Almost fifty percent of married people still divorce. Many of these marriages end as a result of infidelity, perhaps as high as one third. Over half of all married couples will experience infidelity at some point in their marriage. Forty percent of Americans say marriage as an institution is “obsolete.” Does this mean that as a society we are no longer maintaining monogamy as a norm? Or are we just simply incapable of sexual fidelity in committed partnerships?
And how do we help couples who want it? Betrayal happens in marriage, open relationships, polyamory and anywhere that commitments are made. There are specific trauma reactions to being hurt that are unparalleled in any other type of hurt. And there are specific stages of recovery, both for individuals and couples who are recovering. And for the outside lover, ending an affair with integrity and healing has special and separate meaning as well.
Can affairs and the betrayal that is created by dishonesty, hiding and lying, be a cultural imperative, created to enhance the secrecy inherent in infidelity? Can couples after an affair move into open sexual and emotional behaviors, have sexual and emotional relationships with others as long as there is complete honesty and disclosure and does it work?
More and more couples are broadening their understanding of what commitment and monogamy means to them, without giving up the desire for a long-term, committed relationship with one person. This new monogamy could lead to a new development in society and sexual freedom altogether. But we need to know how to heal the hurt first. Find the skills and strategies necessary to create a new conversation in partnerships.
Therapists and healers can help couples determine new monogamy agreements that include updated guidelines of honesty and disclosure, privacy and secrecy directives and other issues of integrity. The new monogamy is fluid, honest, pleasure based, experimental and joyful.