Some of the couples I see enter therapy after discovering an affair or what one partner considers an infidelity or a breech of trust. This can shake the foundation of a relationship to its core in a very strong way.
We work to develop a specific plan of how to make sense of what has happened and the steps that will bring repair to the relationship. Marriages can get stronger when members of the couple deal constructively with the affair. Esther Perel, author of Mating in Captivity, states, “not every infidelity is a symptom of a problem in a relationship. Sometimes it has to do with other longings that are much more existential. Sometimes you go elsewhere not because you are not liking the one you are with, but you are not liking the person you have become.”
As the therapist, I will help both parties discuss their strong feelings of hurt, sadness, betrayal, and hopelessness in a nurturing supportive environment. I help the couple to understand the anxiety, obsessiveness, and fears (like checking the cell phone) that follow the indiscretion, stressing the importance of transparency to begin to rebuild trust in the relationship.
I have seen a big increase in online affairs since the inception of the internet and the propagation of pornography and online dating. I continue to see addictions in some of these areas, such as internet sex, game playing, overspending on the internet and overworking due to the availability of the internet. This can become obsessive and take up all the time that could be devoted to families and relationships. Many of my colleagues said technology is talked about on some level with all clients in almost every session.