Will and Taylor have been going to therapy in order to help them heal from Taylor’s affair and in turn strengthen their marriage. Taylor has been patient and empathetic with Will’s questions while he has worked to understand the timeline of her affair, and she has expressed genuine remorse for her actions. Will has done his own internal work and found it possible to forgive her and the two have been working with a therapist to discuss ways to move forward and improve their relationship–focusing on things like rebuilding trust, recognizing triggers and working together to minimize Will’s trauma responses. They are now able to communicate better and are starting to feel like themselves regaining the ability to once again connect emotionally.
After all the work they’ve done in the healing process so far, they now feel ready to move onto the third phase.
This third and final phase is known as the Attachment phase. As its name implies, during this phase, couples strengthen their bond, fondness, and attachment to one another. This phase is what takes them from being a good, functioning couple to a couple that is happy and secure with one another. During this phase, couples get to strengthen their friendship and their ability to have fun together. Getting the chance to reconnect through dates, for instance, can make couples feel close in a way that is fun.
By the time couples start to do work in this phase, they have given themselves time and space to de-escalate their initial reactions during the Atonement phase and have learned new habits for creating connection in the Attunement phase. The Attachment is the final step and gives the couple the skills to enjoy each other and bring back their total trust and commitment to one another.
Another aspect of the Attachment phase is improving sexual intimacy. This can feel like a big deal to the injured partner after an affair. If both partners are ready to re-connect in this way, it can really feel like the final step of healing. However, it is important for both partners to continue open, honest, and empathetic conversation throughout this Attachment phase. Enjoying each other’s company by solidifying friendship and sexual intimacy is fun, but the fun comes when both people are ready for it.
This is the chance to fall in love with your partner all over again. It’s exciting to do!
When they began this phase, Will and Taylor decided to recreate their first date. Then, when that went well, they planned a weekend trip away together so they could give themselves more time & space to focus on rejuvenating and rebuilding their relationship. They talked together in a playful way, enjoyed seeing new things together, and felt a lot more physically affectionate for each other than they had in a while – even before the affair ever started!
In this phase, Will & Taylor used their therapy sessions and the tools they used in those sessions to talk about ways to have fun together and ways to improve their sexual intimacy. They used their new skills in communicating to have conversations that left them feeling more connected. While Will sometimes still has memories of the affair, he knows that he can rely on Taylor and their re-strengthened relationship to soothe his fears. He knows that he can trust her.
They were grateful that they were able to give their relationship a second chance. They were able to realize that the love they have for each other is stronger than any obstacle that could come their way.
This blog post was brought to you by couples therapy specialist Emma Abel.