When you discover your spouse has had an affair it is absolutely devastating. Your mind spins. You rage against how your spouse could betray you and your family. You are dying for some support and empathy. Who do you speak with? Often people turn to those in their lives who are supposed to have their backs - their friends and family.
They will frequently tell you all of the things you *want* to hear. 'You deserve better.' 'How dare they lie to you and take advantage of you like that?' 'Your spouse is selfish and self-absorbed and they can't get away with this!'
They can't stand to see you hurting, and they mean well. However, this often backfires and can create more damage. They want to be supportive, but they do not get the full picture of your marriage. And while they will cheer you on, they can also join in on beating up your partner. This process is even more common and painful when an affair has happened in a marriage. Further pain and confusion can happen when, after they have been on 'your side' of the situation, you try and reconcile and repair your marriage. They may tell you that you are being manipulated by your spouse and they will not stand by and watch you get lied to again. 'Once a cheater, always a cheater!'
Now that you have decided to save your marriage, they are no longer a confidant against your spouse. Their 'betrayal' becomes another thing that you have to navigate, when all you want to do is protect and rebuild your relationship. While it is natural to seek council and to share your pain with those that know you and care about you, it's also important that they understand what you need from them. You need their support, but it is very important that you don't look for them to take sides.
This is why you should instead share your specific pain with a marriage friendly counselor. It is important to understand that it is extremely difficult to change your loved one's minds about your spouse after an affair. The picture they had of your marriage has changed, and they may feel betrayed by that. It may take them a much longer time to begin to trust your spouse again once they know their intentions are sincere.
A marriage-friendly counselor will help guide you and your spouse down the path of healing from infidelity. They help to rebuild your marriage after an affair and give you both strategies to reconnect. This counselor will give you objective information to help you and your spouse heal after an affair has happened without advocating for one partner or the other. They are there to advocate for your marriage.