Women and Infidelity: When Bringing Home the Pay Check
is Not Enough
By: Ingela Edwards, MS, LPC-Intern, National Certified Counselor, McKinney, TX. Supervised by: Debra Dian Larsen, MS, LPC-S
Infidelity causes havoc, pain and chaos in any relationship. The feeling of betrayal cuts deep and rebuilding trust will be a long process. Engaging in infidelity is an escape from reality. Infidelity is an escape from paying the mortgage, carpooling and buying groceries- and it comes with a hefty price tag. A person who chooses to engage in infidelity to escape the sometimes mundane ways of life, low self-esteem or whatever the reason may be, is probably not thinking ahead.
Infidelity causes trust issues and sometimes the damage becomes irreparable. If a person feels unloved, disrespected, taken for granted and emotionally starved by the spouse, I would suggest seeking out professional help before deciding to sneak around and have a fling in a dysfunctional effort to spice up life. It is more difficult to work on
repairing the marriage following betrayal than it is to work on preventative measures which could include improving communication styles, identifying needs, conflict resolution and past grievances.
Lately, I have had more couples come to counseling in an effort to
restore their marriage following infidelity due to the wife having an affair. Actually, of all people who choose to engage in infidelity, approximately 40 percent are women. Women are catching up with men in the cheating department, which may be shocking to some.
So, I do not advocate or agree with infidelity. But why do some
women cheat? I have heard that emotional starvation plays a large part in it.
The women whom I counseled following their infidelity reported that
they did not intend, or plan to have an affair. It started innocently as a
friendship and developed into an emotional affair, which then turned sexual over time. These women did not have any intentions of leaving their husbands. They stated that the disconnection in the marriage had grown. They reported attempts at trying to talk to their husbands regarding the lack of emotional intimacy, only to be dismissed and ignored.
Starving the spouse emotionally may not give anybody and excuse for engaging in infidelity. However, the topic of emotional starvation can serve as an eye opener to many couples. Bringing home a pay check is not enough to keep a marriage healthy. Keeping a marriage healthy
requires communicating on a deeper level, sharing feelings, caring for the marriage and telling the truth about who you are, what you want and what you need - even when that may feel awkward.
I often recommend that couples read The New Rules of Marriage by Terrence Real and Why Am I Afraid to Tell You Who I Am? by John Powell in an effort to change the dynamics in the relationship. It is easier to address the issues in the marriage before trust is broken. For most people, marriage is a commitment and there are often issues to be addressed- on a continuous basis. Ignoring the emotional starvation or the needs that are not being met will not improve anything, instead it adds to resentment towards your spouse and the emotional
Ingela Edwards, MS, LPC-Intern, NCC, therapist at McKinney Counseling and Recovery, specializes in helping individuals and couples heal from sex addiction, infidelity, intimacy anorexia, and intimacy deprivation. McKinney Counseling & Recovery serves the McKinney, Plano, Allen, Frisco, Dallas and Sherman area.
Ingela Edwards, LPC, NCC, SRT, CCPS is an individual and marriage therapist