Overcoming Infidelity
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Overcoming Infidelity

Infidelity is a difficult storm that may shatter a relationship to its very core. It causes a profound emotional toll on everyone involved, with consequences that may endure for a lifetime. This article will examine the causes of infidelity, the psychological challenges experienced by those who decide to stay, the potential for rehabilitation, and the therapy options open to couples seeking healing.



Table Of Contents

What Causes People To Cheat?

Am I Foolish For Staying?

Can A Relationship Fully Heal After Infidelity?

What Type Of Therapy Handles Infidelity?

The Bottom Line





What Causes People To Cheat?


With so many contributing factors, infidelity is a complicated problem. Gaining an understanding of these underlying causes can be essential to overcoming the consequences.


A typical cause is a lack of emotional chemistry in the partnership. Infidelity may result from spouses looking for comfort outside of the partnership when they feel emotionally abandoned or unfulfilled (Selterman et al., 2021). The desire for excitement and novelty also plays a role. Some people can find themselves drawn to the excitement of covert rendezvous or the rush of prohibited encounters. Boredom or monotony in the relationship may be the source of this yearning for novelty (Perel, 2017).


Low self-esteem and insecurity may also be factors. Infidelity is a foolish attempt by those looking for approval and reinforcement to increase their sense of value. In addition, negative behaviors like cheating can be a symptom of unresolved personal issues like unfulfilled needs or trauma from the past (Beltrán-Morillas et al., 2020).





Am I Foolish For Staying?


Internal conflict and self-doubt are frequently brought on by the aftermath of infidelity. Many people struggle with the idea of whether continuing a relationship makes them seem weak or foolish. The choice to stay is very personal and subject to many influencing factors.


Some decide to stick around because they genuinely think there is room for improvement and atonement in their relationship. They might believe that recovery is achievable with open communication and dedication, and view infidelity as a symptom rather than the underlying reason (Fife et al., 2023).


One additional strong factor that prevents people from leaving is fear of the unknown. After a big relationship disruption, it can be intimidating to think of starting over in one’s life. It may seem more sensible to stay if there are concerns about your children’s welfare, your financial security, and social fallout.


Love and connection are important factors in various circumstances. The emotional relationship that has grown over the years may hold strong even after the betrayal. People find it tough to cut all links because they want to see their relationship blossom and be stronger.



Overcoming Infidelity


Can A Relationship Fully Heal After Infidelity?


While the path to rehabilitation following an affair is certainly difficult, it is not impossible. Studies reveal that a significant percentage of couples can effectively traverse the turbulent waters of betrayal and mend their marriages (Marín et al., 2014; Solomon & Teagno, 2018).


In the Journal of Family Psychology, a study found that most couples who receive therapy following an affair report continuing to be together and experiencing a notable improvement in their relationship. This implies that a relationship may in fact be restored and come out stronger than before with the correct strategy and dedication (Atkins et al., 2010).


One of the most important aspects of healing is restoring trust. It is essential that both couples are prepared to have honest conversations about the underlying problems that caused the cheating. The path to recovery requires empathy, patience, and a sincere desire for improvement.


It’s crucial to remember that recovery takes time. It demands time, work, and dedication to develop oneself and one’s relationships. It could be necessary for couples to look into new avenues for their emotional connection, set firm limits, and decide on shared future objectives.





What Type Of Therapy Handles Infidelity?


After an affair, therapy can be a highly effective aid in the healing process. The challenges of mending relationships and reestablishing trust are addressed by a number of therapeutic approaches.


Couples Therapy: In order to investigate and resolve the issues that led to infidelity, both partners collaborate with a certified therapist in couples’ therapy, sometimes known as marriage counseling. The therapist helps the couple recognize harmful patterns, encourages open conversation, and helps them work toward reestablishing trust (American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, 2016).


Individual Therapy: For both the deceived and the disloyal partner, individual therapy may prove advantageous. It offers a secure environment where people can work on their personal development, gain understanding of their conduct, and explore their emotions. The general well-being of the relationship is enhanced when underlying concerns are addressed one by one.


Sex Therapy: A violation of trust and intimacy is frequently involved in infidelity. Restoring sexual connection and communication in a partnership is the main goal of sex therapy. It aids in reestablishing the emotional and physical bond between spouses and navigating the emotional fallout from adultery.


Integrative Behavioral Couple Therapy (IBCT): IBCT, which was created by Drs. Andrew Christensen and Neil S. Jacobson, offers a well-rounded method for mending relationships by combining acceptance and change-oriented techniques in a novel way. When it comes to infidelity, IBCT helps couples identify and communicate their feelings about a breach of trust. IBCT supports couples on the complex journey of reestablishing closeness, trust, and connection by promoting effective communication, emotional control, and conflict resolution. The therapy aims to balance connection and autonomy, promoting personal development within a healing partnership, enabling partners to rebuild and strengthen their relationship (Christensen & Doss, 2017).





The Bottom Line

A relationship’s ability to withstand hardship is put to the test by infidelity. Overcoming the fallout from betrayal requires investigating the underlying causes, accepting the emotional challenges of staying in that relationship and acknowledging the possibility of healing. Individual or couples-focused therapy is an essential tool in helping couples work through the process of reestablishing intimacy and trust. Those who are dedicated to putting in the work may experience a renewed and strengthened connection, despite the potentially difficult journey.







American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. (2016, July). Infidelity. https://www.aamft.org/Consumer_Updates/Infidelity.aspx?WebsiteKey=8e8c9bd6-0b71-4cd1-a5ab-013b5f855b01


Atkins, D. C., Marín, R. A., Lo, T. T. Y., Klann, N., & Hahlweg, K. (2010). Outcomes of couples with infidelity in a community-based sample of couple therapy. Journal of Family Psychology: JFP: Journal of the Division of Family Psychology of the American Psychological Association (Division 43), 24(2), 212–216. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0018789


Beltrán-Morillas, A. M., Alonso-Ferres, M., Garrido-Macías, M., Villanueva-Moya, L., Sánchez-Hernández, M. D., & Expósito, F. (2020). The Relationship Between the Motivation to Commit Infidelity and Negative Affect and Self-Esteem: How Cheating in Romance Might Signal Positive Well-Being in Adolescents. Psychological Reports. https://doi.org/10.1177/0033294120973947


Christensen, A., & Doss, B. D. (2017). Integrative Behavioral Couple Therapy. Current Opinion in Psychology, 13, 111–114. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.copsyc.2016.04.022


Fife, S. T., Gossner, J. D., Theobald, A., Allen, E., Rivero, A., & Koehl, H. (2023). Couple healing from infidelity: A grounded theory study. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 40(12), 3882–3905. https://doi.org/10.1177/02654075231177874


Marín, R. A., Christensen, A., & Atkins, D. C. (2014). Infidelity and behavioral couple therapy: Relationship outcomes over 5 years following therapy. Couple and Family Psychology: Research and Practice, 3(1), 1–12. https://doi.org/10.1037/cfp0000012


Perel, E. (2017). The State of Affairs Rethinking Infidelity. https://instaread.co/insights/health-fitness-relationships/the-state-of-affairs-book/fm0eotx7as


Selterman, D., Garcia, J. R., & Tsapelas, I. (2021). What Do People Do, Say, and Feel When They Have Affairs? Associations between Extradyadic Infidelity Motives with Behavioral, Emotional, and Sexual Outcomes. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, 47(3), 238–252. https://doi.org/10.1080/0092623X.2020.1856987


Solomon, S. D., & Teagno, L. J. (2018, August 17). Frequently-Asked Questions about Infidelity. Divorce Magazine. https://www.divorcemag.com/articles/frequently-asked-questions-about-infidelity









Written By: Dr. Wasif MD

Edited by: Madison Vargas, BS

Medically Reviewed By: Dr. Kyle Zrenchik, PhD, LMFT

Published : 03/05/2024


Disclaimer: ALL IN Therapy Clinic aims to improve people’s lives. We do this through providing effective mental health counseling by passionate professionals. Inspired by this, we write content for your own education. Also, our content is researched, cited, reviewed, and edited by licensed mental health professionals. However, the information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Additionally, it should not be used in place of the advice of a qualified healthcare provider.

Written and reviewed by

Madison Vargas

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