Tuesday, April 16, 2024


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Illustration: Eleni Kastrinoyannis

If you decide to stay in the relationship after infidelity, don’t do it for the children, for the money, for the house, for the social status. The experts invite you to discern the real reasons.

It is not only people of low moral standards who commit infidelity. As the leading psychotherapist Esther Perel said in a speech a few years ago , countless people who have been faithful for decades and who sincerely love their partners cross this line at some point.

Dr Kathy Nickerson , a relationship psychologist and author of The Courage to Stay, agrees , saying: “I know a lot of really wonderful people who have made that bad decision at some point and have been hurt themselves. from what they did.”

Perel gives her take on what drives someone to infidelity: it’s the need to become someone else, not the need to be with someone else. Nickerson adds that many times it is due to the fact that we do not know how to talk about what we are experiencing in the relationship and what problems we are facing . “People who didn’t grow up in families with healthy communication models have a hard time talking about their feelings in their future relationships,” she explains.

Furthermore, “although some are simply addicted to sex , for most the parallel relationships act as painkillers . They are suffering from something, they don’t know how to relieve themselves and they are simply “caught” by the first person who will show them more interest”, he adds.


Can a relationship be possible again after infidelity?

Illustration: Eleni Kastrinoyannis


How to reattach glass after infidelity

If you can discern what really led to the infidelity of a person you are otherwise happy to have in your life. If you can separate the pain of betrayal from the admission that you may be partly to blame. And if you recognize that you have a sincere intention to try again, then there is hope.

“I know couples who survived repeated infidelities and couples who broke up after much smaller challenges. In therapy we will talk about dissolution, but we will also talk about repair. Sometimes, after an extramarital affair, a relationship that has been experiencing problems comes out of the impasse, but this does not mean that it is over. Without condoning infidelity, with a mutual desire for the couple to stay together, space can really be created for growth, recovery and renewal ,” psychotherapist Charlotte Fox Weber tells the Guardian .

This is of course not easy. Infidelity makes you feel like you’ve suddenly lost control of your life. Because a huge part of her, turns out to be completely different from what you thought. So you need to go back a lot of chapters and be able to re-read them in a different light.

“If something like this has happened to you, start by clarifying the facts of the infidelity, without going into creepy details. Recognize which of these you can have some control over and which you can’t. Take your share of responsibility before, and now. That is, take care of yourself so that you can emotionally endure what you are going through. Ask yourself what you have to gain from it. What it has to teach you, how it can strengthen and mature you. And how can you then move forward,” suggests relationship consultant Luke Shillings .

Then he calls on the couples who have decided to fight it out, to clarify within themselves why they did it. “It’s very easy to stay for the kids, for the money, for the house, for the social life or family support. Forget these for now and answer honestly to yourself whether or not you want to be in this relationship. Obviously external factors will play a role, but recognize your true motivations.”

The biggest challenge, of course, is to earn your partner back your trust. “This is the most difficult. And it’s not just about your partner disappointing you with his/her behavior. You have lost faith in yourself as well. In your gut,” says Shillings. For this reason, he suggests, rather than aiming to feel 100% sure again that you will never be cheated on in the future, it is better to familiarize yourself with the idea that trust can be lost at any time . You may, in fact, be the one who will one day find yourself in a similar position.

Finally, Fox Weber addresses the person who cheated, who is dealing with their own difficulties: “I always advise that person to grieve the loss of the person with whom they were connected. Because something ended abruptly for him too, and with it a part of himself that had developed during the relationship was lost. This can be a slow and painful process. The person is called to some place to detoxify. Because even though he made a healthy choice, life after infidelity can seem dull and monotonous. So he needs to be able to find excitement and joy in his normal life again.

So, the relationship can become strong again after infidelity, but it requires difficult conversations and decisions that both must be able to make and take. Not a constant whining that will in time collapse the nervous system of both, but planned meetings, in which the issues will be resolved thoroughly. Ideally, with the help of an expert.

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