Overcoming infidelity

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Why would someone have an affair?

A ‘reason’ or explanation for infidelity is not the same as an excuse. Betrayal and deceit are often the most painful aspects of an affair.

You, as the one who has been betrayed, might even know the other woman or man. He or she could be a family member or friend. This means dealing with a double betrayal and a double dose of distress.

However, once you are over the initial shock, do take some time to reflect on the possibility of the existence of an underlying factor.

The following may be underlying 'causes' (not excuses) of the affair and will need to be addressed if you want your relationship to survive.

13 Reasons why someone might 'choose' to cheat on a partner

  1. Transitions - e.g. pregnancy, birth, children leaving home, mid-life
  2. Specific relationship problems 
  3. Issues around identity (see also: Is Your Partner Bisexual?)
  4. More rarely - Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), ‘hunting’
  5. History - parent(s)’ extra marital affair(s)
  6. Specific (escape) - infertility, illness, disability, unemployment, etc
  7. Sexless Marriage
  8. Fear of being single when not in a relationship (being the 'other person')
  9. Status - an essential need perhaps not met in any other way
  10. Opportunity and curiosity
  11. Total and utter obsession / addiction - dopamine!
  12. A generally poor relationship in which essential emotional needs aren't met in balance - it's never been right, outgrown the relationship, or general dissatisfaction and disillusionment
  13. Having made a mistake of some kind and now feeling he or she has nothing more to lose as they already feel 'condemned' anyway

Surviving infidelity in 3 Steps
Step 1

My best relationship advice is - whether you are the 'wronged' party or you (have) had the affair - don't leave recovery to chance thinking that he or she will get over it. Surviving infidelity means putting in the work to save your relationship, and I am here to help you to do that.

Surviving infidelity
Step 2

Give yourself and your partner time to survive the infidelity, whichever role you played. Make no hasty decisions. (Though of course, if you're having an affair you can't commit to both people at the same time!)

Read my page on the secrets of happy relationships also, so that you know how you can begin to make the necessary changes.

Step 3 of how to survive infidelity

Keep track of how you feel and your progress - do you really feel that you are surviving the affair and are you and your relationship/marriage truly recovering? You will get over it and it so helps to get things off your chest by writing about it - just for you, with no one looking over your shoulder and judging you. Writing a journal can help you get started.

Recovering from infidelity is a process with various stages and you may not always appreciate how well you're actually doing.

Talking it over with a relationship expert can be hugely helpful. Get support and guidance now from a qualified Online Relationship Counsellor.

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Related articles

Other interesting links

Journal of Counselling and Development: Overcoming interpersonal offenses
Journal of Marriage and Family: Sexual infidelity among married and cohibiting Americans

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