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Tom a composite portrait came to see me because he was troubled by an extra-marital affair he was having.
It was a serious affair and he was considering leaving his wife, Susan, for his affair partner, Karen. He had been married 20 years and had two teenage children, a boy and girl. Tom felt guilt -ridden about contemplating breaking up the family and perhaps becoming alienated from his children. Was it right to put his own romantic happiness ahead of what might be best for his family? Several months into the treatment, Tom accidentally texted his wife a message meant for his affair partner.
Susan was understandably hurt and humiliated. She was still open to reconciling if Tom was willing to immediately end the relationship with Karen. At the moment of truth, Tom decided to separate from Susan, so that he could be with Karen. Susan told the children and her parents that Tom was leaving her to be with another woman and his children as well as his in-laws stopped speaking to him. Karen Pana IL cheating wives ambivalent that Tom had left his wife for her. Maybe he only had himself to blame as certainly it seemed that everyone else blamed Tom for ruining their lives.
How could I help Tom learn from his mistakes and rectify his mistakes to the degree possible rather than just beat himself up for his misdeeds?
Infidelityas opposed to consensual nonmonogamyis unethical because it involves violating a commitment in a deceitful way, so it is a betrayal of trust. From a therapeutic viewpoint, it is never too late to learn how to live more authentically.
Authenticity has been defined as being willing to take risks for intimacy and believing that deception is unacceptable. Moving forward, Tom could begin to recover his self-respect by learning to live more authentically:. All Tom could do is try to make amends as best he could for the hurt that his dishonesty caused others. A year later Tom is still with Karen and their relationship is a work in progress. The children have begun talking to Tom again.
His in-laws want nothing to do with Tom, though he liked them, and his parents have adjusted to their disappointment in him. Tom lost a few friends who remain close to Susan. Compassion, rather than moralistic judgment, is more likely to help unfaithful partners assume responsibility for the harm they have caused others and help them move forward in life as someone who lives honestly and honors commitments even if it requires self-sacrifice.
Josephs, L. American Psychological Association: Washington, D. Lawrence Josephs, Ph. His research focuses on infidelity and the role of authenticity in intimate relationships. Between the Sheets. Do Cheaters Deserve Compassion? Helping unfaithful partners deal with their shame and guilt. Posted August 17, Share. References Josephs, L. About the Author. Online: Restoring Trust After Infidelity: video. Read Next. Back Psychology Today. Back Find a Therapist. Back Get Help. Personality Passive Aggression Personality Shyness. Family Life Child Development Parenting. View Help Index.
Do I Need Help? Back Magazine. July Who Is the True You? Back Today. Essential Re.Pana IL cheating wives
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