What Is Infidelity Therapy?
Infidelity, defined as “the action or state of being unfaithful to a spouse or other sexual partner” can severely strain the ties that bind a relationship, often leaving one partner feeling alone, betrayed, devastated, jealous, confused, and aggravated at both the situation and with their unfaithful partner. Commonly referred to as “affairs,” bouts of infidelity often lead to resentment, distrust and ultimately divorce or a fracturing of a non-marital relationship.
In the United States, 99-percent of adults expect sexual monogamy in their relationship although studies suggest that some 20-percent will engage in extramarital sex at some point during the marriage. All relationships require feelings of safety and security, as well as physical and emotional intimacy and companionship. When one party in a relationship does something to damage these bonds, the results are often disastrous.
Adultery doesn’t necessarily occur due to dissatisfaction with the current relationship. Often times, other factors – such as sex addiction, substance abuse or personal gratification – lead to one partner seeking a new sexual experience or a sort of ego boost by seeking personal gratification.
Some common reasons for infidelity include:
- Low self-esteem
- Dissatisfaction with current relationship
- A lack of emotional or physical intimacy
- Sex addiction
- Avoidance of household or relationship problems
- Substance abuse
Statistically, men are almost 80-percent more likely to have engaged in an extra-marital affair and certain factors – such as living in a larger city – can increase the percentage even more (up to 50-percent in some cases). The young (18-30) are twice as likely to engage in infidelity as those that are over the age of 50. Some researchers also point out that the idea of monogamy is not a common one in the natural world, yet we, as humans, still aspire to such ideals, which may be going against our very own DNA. No matter what your views on infidelity, there’s no denying the devastating effects by which it brings.
Those that recover from infidelity often cite strong religious values, a healthy support system, and seeking therapy before it becomes a recurring issue.
Methods Used in Infidelity Therapy
Infidelity therapy is typically a sort of “talk” therapy in which both parties in the relationship are able to air their grievances in a safe and productive environment with a trained therapist. The therapist is aiming to pinpoint potential pain points in the relationship and offer healthy and constructive ways in which both parties may work together in order to fix them.
During therapy, the therapist may discover that one or both parties has underlying psychological issues, or dependencies that may need attention in order to keep the therapy on course, and minimize the risk of additional instances of infidelity. Known issues, such as sex addiction, substance abuse, low self-esteem or depression often lead to “acting out” in unhealthy ways, with infidelity being one of them. If infidelity is a symptom of one of these root causes, the therapist will often utilize a combination of therapies in order to treat the root of the problem, as well as working with both parties to ease back into a normal, and happy marital life.
Why Hire a Therapist?
While infidelity therapy doesn’t typically involve prescription or immediate medical attention, it’s not often something that can be overcome without the help of a professional. Even if one party forgives the other and the other party promises that it will never happen again – and it doesn’t happen again – there are often deep rooted scars as well as a lack of trust or confidence that will produce new issues down the road. Finding a therapist that will help you to deal with these issues constructively, while working to heal your marriage is often the difference between actual forgiveness and divorce – or a bad marriage.
What to Look For In a Therapist
Your therapist should be someone that you and your spouse feel comfortable sharing intimate details with, as well as someone that you believe is truly a neutral party in helping to regain balance in your relationship. If one party feels slighted, or as if they are the “bad guy” it often negates any positive impact that you would typically expect while partaking in couples counseling. Find a therapist that you can both agree can work for you, even if it means talking to many therapists until you can settle on the one best for you and your spouse.