The recent news on the young Hollywood couple Kristin Stewart and Robert Pattinson’s infidelity scandal, along with so many others, got me thinking I might need to share some of my thoughts on” Surviving Infidelity”.
As a psychotherapist that specializes in working with couples, and often times infidelity, I am a believer that not only can couple’s survive infidelity, it can often be a glorious new start to your relationship. For those of you that have experienced infidelity in your relationships may be laughing reading this or may have already stopped but for those of you still reading let me explain why I believe this to be true.
First off, I experienced infidelity in my own marriage and survived. More than survived, I grew, a lot. I was able to learn a great deal about myself in my relationship and how I treated him. Much of this comes from our Families of Origin. We grow up seeing images of what marriage is and isn’t, these images become our reality of what is. Our partners see very different images and when we join as a couple, often in our early 20’s, we don’t discuss these things, we are too busy falling in love! Discussing our expectations of marriage is critical and VERY often NEVER done! Gary Chapman, author of The 5 Love Languages, wrote another book called What I Wish I Knew before I got Married. It is a simple book but very powerful as it suggests having these kinds of discussions before we get married. Expectations and family of origin issues are just one part of infidelity of course but these are often what I see in my therapy room and what I experienced in my own marriage.
Understanding these things from our past and how they have infiltrated our stories about our own marriages is critical. The next step is finding your voice for what you need, want and expect in your marriage.
In our society, these critical issues are often NEVER discussed BEFORE marriage and they rear their ugly heads in forms like infidelity.
I am NOT suggesting that getting over the hurt, embarrassment, distrust or anguish of infidelity is easy but with a good therapist, good intentions and an open heart for what could be might just get you to a new, loving and open relationship you have never experienced before.