When infidelity spreads its toxins upon a marriage, the betrayed partner wants to know WHY. Often, the betrayed spouse reports that there were no obvious disconnections in the marriage and the disclosure of infidelity came as a shock. The most common question asked is: “Why did this happen?” The reason why someone chooses to be unfaithful differs and sometimes it is difficult to identify why the infidelity happened in the first place.
Sometimes infidelity occurs because there are people who are opportunists. They cheat simply because they had the opportunity to do so. Sometimes infidelity occurs because there are friendships that cross the line into sexual and emotional affairs. Sometimes the reason may be that the cheating person is sexually addicted. There are times when infidelity occurs because of unaddressed unhappiness in the marriage. Sometimes infidelity occurs because the betrayer thought that they would never get caught and that there would be no consequences. Whatever the reasons are, infidelity causes extreme pain, anxiety and disrupts all trust in the relationship. The “why” needs to be identified and explored.
Infidelity recovery requires a lot of healing time and work. The involved partner needs to figure out why it happened. Finding out why it happened provides an aspect of insight, and an avenue to work on, in order to prevent it from happening again. The betrayed spouse will be experiencing a lot of anxiety and doubt. The betrayed spouse will wonder if this will happen again. The “why’s” are important to identify for the healing of the relationship , emotional safety of the betrayed spouse and can serve as an identifier to build up more “infidelity proofing” in the marriage.
The betrayed spouse will need clarity, accountability, honesty and a plan to work on the marriage. It will take at least a solid year to heal from the damages of infidelity. It may take longer. In order to restore the damages created, measurable steps may be needed, such as willingness to participate in couples counseling, taking a therapeutic polygraph test, investing in practicing emotional intimacy exercises at home and a large dose of empathy for the betrayed spouse.
Ingela Edwards, MS, LPC-Intern, NCC, SRT, therapist at McKinney Counseling and Recovery, specializes in helping individuals and couples heal from sex addiction, infidelity, intimacy anorexia, and intimacy deprivation. McKinney Counseling and Recovery serves the McKinney, Plano, Allen, Frisco,
Carrollton, Lewisville, Dallas and Sherman area.
Ingela Edwards, LPC, NCC, SRT, CCPS is an individual and marriage therapist