Posts Tagged ‘cheating in a relationship’

3 Things To Remember If You Are Caught In Infidelity

Tuesday, March 21st, 2017

3 Things To Remember If You Are Caught CheatingProbably 1 in 5 couples who come to my office have an infidelity as the presenting problem. This can mean a one night stand, a visit to a massage parlor, an on-line flirtation without actual physical contact or an actual relationship with another person. Whatever the details, this is always an extremely painful experience for both parties with many different emotions.

In my experience, there are many questions to consider in handling this type of situation, but the following 3 themes always come up. These 3 points come from numerous experiences of many different couples in various scenarios. Here are my suggestions to the couple and the partner who has cheated.

  1. Own up to it.

Regardless of what you want to do with your relationship, once the infidelity is discovered, it is important to admit it. In my experience, the person who cheated will go miles denying that it happened or details about it, until the other partner comes up with actual proof. While I understand that no one wants to admit to having a secret relationship with another person, in my experience with many couples, once you are found out just tell the truth and be honest. As hard as it is. Otherwise, what happens is that the injured partner not only feels betrayed but because of lies and denial of the affair and its details until the evidence and proof are right there. There is an even bigger trust issue. It’s hard enough to stomach the affair but all the lies and covering up make this much more difficult to move on from. “Once a liar always a liar.”

  1. Be prepared for questions, many of them and the same ones over and over again.

It is very common in my sessions with couples with an infidelity, the cheating partner complains about the same questions being asked over and over again. There seems to be no end to this “interrogation,” and with time it feels hopeless and even irritating. It is important to understand that an infidelity is often a shock to the injured partner and he or she will often feel like the world as they know it has fallen apart and there is a sense of not knowing what is going on or who your partner is. This questioning is in part an attempt to get control of the experience and also an attempt to “know everything” so that there are no more shocking discoveries later. It is also an attempt to understand and process the experience and find a new way of viewing your partner and relationship. It is an understandable way of mastering and understanding a new reality. The partner who cheated needs to understand that this is what comes with the territory and be kind, patient and honest with responses. While there is often a sense that these questions will never stop if handled lovingly and patiently and with reassurance, they will diminish and eventually stop.

  1. Don’t assume the relationship is doomed.

I think most couples therapists will agree that an affair is not necessarily the end of a relationship. At times it is, depending on the meaning of the affair. However, many times it’s a cry for help, and many relationships become more connected and stronger having survived such an experience and learning from it. It can be an opportunity to know your partner better and in a more realistic way as well as understand the aspects of your relationship that are problematic and detrimental. Correcting them will make the relationship better.

Is It True That Once A Cheater Always A Cheater?

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

Once A Cheater, Always A CheaterI was recently interviewed by a reporter from New York Post following the breakup news of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. The title of the article was, “If once a cheater always a cheater?”. I think the reporter wanted to believe that that is true. However, I do not necessarily think so.

The idea that she had was that Brad Pitt cheated on Jennifer Aniston, and it is only logical that he would eventually cheat on Angelina.

First of all, I think this couple does not make a rule on the subject. Their lives are in a different category with the various circumstances than most people I come in contact with professionally and personally.

If I believed this, my work with couples who come in the crisis of an affair would be senseless. I think cheating is a complicated business, and all affairs are not created equal. Also, I know couples where one or both people cheated on their partner(s) with each other, proceeded to leave those partners and have had long lasting relationships without cheating. This happens all the time.

It is possible to be married to a wonderful person, meet someone else and feel that you belong to that other person. Many times these types of situations don’t work out, but many times they do.

Unless the cheating happens due to compulsive sexual behaviors, otherwise known as sexual addiction, some complicated emotions and longings lead people to cheat on their partner.  Many times if these feelings and longings are understood and fulfilled, there is no reason for cheating.

What about the idea that you cannot build your happiness and relationship on someone else’s pain? While I think that the cheating partner and his or her new love will feel bad and guilty, again this does not necessarily lead to ruining a new relationship. It depends on many different things and cannot be generalized.

Has Your Significant Other Cheated? Here’s What To Do Next

Monday, October 26th, 2015

Infidelity in long terms relationships is, unfortunately, quite a common occurrence. There are many complex reasons why it happens and not one path to deal with it.

Here, though, are some general thoughts I have about this after many years of working with this issue in my practice.

First of all, once, the infidelity has been discovered, it is best to “come clean” and have as full a disclosure about the other relationship(s) as possible. It makes the cheating partner ultimately feel like they can be honest and real and there is often a sense of relief after initial feelings of shame and humiliation. It also allows the “injured” partner a sense of truth and understanding of a new reality, which is the start of understanding and coping with what happened. Not having complete honesty is problematic as the “injured” partner will typically continue to search and investigate, which they feel they need to do for themselves and if, ultimately, new information comes out, it is very damaging to the recovery of the trust and therefore, the relationship. I cannot stress this point enough as I have seen many couples, seemingly, recovering from the affair only to be derailed when new information comes out. This often causes irreparable damage.

The next major issue is whether the partner who “cheated” is willing to stop the “other” relationship. For most, this is the most important and deciding factor in continuing the primary relationship or not. For some who are cheating, this is not a difficult decision to make and for some it is. If there is a goal or assumption of a monogamous relationship, most couples cannot really be in a meaningful couples therapy if the affair continues, whether it is known or not. Trust cannot be rebuilt and safety cannot be established if there is another relationship going on in secret or if it is known.

The next step is to seek professional counseling to understand what lead to the affair, provided there is a willingness to stop it and refocus on the relationship. Most of the time in my experience it is a relationship as well as an individual issue. It may be difficult for a couple to navigate all the difficult feelings and realities in an honest and productive manner as these situations are extremely painful and shocking.