affairs

Managing First Sessions After an Affair

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...

Has your spouse cheated on you?

…a starting point for overcoming the pain of infidelity. Holy #@%!, I don’t need to tell you about the anguish you’re going through if you've discovered your partner cheated. Most couples don’t have a “no cheat” agreement. It is simply assumed you won’t lie about who you are with and what you are doing. The discovery feels like getting hit in the stomach by a cinder block flying at the speed of sound. Suddenly it feels like your relationship was built on a pile of broken stones. What’s real? What can you believe? You wonder if you are crazy. (You’re not.) You wonder if you should stay or go. You contemplate the painful uncertainties of any decision you make.… Read more...

Three-Stage Resolution of an Affair

Without a doubt, infidelity is one of the most perplexing challenges that many therapists face during their careers. Frequently couples arrive in your office reeling in the aftermath of an affair. One partner may feel intensely angry and believe they were betrayed, while the other is in a hurry to get the affair behind them. How you structure the therapy and what you attend to in sessions can prove to be stressful when each partner has a different agenda.… Read more...

The Importance of Apologies

An interesting research study from Columbia University reinforces something we already know. A law professor named Jennifer Robbennolt discovered that admitting guilt seems to be a central ingredient in a sincere apology. She also discovered that a full apology is more likely to result in the quick settlement of a law suit in certain kinds of cases. 145 people aged 21-70 were given a hypothetical accident scenario. They were supposedly involved in an accident with a bicyclist. The cyclist was at fault but offered a settlement that only covered their medical costs. The results showed: 52% accepted the money when there was no apology 73% accepted the money when there was a full apology 35% accepted the settlement when the apology was only partial and the bicyclist did not take responsibility for the collision.… Read more...
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