It may surprise you that neither of you are the martyr, the saint, the victim nor the perpetrator. You are bothall.
As tempting as it is, to identify with one of these roles, infidelity is a joint decision, whether it’s overtly consensual or not.
Affairs are characterised by their secrecy, the adventure, the thrill, the newness, the risk-taking. They are also defined by a need for validation and connection. Many describe feeling “alive” as a consequence of having an affair.
What are you contributing to in your relationship? Are you both working at keeping things alive, have you forgotten to recognise and affirm one another? Are you bored and don’t have the courage to admit this to your partner and seek adventure elsewhere? How honest are you both in your relationship? How openly do you communicate? Are you able to express your true needs?
Recognising your contribution, or the lack thereof, to your relationship could open up new insights, deeper connections and a different dialogue between you both.
Infidelity is a symptom, looking at the causes jointly will give you insights and information about what you both need in your relationship. Admittedly, it is difficult to re-establish trust and the relationship needs to be re-evaluated and reframed if you choose to remain together.
Recognising the role you have played and understanding your internal dynamics and actions, will benefit you in the long run, should you remain in your current relationship.
If you choose to move on, these insights about yourself will benefit you in your next significant relationship. It’s easy to blame the other for transgressions but not that easy to examine your own contribution to the causes of infidelity.
Failing to integrate your role and your contribution means that you will continue to re-enact these behaviours and the cycle will continue – whether this cycle is one of infidelity or betrayal.
.Louisa is a psychotherapist with a specialisation in Trauma Therapy. She consults internationally and in South Africa, to a broad base of clients, pertaining to relationships, personal growth, trauma, conflict management and self- actualisation. She has a particular interest in the psychology of love, mid-life transition and awakening. Unconscious motivators for behaviour, drives and relationships motivated Louisa to establish an academy for adult actualisation, specialising in relationship insights and intrinsic growth using the principles of depth psychology. Louisa is a frequent contributor to Radio 702 and DSTVtv’s Real Health.