Couple crises triggered by one or more infidelities are one of the most common causes for which people seek professional psychological help. And is not for less; It is estimated that in the average relationship there is approximately a 25% probability that at least one infidelity will occur, at least in Western societies.
But despite the fact that in recent years couples therapy has become more and more "mainstream", in the sense that it has become very normal to go to professional experts in this field, the normal thing is that even those who have already decided that they will attend a first session they do not know very well what awaits them throughout a therapeutic process of this type, and even less if the problem to be treated has to do with someone being unfaithful. Therefore, in this article we will see a summary of what is done in couples therapy applied to the crisis of infidelity.
What do you do in relationship therapy for problems related to infidelity?
These are the main key ideas you should know to understand what is done in couples therapy in the face of an infidelity crisis.
1. Redirect the problem to the facts, not the people
One of the key aspects of couples therapy has to do with not focusing on the "ways of being" of people, but on the behavior patterns that each one reproduces, and how these shape the relationship. That is, it is avoided to speak from an essentialist perspective (for example, assuming that the ways of behaving of each one directly reflect their identity, what they really are), because this way of being things does not allow to improve and / or repair damage where possible.
To achieve this, the therapy sessions apply techniques designed so that each one stops taking for granted that he knows the other and that he knows himself, to go on to directly analyze behavior patterns and draw conclusions from these facts.
2. Detect problems in context
Not all problem behaviors are well explained by focusing on the individual; Many times, it is necessary to give as much or more importance to the context in which the behaviors and interactions between the partners take place.
In fact, it is not uncommon for the main trigger for infidelity and the resulting crisis not so much in the relationship as in something that exists independently of it. And even when the trigger is mainly in the relationship, many times it is about aspects that neither of them had given importance to until that moment, and from which it is not difficult to let go.
3. Seek reparation, not penance
Couples therapy is not a place to go to show the other person that we are right by putting the psychologist or psychologist on our side. In any case, it seeks to find a balance of honesty and commitment that has been broken (or perhaps never existed) and, when it is not possible, to give way to the break without causing major damage. And this happens by openly acknowledging that the other person has been harmed, in one case, and that the other person has harmed us, on the other.
Of course, it must be clear that in cases of infidelity, it is an essential requirement that before starting couple therapy, affective / sexual contacts with the third person have already stopped.
4. Adopt new communication dynamics
It is important to make adjustments in the dynamics of interaction that have to do with communicating the need for affection, for physical proximity. If not, it is easy for taboo topics to appear that only serve to build up the frustration of not being able to behave and speak normally. This happens, as we have seen, by repairing the damage done. as far as possible and for the reconstruction of the commitment.
5. Examine possible grounds for self-sabotage
In affective relationships, self-sabotage is relatively common, and many times this leads to harming the other person for not having thought enough about the consequences of our actions. Therefore, in couples therapy, you learn to detect and identify as such those thoughts that can serve as a self-excuse to increase the possibility of committing infidelities. And, in such cases, you can think about what it is that has triggered that thought or feeling.
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