So much has been written and studied on the topic of “infidelity”. The betrayed partner typically has plenty of support in the aftermath of an affair, however, there are few resources for cheaters themselves.
People cheat for many reasons. Some people cheat because they are unhappy in their marriage while others are happy in their marriage and cheat for reasons that have nothing to do with their partners. There are many different layers to infidelity.
There is a lot to consider when you have cheated. Having an affair can be a wonderful fantasy. It takes you away from day to day responsibilities and sometimes daily boredom. It provides a sense of excitement. There is a lot of thought going into planning the date, meeting, texting and thoughts of what you will be wearing to make this a seductive evening. The focus is on one another; no distractions. How can this not be wonderful? Imagine what it would be like if you dedicated one tenth of the attention to your relationship that you put in the affair?
Questions to ask yourself include:
Am I willing to give up my family life and children for this affair?
Do I need to end my marriage because of this affair?
Am I highlighting the good in this affair and not looking at the entire picture?
Do I tell my partner I have cheated?
Have I taken a good look at myself in therapy?
Have we tried couples therapy?
Do I fully know what happened in my relationship so that I avoid it happening to me again?
What does this affair provide for me that I am unable to get with my partner?
Regardless of whether your relationship survives the infidelity, it is worth doing the work in therapy to process the affair as it will benefit both partners in avoiding a repeat in the next relationship. There are stages of hurt, grief and betrayal on one side and deep worry, fear and guilt on the other. Being curious about what led you down this path is an opportunity for personal growth and self discovery. In many cases, disclosure of the affair can bring a couple closer and provide improved communication that was once lacking. Having support during this process can be very helpful not only for you, but for your partner and your family.
As Esther Perel, renowned couples therapist, mentor and colleague of mine said, “Today in the west most of us are going to have two or three relationships or marriages and some of us are going to do it with the same person. Your first marriage is over, would you like to create a second one together?
At The Hellenic Therapy Center, 567 Park Avenue, Scotch Plains, New Jersey, we have a team of licensed professionals available day, evening and weekend hours. Visit us www.hellenictherapy.com or FB or call 908-322-0112. Maria Sikoutris Di Iorio is Clinical Director at Hellenic Therapy Center, with over thirty years of experience as a Marriage & Family Therapist and writes a weekly column for TAPinto in Scotch Plains and Westfield, New Jersey.