It can tear at the very fabric of a relationship.
I see couples devastated by this every day I am at my office. And yet, I find that many of these couples find away to heal from the crisis and develop more evolved, more connected and more loving relationships than they had ever had before.
I work with some of these couples on a weekly basis; others come for a weekend intensive. However the couple decides to proceed with me, the success of the therapeutic process hinges on one main factor- the willingness for both people to look at how they deal with fear and make different choices!
Like I have said so many times before- the cheater is the only one responsible for his or her behavior.
However, in order for healing to take place, both partners must be willing to look at how they handle fear. Reaction to fear causes partners to withdraw or retreat. Reaction to fear causes partners to bicker and have hostility.
Here are some fears that (if we are unaware and unconscious) can lead to deterioration of relationships:
- Fear of abandonment
- Fear of rejection
- Fear of being inadequate
- Fear of losing one’s individuality
- Fear of being trapped
- Fear of conflict
Of course this isn’t a complete list.
Each partner needs to notice their fear(s), where it is felt in the body and what the fear represents such as one of the six I mention in the list above.
Then each partner practices moving in the direction of what scares them as opposed to away.
For example, I have had successful work with a couple recently where the man was fearful of being judged. When his wife had some negative feedback, instead of getting defensive (his reflex action) he felt the fear and instead moved towards her (physically) and more importantly did a great job of listening. He was able to practice repeating the non-reflex response and stayed open when they had dialogues at home as well. He is working on her reflexive reactions towards fear as well.
I see progress and so do they.
As they continue their good work, the relationship will be experienced as safe for both partners and this will be a time to celebrate their transformation from a couple in crisis to a couple who is thriving.
I am here for any couple that wants to experience this healing process. I wish you the best.