One of the most common reasons couples come to me is affairs. They may be purely emotional, purely physical, or some of each. They could be a brief interlude or a decades-long relationship. One partner may have strayed or both. And despite what I think most people's intuition is, in my experience if the couple is willing to work on it almost all of these couples have stayed together. While the devastation of this kind of betrayal is certainly enormous it is capable of being healed. And not only that but it can also lead to a kind of exploration of the basic tenants of the relationship that allow for tremendous growth and change. Most of my affair couples tell me that after doing the hard work of healing that their current relationship is actually much better than it was for years preceding the affair.
If you have read my blog before you know that I practice PACT -- the Psychobiological Approach to Couples Therapy. This approach was developed by Stan Tatkin, PsyD and incorporates brain science and attachment theory into couples work. I find it to be a brilliant, dynamic and exciting type of work that produces faster and deeper results than most couples therapies available.
In regards to the specific problem of affairs, Dr. Tatkin did an interview with Dr. Diane Poole Heller in which they discussed how affairs in our adult relationships are often related to problems with our attachment to our caregivers as children. The interview is presented in two parts:
If you are wanting to heal from an affair or learn more about couples dynamics in general I highly recommend watching these interview segments. More information can also be found in Dr. Tatkin's audio program Your Brain On Love", which is available on iTunes, Amazon or at www.soundstrue.com
Krista Jordan, Ph.D., ABPP
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