Media Spotlight

A psychological twist on the news.

After Infidelity

Infidelity, or even the possibility of infidelity, is something that every couple needs to deal with at some point. Along with loss of trust, partners admitting extramarital relationships often find their relationships with other family members (including parents and children) to be damaged. Can couples learn to navigate their way to recovery afterward? Read More

Infidelity

I think, for the most part, the article was a pretty good snap shot of the recovery that a couple goes through after infidelity.

I only disagreed with the wording of one part:

"Acknowledging that the partner who has been harmed by the infidelity can share some responsibility for what happened. While not the same as "blaming the victim," accepting that one's own actions may have contributed to the infidelity can be an important part of forgiveness. This can include accepting that the pre-infidelity relationship had flaws which need to be addressed."

It would be more accurate to first say the injured partner can share in responsibility for the state of the marriage prior to the affair.

The way the article is currently worded makes it sound like the choice of the affair by their partner also falls on the shoulders of the injured party. We all have choices to make in life and we all help create the environment of our significant relationships. However, none of us forces or makes our partners do injurious things to us or themselves. You can contribute to the environment but in the end we all own our own choices. That is what I learned from my husbands affair. I learned to own my choices within our marriage and my contribution to our marriage environment but I do not take or share in his choice to have an affair. He had a lot of other options that he didn't entertain.

After the affair we learned, together, what needs to be shared and what is not shared and what needed to change. I think it ended up being a learning and growth opportunity for both of us. Our marriage today doesn't even resemble the one of the past. We love and appreciate each other and understand all of the work that goes into being a unit and yet still have our own individual identity.

We were worth fighting for because that is what we decided together. We have to choose each other everyday.

I agree with your suggested

I agree with your suggested changes. That is the sense that I was trying to convey though I apologize if it was misinterpreted. I have corrected the post.

Thank you for your comments.

Another Branch

Well, this article talks about a positive resolution after the affair. A topic that has been written a lot lately.

However, we all know that there is another path such events could take. That path is where there is no recovery and in extreme case these leads to murder.

There is also the third path. The couples stay together but love? Trust? Intimacy? Forget it!

How many are really are able to take this path of recovery?

And in the first place, is there really the need to recover? Why not just give up? It might sound like a stupid question but I think it is valid. Recovery from an affair is very expensive: monetary, mentally and physically. Not to mention you can't really be sure that the harming party isn't just hoodwinking you pretending to love you and so when in reality they just learn to be more discreet and evasive. Forgiving a cheater puts you in a vulnerable situation. Forgiving a cheater doesn't really pay much. Not to mention 'once a cheater always a cheater' sentiment is practically more true than not. So why forgive?

Infidelity

Everything you say is true, but so is the fact that some people can truly change. Some cheaters, realize that losing their families and friends is unbearable, others realize that starting out in life with a new partner is also unbearable, and others realize that they don't care about anyone but themselves and lose everything and don't apologize for it. My H was a serial cheater, maybe a sex addict...for 8 years he built a network of online profiles, restaurants, research articles, books about lying and not getting caught, you name it. At the same time we were also dealing with our oldest daughter emotional problems that caused havoc in our family, and our other two children. I worked, took the kids to their after school activities, cooked, cleaned, and he....had a JOB, many "dinners" during the week and...was extremely critical of everyone, especially me. Had bad temper and created stupid conflicts that -of course- either ended with him leaving or me feeling even worse about myself. I didn't see the elephant in front of me, I just didn't. Well, towards the end of those years my daughter got a lot better and went to College, and he started changing...I thought it was because he was depressed because of his job, he was eating a lot more, he wasn't AS critical, I felt sorry for him. Then one day he left home in the morning, and left his email account -he had passwords for every single one- OPEN. So I went to a specific date 3 years earlier when a woman had called me and told me about their affair and how they'd met on an online dating site...and I found...so much, so much more...

This was 3 years ago. We did some counseling, but I stayed initially because: 1-He had stopped ALL communication with women 5 months prior and I had full access to everything now, before he even knew -he had a file with all the passwords and I was able to get access to it-, 2- He stopped because he wanted and not because I found out, 3-He never had a relationship, rather short dates with as many women as he could. A lot of email activity, but he saw them only a few times, had sex and then moved on to a different woman....every time. That tells me he never wanted to find someone else, but it also tells me he couldn't stop.

As a result of this: I demanded and eventually commanded respect. He knows that if I ever find out he had even a coffee with another woman and he hides that from me, I will divorce him. He no longer criticizes me or his children, unless is constructive and even then, I am watching. There are no secret passwords anywhere. He wears his wedding ring, every day (this is not a demand, but I told him that if he didn't wear it, I'll sell both of ours, so I don't have to think about it anymore).

He has changed dramatically, he displays emotion, no longer creates conflict, is open to dialogue, is sensitive and has empathy....none of that before. I don't know if these changes are because I gave him a second and last chance, or because he is getting a bit old (55) and realizes what's important in life...I don't know, but it really doesn't matter.

Our marriage is stronger, better, we are much closer....and yet...I can't say I forgave him. I learned to live with this, I will never forget it for sure, but forgiveness? I don't hold a grudge, but I can forgive someone spilling wine on my couch, but this...I don't know that this betrayal of trust is forgivable...again, I can live with this, with not trusting him blindly ever again, and I am relaxing day by day, a bit more every time...and I think I know what letting me relax....is not forgiveness, is the assurance that I will respect my decisions, myself, and I will not stay for a minute, if he ever decides that betraying my trust is the answer to anything he might be feeling. I am a genuine person, and I intend to live my life accordingly. The person I married is not like me, and I learned that after 26 years of marriage...I accept that as long as from now on he tries to be genuine and succeeds every time. If not, then at least I tried to keep my family together (kids don't know the extent of his double life and I hope they never do), and it will time for us to go our separate ways. Life is too short to not live it like we want to. So yes, there is marriage after infidelity, there is recovery, there is trust, but infidelity is not for the lighthearted that's for sure.

Infidelity

A fair and balanced article that covers the healing process after infidelity. Having gone through this situation myself, I can honestly say that my wife and I are better off than before. It took some time to heal, but when I as the victim was willing to admit that I contributing greatly to the infidelity, I learned that the entire process was a tremendous personal growth opportunity for the relationship. The greatest healing factor in our own marriage rested on my ability to see where I lacked in emotionally fulfilling my spouse. In the end, we gained a greater trust and respect for each other. Infidelity can be a good experience for the marriage if we allow it to be. My wife and I hare happier now than ever.

Thank You for Writing "After Infidelity"

As a psychotherapist and marriage counsellor I appreciate you writing this article broadening the typical conversation on affair recovery to include many of the complex variables such as forgiveness, post-traumatic growth, differentiation, level of commitment and individuation. Your choice of words in terms of the betrayed taking responsibility for the state of the marriage is far better than what I've seen to date. An excellent article. Thank you!

I won't deny that this is

I won't deny that this is indeed an interesting article. the author has already qualified his statement regarding the betrayed taking responsibility for state of the marriage prior to.
but let me ask you - appropo something that is prminient in the news as of late...

If I - having been provoked (my perception) were to knock out my wife with one good punch. after she recovers I feel very bad. BUT - I do want her to take her share of responsibility for the state of our marriage prior to my swinbg at her. my point being that she did contribute in some ways to me losing control and becoming violent...and...
Well - do you like my analogy? or could it be that the fact that I hit her has a lot more to do with me...i.e. the state of my personality.....than the state of my marriage...

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Romeo Vitelli, Ph.D. is a psychologist in private practice in Toronto, Canada.

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