Of course, I think infidelity prevention courses should be offered in schools, adult education programs, offsite workshops (on the to-do list), etc. Books help, as long as people are picking them up, but hands-on information speaks volumes. It’s valuable to hear stories, lessons learned, and healthier choices expressed from those who have explored their options and gone with growth.
It’s also interesting to me, and somewhat unsettling, that a therapist (for good reason) thinks this is an interesting question–that also speaks volumes.
EML: Why isn’t infidelity prevention more prevalent?
This is an interesting question. I don’t know the exact reason, but I’m going to give it my best guess.
As a marriage therapist, I’ve seen many couples who struggle with different areas of their relationship. Communication, emotional and physical intimacy, and not speaking each other’s love languages are some instances why people may stray and cheat in their marriages. I’m what is called a pro-marriage therapist. In other words, I work to help couples stay married and keep the promise they made to each other when they said their vows.
I think that there isn’t more infidelity prevention because some professionals working with couples don’t take a stand for fidelity. I’ve had many couples come to me telling me their past therapist told them to split up or divorce. In other words, they don’t talk about how cheating happens or teach couples how to manage boundaries with the opposite sex in a healthy way. They also may not teach about the pain cheating inflicts upon those that are impacted by it.
I also think the media contributes to infidelity. So many movies, television, and Netflix shows glorify cheating and make it look exciting, fun, and romantic. They don’t always show the aftermath and pain of the broken families that were affected by betrayal.
It’s always worthwhile to consider how your decisions might impact others when you change lives without any input from people whose lives you are changing.
Sounds like the professional ranks could use some insight as well!
I’ve had a run-in with a therapist (it had nothing to do with infidelity, but was relationship-oriented) who was an infuriating piece of work. She bordered on unethical, no, I’m going to say full-blown unethical. She tested my patience and anger on a few levels. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to choose or engage in that battle because of extenuating circumstances. It was a single instance, but, a tough one.
If seeking professional input, make sure to inform a therapist of the desire to work through issues toward becoming a stronger, evolved partnership. Ask questions, no matter how trivial. In return, be open to their questions. Part of the process includes trial, error, and trust of instincts. If the guidance given isn’t in line with the intention, it’s okay to step away and look elsewhere.
Above all, be mindful and accountable to your needs. Only you can truly decide what that may be. With a partner or not, your future self depends on it.
**(Cathy Chambliss: 310-303-9132)