After the discovery of an infidelity emotions run high, accusations proliferate, and major crises occur and recur. While extramarital affairs are a major cause of divorce, most couples try to live with the situation, often leading to a cold and untrusting relationship. More than half of the couples who come to SOS Couple Retreat for marriage counseling do so after an extramarital involvement.
Causes of Infidelity
An affair can happen in a good marriage as well as in a marriage with existing problems. The causes may include low self-esteem, lack of affection, an addiction to sex or romance, or a search for power. The infidelity may result in feelings of shame or it may exist without guilt.
Infidelity may also not involve a sexual relationship. It can be an emotional intimacy, deception, or flirtation. Emotional affairs can be just as insidious as sexual affairs and should be treated in much the same manner. The Internet can create intimacy problems within a marriage, even though the Internet correspondents may never meet face to face. “Internet sex” has become a growing concern for many families.
After the initial shock of discovering an affair the spouses often are depressed, as in any major trauma. Whether the injured spouse wants to know the details of the infidelity or not, there will be a continual search for signs of an ongoing betrayal. Professional help just makes good sense! In virtually all cases of infidelity communication is a problem and there is also a need for additional work such as:
- Understanding the foundation of your marriage and how that has influenced your relationship.
- Building awareness of your emotional and sexual feelings by putting your emotional and sexual needs into words that make sense and feel right.
- Addressing and then reducing self defeating behavior by building behavioral skills.
- Learning and practicing skills associated with good parenting, teamwork, sound blended families, and dealing with challenging extended families. Using what research on marital satisfaction has taught us about changing marital interactions.
- Confronting difficult lifestyle changes. Letting go of the past and being more in the present (here and now.)
Savannah and Joe, the marriage therapists, work with the couple to address their needs by exploring the emotions of each. They work to learn the causes of the extramarital affair, and to establish rules for the future. Trust must be rebuilt gradually and by working together an opportunity exists for the partners to rebuild and actually strengthen the marriage.
Usually by the second day of our couples retreat weekend it becomes obvious to all concerned how the rest of the time should be spent. Our commitment is to get to the truth in a loving and peaceful way. Finger pointing and blame is never very useful. Couples learn to take personal responsibility through effective communication exercises. Remember… affairs are often just a sign of a deeper under-lying problem. If addressed appropriately, adultery can be the crisis that your marriage needs to change for the better.
Couples come to the SOS Couple Retreat Intensive Weekend to get in touch with their deeper truth whether it is to rekindle and rescue their relationship, explore the decision of a separation, or to work towards a friendly divorce with the tools to make their next relationships more satisfying and be better co-parents.