How to overcome infidelity with the help of a psychologist?
These are the tasks and strategies used in couples therapy to overcome cases of infidelity.
Infidelity is one of the most frequent reasons for consultation among people who decide to go to couples therapy to have the help of a professional psychologist. This is not surprising, since infidelity is a relatively common phenomenon among those who are in a dating relationship or are married.
It is true that in most cases, when the case of infidelity transcends and both people involved in the relationship are aware of what happened, this usually entails a hard emotional blow for those who feel "cheated", and it triggers a couple crisis, or directly a breakup of this. However, in many cases the dating relationship or marriage can be repaired if the right steps are taken, which always have to do with reestablishing the commitment that someone has broken.
In this article we will look at how it is possible to overcome an infidelity with the support of a psychologist through a couple therapy process..
How does a psychologist work to help overcome a couple crisis due to infidelity?
These are the main parts of the intervention in couple therapy when giving support to couples who have gone through an infidelity, whatever type it may be. They do not all occur sequentially, but several of them are interspersed with the others.
1. Initial evaluation of the case and delimitation of the problem of infidelity.
First of all, work is done by examining the perception that both people have of the case of infidelity..
It may be that, at the beginning, what for one person means to break the engagement may not be so, which does not mean that the infidelity did not occur.
In this phase we examine what attitude both people have when relating what happened, assessing aspects such as the degree of regret, defensive behavior, seeking confrontation...
2. Detection of the triggers of infidelity.
Although each relationship is a world and you have to examine the problems of marriage or courtship on a case by case basis, it can be said that the main causes of infidelity are the following (several may be present at the same time, interacting and reinforcing each other):
- Sexual dissatisfaction
- Presence of antisocial personality traits in one or both partners.
- Misunderstandings in the establishment of boundaries, scope of commitment.
- Use of the couple's relationship for instrumental purposes to achieve something (dating or marriage is not based on mutual love)
- Use of infidelity as a means of revenge
- Lack of time together
Some of these causes and facilitators of infidelity cases compromise the couple's relationship so much that the only way out is to break up.This solution is especially urgent when breaking the engagement is a way of psychologically mistreating the other person or occurs in a context of abuse. In situations like this, there is no intervention through couple therapy.
In any case, once the causes and triggers of the infidelity have been detected, the next stages of couple therapy are created to provide a solution to the unmet needs of both parties, but always focusing on the party that has been most damaged and harmed.
3. Creating a non-judgmental context for dialogue
In couples therapy it is very important to establish protocols of speech that allow that both partners can express themselves without being interrupted and without fear of being judged by the psychologist.. The role of the professional in this part of the process is that of facilitator of the dialogue and mediator, but also of dynamizer of a communication flow that should touch on all relevant topics, asking key questions.
In addition, in this aspect of couple therapy intervention, people are "trained" to regulate anger and to establish constructive discussions in which they do not fight for the sake of fighting, but to look for possible solutions.
4. Accompanying the person who has been unfaithful in a process of self-knowledge.
The person who has been cheated on must understand what the infidelity has meant for him/her, and what would be necessary for him/her to feel comfortable in the relationship again.loving the other person. For that reason, help is offered when it comes to express their feelings in words and in structured explanations of how they have experienced the infidelity.
5. Creation of a damage repair plan
It is not enough to ask for forgiveness, it is necessary to show interest in repairing the commitment that has been broken by the infidelity.
For that reason, in therapy we help both people to agree on a process of reparation and renewal of the commitment, which must go through actions in which time and effort must be invested.. These action-based goals are part of the goals to be achieved in therapy, and should include a specific period of time to achieve them.
6. Training in emotion management techniques
Psychological intervention in cases of infidelity is also an opportunity to learn how to better an opportunity to learn how to better manage emotions.. This is part of both the objective of repairing the relationship damaged by the infidelity, as well as acting on the triggers of infidelity.
7. Resolution and final accompaniment
In the final stage, the couple is helped to recognize the progress made, and both people evaluate the current state of their relationship.. If both notice that the infidelity crisis has been overcome, they are offered a period of accompaniment to see if this improvement is maintained in the medium and long term.
Are you looking for psychological assistance for couples?
If your courtship or marriage is going through difficult times and you are interested in having couple therapy services, contact me.
I am a psychologist specialized in the cognitive-behavioral model, and I work helping individuals and groups in individualized sessions, for couples and for companies. You can count on my services in person at my office in Madrid or online through video call.
(Updated at Mar 28 / 2023)