Affairs and Infidelity

Managing First Sessions After an Affair

Couples therapy with one partner who is stuck. Treating couples in the aftermath of an affair is one of the most important challenges you will face. Other problems gradually weaken a relationship, but infidelity, once it is discovered, rips it apart abruptly and violently. So much is at stake. You have two partners who are hurting for very different reasons. They both want the pain to stop. You enter the couple’s world at this time of turmoil, rage, despair – and at a time when the meaning of the affair is fuzzy. Even though it may be presented to you as if there is one perpetrator and one victim, it’s not so conveniently black and white. How you position yourself and what you accomplish in that first session matters a lot.… Read more...

The Value of Obsessing About an Affair

Couples therapy with one partner who is stuck. When two people get together, they date and spend time getting to know each other. For some, the “falling in love” is intense and the decision to become a couple is easy. For others, it is far more difficult as they thoughtfully consider differences in challenging areas such as religion, culture, social class, child-rearing, or where to live. Then the two partners decide to marry or live together in a committed partnership, and that  decision draws a boundary around the “two of them” as a couple. This decision, when done well, completes the initial bonding stage of a relationship and paves the way for a healthy, growth-promoting process of differentiation.… Read more...

Losing Momentum: After an Affair

Momentum-imageWhen One Partner Keeps Obsessing About the Details of a Partner’s Affair In today’s world of cell phones, text messages and emails, it has become much easier for partners to unearth infidelity – and to be able to follow the communication trail between lovers.… Read more...

How do you help a betrayed partner get past anger after infidelity?

anger after infidelity Ask Ellyn #3: How do I help a betrayed partner get past unrelenting anger after infidelity is revealed?    … Read more...

Painful Interactions Are Defining Moments in Couples Therapy

angry outburst_225Sooner or later you will encounter a situation where one partner is aggressively triggered in your office. They explode after hearing an unexpected comment. At that point they are flooded with emotion and become explosively furious. They often just want to “express their rage” and they definitely don’t want to be interrupted.… Read more...

Building Effective Collaboration with a Highly Anxious Client

couples in therapy sessionA common scenario that many of us see in our practices is the over-functioning wife with the anxious-avoidant husband. He is a highly anxious procrastinator  and is often not accountable for what he says he will do.… Read more...

Felony Lies

Nov 2012 infidelity255At the end of last month’s post, I asked you to think about a couple’s unfolding history and share how you would structure treatment after disclosure of an affair and a history of lies and deceit. What might you say to them at the end of the first session? And what would be some considerations for you in structuring the next session?  … Read more...

Lies to the Self, Lies to the Partner and Lies to the Therapist

Intimacy conf faculty225When working with a couple in the aftermath of infidelity, how do you approach lies and a history of deception? When is a lie “just a little white lie” and when is it much more serious? Is it a common pattern of deception, does it represent a developmental issue, or is it a character issue?  How likely is it that a partner will continue lying to you? Does that change what you do and, if so, how?… Read more...

Two Experts’ Insights for Dealing with Infidelity

Intimacy conf faculty225Here you’ll find Infidelity Conference summaries from Alex Katehakis and Tammy Nelson, focusing on sexuality and eroticism.… Read more...

Focus on Infidelity

Just days ago I arrived home from the stellar conference, Anatomy of Intimacy – Focus on Infidelity that took place at University of California, Irvine, and I was immediately slammed with the cold/flu that is going around. Now that I am alert and functional again, I wanted to share some updates and reflections with you before they recede into the “busyness” of holiday preparations. The conference was dynamic and fascinating and made me marvel that no meeting ever before has focused exclusively on the complexity of infidelity.… Read more...
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