Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Impact of Infidelity on Your Marriage

I want you to read carefully this article by Dr. Bob Huizenga, a Marriage and Family Therapist and colleague, who specializes in helping those facing infidelity.

Here's what he says:

Infidelity changes one's life - dramatically. Infidelity and an extramarital affair change the flow and course of a marriage or relationship - dramatically.

And, the changes brought about by infidelity differ from person to person and couple to couple, depending on strengths, coping patterns, history, temperament and other factors for the person and the relationship, including which of 7 types of affairs is operative.

Let's look at some of those changes and think about affair help.

It is extremely common to hear from my coaching clients: "I NEVER thought this would happen to me (us.) A great number of people, at some point in the beginning of the relationship agree that it will never happen to them. At that point, it's beyond their realm of possibility.

And, so expectations are built and entrenched in concrete. Their picture of their relationship excludes even the remote possibility of one person "straying."

And when marital affairs happen, worlds (expectations) are shattered and many wonder what is left.

Case study #1:

Most of what I think about now and spend most of my time thinking about is...Why? How could he do this to me? To us? I NEVER EVER thought this would happen! On rough days, unfortunately that is still most days, I feel like a failure. A worthless fool. I had always felt I/we knew what our life was and where I/we wanted to go in our life together. Now there are times when I feel our whole life together was a lie. I'm afraid I will spend the rest of my life looking over my shoulder and never really letting him in again. Although we are trying to put his affair behind us I don't know if we will ever get back even close to what we had, or should I say what I thought we had.

And, then there is the sexual tension created by the affair. And, the almost inevitable sexual comparison with the other person. If sex has been a focal point of the affair, the comparison takes on a new life.

Case Study #2:

The EXTREMELY LURID nature of my wife's affair has left me with a shattered self esteem and trust is out of the question. Even though we've reconciled and she has been in intense treatment with a therapist, I have a very difficult time becoming intimate. The OP is still on my mind 8 months later and resentment still runs very deep. I keep thinking about the signs of cheating. I still feel I'm living a nightmare, hoping I'll wake up any moment.

Case Study #3:

I feel like I'm being judged by my performance in bed by how she was with him. She was 17 yrs younger than me so my appearance is being critiqued in my head and compared to how she looks. I'm afraid if I don't do what he wants he'll walk out again always scared he's secretly still seeing her or thinking about her when we are intimate.

Infidelity changes the "contract" or rules of engagement for the marriage or relationship.

When we initiate a relationship we consciously but mostly unconsciously "agree" to particular roles, responsibilities, actions and ways of responding to each other and circumstances.

Marriages move along for a period of time and they work. Both follow through on what they agreed upon at the onset of the marriage.

The strengths of each are honored and used in the relationships. The weaknesses of each are either ignored or seen as a point of amusement.

In the following case study, the woman assumed the "responsible" role in the relationship. She most often was the glue that held relationship together.

She initiated and followed through on necessary conversations and took the lead in problem solving.

He, on the other hand, was most likely a fun person to be with. He probably knew how to play well and she admired that characteristic and complimented her "responsible" part.

And then the signs of adultery.

The relationship is feeling the strain of her changing the roles. She wants to move out of her old role. But the tension of that movement is intense. It appears he is clueless about these changes and prefers to go back to the way it was.

Case Study #4:

I feel betrayed and punished for asking my husband something he doesn`t want to give (attention and responsibility). I don't want to tell him everything I do. I don't want to be the reliable one, anymore. He is much more attentive but I don't see him as I did before. I know he's a good person and just "can't say no" but I lost admiration for him. As I work at home, after a year I have decided to try to go out more and try to meet other people. I attend networking meetings for my business. This is nice. I try to do more things for myself. I also try to look my best when we are together. I often get depressed because he doesn't want to talk about the problem, and I am afraid he is still with the OP since he works in NY and I am in Europe. but I don't see myself with another person. I still love him, and sometimes I feel bad for not being able to leave him.

Infidelity, whether is be emotional, sexual or internet cheating disrupts, no, it's more like throws a hammer into, the marriage or relationship.

Infidelity in a marriage or relationship demands that new structures, new rules, new ways of thinking and acting with each other be initiated.

Of course there is tension in the process. (Gold is refined through intense heat.)

But, there is also huge possibilities for redesign and a new configuration for one's inner life and life together.
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