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 Extramarital Affair
How To Deal With Infidelity In A Marriage
By Dr. Brenda Shoshanna
Dec 22, 2005, Thu, 22 Dec 2005 10:46

 

              Infidelity and the threat of it, is the largest single issue that threatens marriages. If the partner has actually been unfaithful, and even if there is a suggestion of interest in another, the marriage automatically goes into a crisis mode.

 

The basis of all good relationships is the ability to trust the other. It is not only the sexual betrayal but the fact of having been lied to that is so devastating. This break of trust  not only takes time, patience and wisdom to repair, but it is absolutely necessary to understand and discuss what caused it to happen. It is also necessary to build a relationship based upon honesty and open communication once again.

 

Understanding Infidelity

 

Often infidelity arises because certain needs in a marriage have not been met. Other times it arises as an act of resentment against the partner, or as a desire for freedom and adventure again. Sometimes there are issues in the individual or in the relationship which have not been dealt with and which have simply festered. Rather than deal with them directly, the person then escapes the entire situation by getting involved with someone else.

 

Whether or not you stay in the relationship after the infidelity happens, it is necessary to uncover the true causes of it, because a woman is often left feeling unattractive, unlovable and as though it were all her fault. This negative reaction must be handled so that she is not left with tattered self esteem. The way her self esteem can be repaired is to understand the true causes of the problem, on both sides.

 

The question often comes whether or not it is possible to repair the broken trust and go forward in the marriage after infidelity. The truth is that if both individuals are willing to confront the issues that caused the infidelity,, to open communication, to be honest and respectful of one another and to be patient, then the marriage can emerge even stronger than before. However, this takes time, patience and commitment and the realization that feelings of betrayal and suspiciousness may continue to go on for awhile. When they appear, it is necessary to address them and receive the reassurance needed once again. It is also necessary to create firm boundaries in the relationship that are adhered to and respected by both individuals.

 

2) Online Relationships

The question of what is infidelity has become much broader now, as individuals have such great access to others through the internet. This becomes a fine point in many marriages, where husbands can often satisfy their wish for other relationships or for fantasy and adventure through activities online. When we do not see or have to interact with another in person, when who we truly are is not in question, it is easy for fantasy relationships to develop online. There is comfortable distance between the two people and so they often feel that they can easily exchange intimacies and feelings that are not so easy to exchange in person. As the time spent in these relationships is limited, nothing has to be sustained. Demands made upon one another  and can be handled through a few words here or there. This stimulates a hotbed of fantasy and it is easy to feel one has someone in their life who cares and is there for them. In an actual flesh and blood relationship, where you have to meet the needs of the other, and may not feel you are receiving what you need in return, where you have to deal with everyday life problems, routine and boredom, online relationships have become a common and easy way to find adventure and diffuse stress.

 

     The question often arises whether this constitutes an infidelity of some kind? This is a delicate question which must be answered individually by the couples themselves. Many women feel disturbed and threatened by the intimacies they find their husband sharing with strangers online. Naturally, one must question why this on-line relationship is gong on at all? How much intimacy is being shared? Many feel as though personal intimacy belongs only in the marriage. Sharing intimacies with another may be called emotional infidelity, not having sex with another,  but thinking of them, being with them in fantasy and withdrawing emotions from the marriage partner herself. There is a thin line here and it is crossed easily, so online relationships for those who are married need to be discussed, defined and boundaries set for them. One has to realize why they are happening at all.

 

3) Online Porn:

 

Unfortunately, due to its easy accessibility, many married men are found engaging in online porn. They visit these sites regularly and when their wives find out they are often devastated by it. The wives feel utterly betrayed, threatened and as though they have not been good enough and are not attractive to their husbands.

They feel humiliated. Sometimes they discover the online porn because their husbands sexual desire for them has decreased and their lovemaking is much less frequent.

 

Online porn can become and often is an addiction. It can be much harder to break than one first realizes.. This kind of addiction does not necessarily arise because the husband feels that his wife is undesirable, but because it is so much easier to relate in a fantasy mode than with a real flesh and blood person. In fantasy, one does not have to meet the needs of the other, they do not have to prove themselves in anyway.

 

These fantasy situations can also provide all kinds of highs and excitement that a real flesh and blood relationship is not able to offer anymore. For some men, after being addicted to online porn it is boring or difficult to have that much sexual interest in their wives any longer. This can become a serious problem which requires professional help.

 

In these cases, it is necessary to let your husband know that this behavior is unacceptable, that it is unhealthy, bad for your self respect and sense of self esteem. Boundaries have to be firmly set here. Many men minimize their involvement with online porn, and do not realize the consequences this activity is having and what a threat it is to their marriage. 

 

Awareness must be brought to this situation. Even though the man minimizes it, the woman must hold onto her own reality and need for respect. She must not deny the way you she is feeling, but see to it that professional help is sought if he cannot stop by himself.

 

It is always better to do this sooner than later. The longer an addiction grows the harder it can be to let go of. It is important to recognize these threats to your marriage for what they are, not blame yourself for them or brush them under the table, but to face the issues directly in a constructive and hopeful way. Let your partner know that together you can find a solution that works for both of you.

 

Blaming the self or blaming the other is never helpful and leads nowhere. Acceptance, communication and understanding, however, always go a long way. Needless to say, both must be willing to work on this together. If the partner is not willing to deal with it, then the woman should seek help for herself in making constructive choices for her own life.

 

All marriages go through challenges. Whether these challenges destroy your relationship or make it stronger, is up to both of you. It takes two to make this commitment, however. One person cannot do it alone. Cc/author/2005

         *              *                 *                    *               *

 Discover more surprising truths about love which will save your relationship or make it the best it can be. Check Dr. Shoshanna’s new e-book Save Your Relationship, (21 Basic Laws of Successful Relationships), http://www.truthaboutlove.com. Dr. Shoshanna is a psychologist, and relationship expert who shows you why and how it is impossible to fail at love. She is the author of many books including The Anger Diet, Zen and the Art of Falling in Love and others. Contact her at topspeaker@yahoo.com, http://www.brendashoshanna.com

 

 

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