the long run, but you will be able to do some of the work on your past to find out.
The Vision Phase
When you reach the third phase of affair recovery, the vision phase, it is time to make some decisions about staying together, or letting go and moving on. Here you can decide about whether or not it is possible to create a new future together. To do this, you should be clear about what your new monogamy will look like. In my new book, The New Monogamy, there are distinct steps for developing that new relationship, together.