You’ve done the hard work of the full therapeutic disclosure and the emotional impact letter, and are now arriving at the third and final stop of the therapeutic disclosure process - the emotional restitution letter. This step, like its predecessors, is a challenging but an incredibly healing capstone to this process.
In response to hearing how the sexual infidelity has emotionally impacted their partner, the offending or acting out partner now writes an emotional restitution letter to share. This letter is the attempt to take full responsibility for all of the hurts, pains, and losses caused by their behaviors. So often addiction or infidelity is covered up with excuses, blaming, and denial, leaving the partner feeling disconnected, hurt, confused, and often feeling they are somehow responsible for the infidelity. This letter aims to begin repair by validating the partner’s feelings and being fully accountable to the effects of the infidelity, affirming that the partner is in no way to blame for the infidelity. True healing cannot take place without a genuine acknowledgement of the destruction caused.
The process of taking responsibility for the infidelity, the covering up behaviors, and its impact on the partner and on the relationship is a difficult yet powerful step for both the writer and hearer. For the offending partner, it takes great courage and humility to fully acknowledge and own the behaviors and lies surrounding the infidelity. Acknowledging this behavior requires stepping into empathy, to put yourself in your partner’s shoes. This step toward emotional vulnerability is a huge step in the recovery process.
Many partners experience a sense of relief and connection in hearing their partner reflect their pain. At times hurting partners may hold onto anger to remind their spouse of the pain they caused. Hearing that their partner understands and takes full responsibility for their pain is often the first step in releasing that anger.
The disclosure process is undoubtedly painful, but most couples who journey to the other side feel grateful and glad they did it. If you think you may benefit from a therapeutic disclosure, contact me today so we can walk through this together.