Unfortunately, in many relationships, infidelity often occurs during a marriage and can put a great strain on any relationship and all the involved individuals. After one’s partner’s affair, the other can feel betrayed, jealous confused and devastated to name but a few. This can lead to the relationship ending and in some cases, the relationship can be repaired through relationship counseling and can in many cases make the relationship become stronger.
Causes for Infidelity
Adults in the United States believe they will have monogamy within their relationships, yet 20% at some point will be caught up in extramarital sex.
These affairs can happen for many reasons, yet the main reason which continually gets mentioned is dissatisfaction, for a relationship to be successful there needs to be feelings of security, stability and both emotional and physical intimacy. If one of these feelings becomes deficient either partner will come to feel dissatisfied, which will lead to infidelity.
This dissatisfaction does not always result in adultery, this can come from one partner having an affair for self-gratification, boosting their ego or a sexual experience which is out of the ordinary.
“I met a woman online. I became infatuated, and my real relationship suffered. I broke down and admitted it to my wife. I wasn’t able to stop until I spoke to a counselor at Couples Counseling of Portland. I felt inferior and needed to boost my ego. My ego is now in check thanks to them and my loving wife.”
- Dominic Lewis (Portland)
Reasons for Infidelity
- Dissatisfaction in the Relationship
- Lack of self-esteem
- As a means of ending the first relationship (exit strategy)
- Sex Addiction
- To avoid personal relationship problems
- Object affair – neglect in a relationship to pursue outside interests.
- Sexual Affair – a partner may have sex outside of the relationship but shows no emotional ties to it. (Women can forgive much easier than men can when this happens.)
- Cyber Affair – an online relationship which never results in a physical meeting, it may just consist of sexts or chat and the possibility of webcam action between the two.
- Emotional Affair – one partner is emotionally connected to a third party, this can cause more relationship problems as they often discuss their relationship problems, although this never forms into a sexual relationship.
Secondary Relationship – this is where there is physical and emotional intimacy and is the most common form of infidelity.
Couples Therapy for Infidelity
How couples recover a relationship which has resulted in infidelity can depend on cultural backgrounds, religious and personal values which surround infidelity. Many couples counseling sessions are used to determine if it is worth continuing the relationship of or not after an affair has taken place.
Therapists can be supportive listeners to both partners as they disclose their emotions which relate to the infidelity, and can help the couples decide on their objectives for their relationship, this can be in favor of maintaining the relationship, or finishing it to save any further heartache.
The therapist can help both partners discover their commitment to the relationship in a way which encourages open evaluations of the weaknesses and strengths of the relationship, if the evaluation shows a pattern which is unhealthy (emotional abuse, codependency) or multiple affairs being disclosed, the therapist during the couple’s therapy may question these events.
Infidelity Recovery Process
If a couple decides to end the relationship, relationship counseling can still be of a benefit to both parties, the partner who committed the adultery can feel regret, while the other partner may feel betrayed and angry.
On the other hand, if the couple decides to make a go of the relationship, the couples therapy process can be a lengthy one, yet there are no set rules of how quick or even if a couple can recover the relationship after an affair.
All throughout the different phases of recovery, be it the trauma phase, issue clarification or addressing their problems, the relationship counseling can help both partners with their communication skills, conflict tolerances, personal responsibility and their honesty capacity.
Every stage of infidelity counseling can help a couple reach a final agreement, and the therapist can act as a human boundary which breaks down the chances of any arguments starting, and the best result can be reached for everyone involved.