What is a summary of After the Affair by Dr. Janis Abrahms Spring?

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Tamara K. H. | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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Dr. Janis Abrahms Spring, a psychologist with more than 35 years of experience, wrote After the Affair to help couples see affairs as a wake-up call. Dr. Spring assures couples that relationships can continue after affairs so long as they resolve the issues which led to the affair and build a stronger, more intimate relationship.

The first section of the book is aimed at explaining the emotions experienced once an affair is made known, the emotions and their effects endured by both the partner who was hurt and the partner who was perfidious.

Dr. Spring uses the second section of the book to help the couple interact after the affair is made known. In particular, she gives advice for helping the couple decide if they should stay in the relationship. She is upfront about our misguided ideas about love, such as the fact that, when we fall in love, we "idealize the other person," making it challenging for the long-term partner to actually be the person we envision (p. 75). She further provides a list of questions the couple faces, such as, "Are my reasons for staying good enough?," and helps them address each concern.

The final section of the book covers how to actually recover from the affair and rebuild the relationship. In this section, she talks about how the couple can use the affair as a learning experience, how to restore trust, ways to talk about the affair that won't re-open healing wounds, and how to approach restoring the couple's sexual relationship. She ends the book by giving advice on how to forgive each other by first listing all of the common, false assumptions about forgiveness and then explaining the truth about the forgiving process, particularly that it is a continuing process with no end point.

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