infidelity

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...

Couples Therapy: Confronting a Stuck, Betrayed Partner

Couples therapy with one partner who is stuck.For this blog, I’d like to address a common challenge in couples therapy:  how to confront a betrayed partner who remains in a victim position long after infidelity has been revealed. This situation is hard for therapists because the client seems to be a “legitimate victim” of outrageous behavior, when the spouse has had a long-term affair or lied in destructive ways. When I’ve surveyed therapists about stuck infidelity cases, they  expressed it like this. How do I help each partner recognize their role in the dynamic that contributed to the deception? How do I deal with the deceived person possibly “using the betrayal for leverage or punishment”?… Read more...

Confrontation Transcript: Indecision After Infidelity

Unhappy couple in therapyMoving along in our series on confrontation, I wanted to share a series of confrontations  made by my husband, Peter Pearson, during a 90-minute session with a couple facing indecision after infidelity. Observe how his confrontations move from softer to more intense. Jeff and Julie came for their first session after being married for 40 years. Jeff was in the midst of an affair and Julie was very depressed. Jeff was severely conflicted. Should he stay married or go with Clara, his new love?  He was also “shopping” for therapists and had already been to several. Jeff was approaching his indecision from a passive, but painful position.… 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...

The Self-Absorbed Partner

charts and graphs of salesA very big thanks to you if you filled out my survey on the Self-Absorbed Partner. I must have hit a nerve because nearly 200 readers answered the questions.… 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...

Pornography and Cybersex, Trust and Betrayal

This is the second in a series of blog posts highlighting the conference Anatomy of Intimacy – Focus on Infidelity  at University of California, Irvine, last month. It was an unusually rich conference and I am pleased to share a bit more of it with you now about presenters Dr. Marty Klein and Drs. John and Julie Gottman.… 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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