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

Blame versus responsibility

The spouse, who is a victim of infidelity, often feels or is made to feel that since it takes two to tango, he/she too must be at fault somewhere. This leads to self-blame and/or other-blame as self-defence, thus making it even more difficult to move forward.

Blame and responsibility are often confused. Blame is unnecessary, unhelpful and unproductive. It carries a moral stigma, and suggests that not only did you cause something to happen, but that you should be condemned and punished for it. No one wants to feel this way, and therefore, the fear of such blame tempts one to deny all accountability.

Self-blame leads to guilt, and when one engages in it too much, there is tendency to repeat the same action over and over. This is because valuable time that could have been spent in learning from past mistakes has been spent in self-bashing, and therefore no learning from the past takes place.

Other-blame leads to anger and a knee-jerk reaction. Anger clouds clarity of thought and reactions only invite counter-reactions, while no real problem-solving and learning takes place. Therefore, blame retards change, correction, learning and growth.

Responsibility, however, is a useful and growth-oriented concept. Seeing yourself and others as responsible or accountable for one’s actions motivates change; not because you ‘should’ change; but because you ‘want’ and ‘choose’ growth and a more enlightened way of life. Taking responsibility and allocating responsibility, therefore, brings with it new and more mature ways of thinking and acting.

Therefore, neither the perpetrator nor the victim of infidelity should get into a mindset of blame, but instead own responsibility and change what needs to be changed in the relationship dynamics and/or in oneself, as the case maybe.

Enhancing intimacy

Here are some measures to prevent infidelity and strengthen bedroom intimacy:

Interesting conversations on topics of mutual interest keep the relationship stimulating, enhancing the interest quotient of the relationship.

Naughty endearments keep the specialness of the relationship intact, enhancing the fondness quotient of the relationship.

Time together doing activities that both enjoy, enhancing the companionship quotient of the relationship.

Intimate touching keeps the passion alive, enhancing the sensuality quotient of the relationship.

Memory lane trips to recount cherished memories of happy moments together, enhancing the happiness quotient of the relationship.

Acceptance of your own contaminating attitudes and behaviours that cause angst in the other and injure the relationship, enhancing the health quotient of the relationship.

Communication that is clear, constructive, continuous and complete at all times, disallowing any accumulation of unaddressed issues that create an invisible wall between the two, enhancing the authenticity quotient of the relationship.

Yearly affirmation of your love on your anniversary by renewing your marriage vows, which are honest and self-written. This practice helps to map how the relationship is growing and evolving, and reaffirms the fact that you are freshly ‘choosing’ to be with your partner in this relationship. When we make love and marriage a conscious decision, and not a duty to be performed out of social obligation or contract, the quality of the relationship changes. Affirm that you are in the relationship because you ‘want to’ and not because you ‘have to’, enhancing the love quotient of the relationship.

To conclude, it goes without saying, that only whole, healed and healthy individuals can have healthy and growing relationships. And only then can the erosion of a relationship through infidelity be truly curbed.

This was first published in the March 2013 issue of Complete Wellbeing.

Magnifying lens over an exclamation markSpot an error in this article? A typo maybe? Or an incorrect source? Let us know!

1
2
3
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.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here