Major news agencies are reporting that hackers have fulfilled their promise to release the names of 32 million subscribers of a popular website whose motto is “Life is short, Have an Affair.”
While it may be difficult for many to conjure a lot of sympathy for the people who have subscribed to these sites, I have worked with 100’s of couples who are fighting their way back from the pain of infidelity and I know that this latest development, while not entirely unwelcome, is nothing to laugh or crow about. Infidelity hurts. It is sad. It is traumatic. It is, unfortunately, common. About 25% of marriage suffer infidelity. There are going to be a lot of people hurting on a lot of levels once this information gets wider circulation.
The Good News.
The good news is that there are effective ways to heal the hurt cause by infidelity or even attempted infidelity. That said, couples should NEVER try to recover from infidelity on their own. Why? Because people who cheat tend to have very poor insight into the causes of infidelity. Most of the time, they simply want to say, “Look. It’s over. Let’s just move on.” The problem is always deeper however. For many, infidelity is a way to self-medicate for an untreated depression. For others, infidelity is the result of a longstanding tendency to avoid conflict, fail to advocate for needs effectively, stuff their feelings, and, instead of taking responsibility for working on the relationship, blaming their partner for just “not getting” them. These are all problems that, without proper treatment, will either continue to lead to long-term marital dissatisfaction, greater depression, or subsequent occasions of infidelity driven by a faulty attempt to resolve the ongoing underlying problems.
A great resource for infidelity recover is the book Getting Past the Affair by Donald Baucom. It is a research-based step-by-step outline to help couples know what they need to look at to heal. Another helpful book is my title, When Divorce is NOT An Option which looks at the 8 habits that research shows separate what marriage therapists call Marriage Masters from Marriage Disasters. These habits can be taught to any couple and can lead both to deep healing and a much more rewarding relationship.
Retrouvaille can also be a tremendous support. It is a program that helps struggling couples begin to trust and communicate effectively once again. Even so, couples will want to do more than some self-help reading and peer support. They will need counseling. Make sure that you find a Marriage-Friendly marital therapist. Marriage Friendly marital therapists have actually received specific training and supervision in marital therapy (many therapists who claim to practice marital therapy DO NOT have appropriate training or supervision in the latest, most effective approaches to marital counseling) and they believe that marriage is worth saving. Typically, marriage-friendly therapist have success rates well over 90% compared to other therapists which tend to hover around the low 30%.
If you are looking for faith-based marriage-friendly therapy, I would encourage you to contact me to learn more about how the Pastoral Solutions Institute’s Catholic tele-counseling practice can help you and your spouse find marital healing. We practice both couple and solo-spouse marital therapy (and although couple’s counseling is more desirable, is still remarkably effective when conducted by a therapist trained to do it) in a faith-integrated context. You can learn more at our website or contact us for a free evaluation by calling 740-266-6461.
The Bottom Line
Research shows that most couples suffer for 4-6 years from the onset of a problem to the time they seek help. Don’t wait. If you are suffering from the pain of infidelity there is hope, there is healing.