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What Should You Do When Infidelity Occurs?

Infidelity is a very common problem that people come to see a counselor about. So why do people cheat on each other in this way? There can be many reasons. Two common ones are that they are not happy with either their:

  • relationship (or sexual aspects of it) and rather than fix it, they seek fulfillment elsewhere
  • life and think that the excitement of an affair will add the thrill and happiness they desire.​

Let’s look at each of these reasons separately.

Why do they look elsewhere rather than fixing the relationship they have?

Creating a strong relationship takes work and lots of clear communication. Sometimes people just don’t know how to go about discussing these sorts of personal issues. Or they don’t want to bother doing the work that it takes.
A counselor can help you learn how to communicate better, even about sexual issues. They can also make you aware of what it takes to keep a relationship or a marriage together for the long haul.

Why are they always seeking more and more stimulation in life?

Many people don’t know how to find truly satisfying contentment within themselves. They wrongly think that other people should provide it for them (i.e. make them happy) or that things (big cars etc) will make them feel this way. Some turn to drugs and alcohol for the same reasons. So they are constantly trying to find the next new thing that will stimulate them. But it is a search that brings temporary fleeting moments of happiness but not the deep fulfillment they are really craving. Sometimes they won’t even admit to themselves that this is the real reason they have had an affair.

So what should you do if your partner has been having an affair?

Naturally some people react with anger or sadness when they find out their partner has been cheating on them. Of course, it is up to you if you want to end the relationship or not. In the end, generally both people in the relationship suffer.

At this point intensive counseling is the best way forward. It can bring the sort of focus that is needed to work out whether to move forward with the relationship or to end it. Work can often be done to work out the real reasons why the person involved committed the infidelity.

Sometimes during the intensive, a good therapist will spend time alone with each person. Sometimes the guilty partner won’t admit to the fact that he or she has been having the affair. And even alone with the therapist (who will always keep what they say totally confidential and won’t even tell their partner what they have said), they can still deny it and it can take a bit of psychological pressure to get them to break down their resistance and admit the truth.

Once the truth is revealed, it is course a lot easier to do the work to either repair the relationship (if that was part of the issue) or to help each person learn how to find greater inner fulfillment. Sometimes this can lead to a strong relationship built on greater communication and trust. Or it can lead to an amicably arranged divorce, but where each person goes forward with a greater understanding of how to build future relationships and to find happiness in themselves.