Frequently Asked Questions, FAQs

Q: If my partner is having an affair, does that mean he/she is unhappy in the marriage?

A: The latest research / statistics has surprisingly indicated that even very happily married spouses have affairs. But, a good look at the marriage is a smart idea if reconciliation is planned.

Q: Are relationships more vulnerable at some times than other?

A: Most certainly when spouses are under stress, very preoccupied with external issues, or undergoing a personal crisis, affairs are more likely to occur. If this happens early in the marriage the relationship is even more at risk for divorce.

Q: Do you have to have intercourse for it to be considered an affair?

A: No, even kissing or touching in a romantic way is infidelity. Even more surprising is that “emotional affairs” don’t necessarily involve physical contact and are the most toxic of all affairs because of the intimacy and secrets that are shared. The three elements cited by Shirley Glass, Ph. D., an expert in infidelity, that determine whether a relationship should be considered an affair are:

  1. Emotional intimacy
  2. Sharing secrets
  3. Sexual attraction or “chemistry” even if it is not acted upon physically

Q: What are some current trends in infidelity?

A:

  1. More married women are having affairs than in the past.
  2. More happily married men are having affairs than were in the past.
  3. Cyber affairs are growing at a fast rate.

Q: Can a relationship be saved after an affair?

A: Yes, but it takes a lot of hard work, commitment, and often therapy.

Q: Are there some things that indicate a marriage is more likely to recover?

A: Yes.

  1. If there is sincere remorse, abject apologies, and repetitive ongoing reassurances from the unfaithful partner.
  2. If the betrayed partner is able to demonstrate emotional resilience and flexibility during the stages of the healing process.
  3. If the unfaithful partner is willing to truly accept the responsibility for the damage his/her behavior caused.
  4. If the unfaithful partner stops the affair sooner rather than later and stops all deceit.
  5. If the betrayed partner is willing to practice techniques to “contain” and constructively express their distress (after the initial shock is over).

Q: Can a relationship recover without a therapist?

A: Yes, but often there is more thorough healing and growth when a therapist facilitates the process. Some couples stay together but retain resentment and unfinished business. The goal is to build a stronger relationship than ever before and “affair-proof” the marriage for the future.

Q: What are the most important features of rebuilding trust?

A: There needs to be relationship safety for both partners but especially for the betrayed spouse in the beginning of the process this entails accountability, total honestly and full disclosure. As the process proceeds there needs to be sharing and intimacy that excludes all external people and creates a special “bond” and closeness between the two partners in the relationship.

Q: What can you do if your partner won’t stop seeing the affair partner?

A: The “last-resort technique” is outlined in a book, Divorce Remedy by Michele Weiner Davis and has several suggestions worth reading and following. (Also, if necessary, read “after the last-resort technique” in the same book.) You will likely need the help and support of friends and, likely, a therapist to implement some of these strategies.

There is more information available on this topic, if you still have questions not answered by this section please call me. I’m usually available within 24-48 hrs to answer questions, schedule phone coaching sessions or office coaching/therapy sessions, or direct you to other resources.

Remember:  Research / statistics on infidelity indicates that receiving counseling after the discovery of an affair is the single best predictor of recovery.

Affair and Infidelity Marriage Counselor and Counseling Resources

Judith Barnett

Judith Barnett, Ph.D, Clinical Psychologist, Marriage Counselor & Infidelity Specialist in Chapel Hill, NC
20 Years Experience


Completed Externship in Emotionally Focused Therapy, June, 2011

Services Available:

-Certified Imago Relationship  Therapist & Marriage Counselor
-Individual Psychotherapy
-Marriage Counseling
-Relationship Counseling
-Imago Relationship Therapy
-Emotionally Focused Therapy for  couples: Completed Externship in  Emotionally Focused Therapy, June,  2011.
-Relationship Coaching
-Phone Consultations & Coaching  Sessions

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