To deal with infidelity, first understand its causes

A relationship counsellor identifies the various reasons and forms in which infidelity occurs, and the mindset of the one who strays

Identifying infidelity

Some of the symptoms to identify infidelity in your partner could be:

  • a marked change in sexual appetite [increase or decrease]
  • a marked change in attentiveness [increase or decrease]
  • an increased preoccupation with grooming
  • a marked increase in cell phone or use of internet in secret, possessiveness of the cell phone,
  • aloofness or disinterest in communication with you
  • a sudden interest in romantic love songs [listening endlessly, as a ring tone, as a caller tune]
  • an increase in sudden overtime at work or unexplained disappearance from work/home with urgent-sounding excuses
  • effusively encouraging you for travel trips and/or absence from the house, and
  • a marked increase in gifting to you.

Any deviation from the normal relating style could call for exploring whether all is well in the relationship.

The way forward

In case of infidelity, you must seek counselling, both in person and as a couple. If there is boredom, entitlement issues, the need for reassurance, online flirtations and re-igniting of old affairs, they would need to be helped in personal counselling. Methods used could be

  • catharsis to address unresolved issues of the past with healing of the ‘inner child’
  • cognitive re-structuring
  • behaviour modification
  • objective evaluation of whether the affair ever had or has the potential for long-term happiness with a pros-and-cons analysis.

Consequential thinking is also taught where you learn that freedom of choice comes bundled with the consequences of that choice, so that the delusion of being able to ‘have your cake and eat it too’ is demolished.

If a mood disorder is identified, medication under psychiatric supervision is recommended.

If there is discontentment and distress in the relationship, then couple’s counselling is recommended to address the unhealthy relationship dynamics in order to sensitise both partners to the relationship needs of each other and negotiate the relationship in a mutually fulfilling way, or then to help facilitate an amicable separation so that both are free to pursue their happiness away from the relationship.

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Minnu Bhonsle
Dr Minnu R Bhonsle, PhD, is a Mumbai-based consulting psychotherapist and counsellor. She conducts training programmes in Personal Counselling [Client-centred Therapy] and Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy, and also workshops in Stress Management, Art of Listening, Couple Therapy, and Communication Skills. Minnu has co-authored the book, The Ultimate Sex Education Guide along with Dr Rajan Bhonsle.

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