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Marriage Counseling
Infidelity: Use the Symptom to Find the Cure

If we psychologists know anything about infidelity it is that infidelity is seldom just about sex. Infidelity is a symptom, just as a sore throat is about a cold coming on, or that whirring/pinging sound under your car hood is about a loose belt. Symptoms tell us there is a problem needing attending to. If you have a sore throat you should rest, drink fluids and take some aspirin. If you press on through, chances are your cold will be twice as bad. Likewise, if you ignore the whirring/pinging sound coming from under your car hood, you risk having a belt break and cause greater damage to your car than if you took it to the mechanic right away. Infidelity is like that. There were probably symptoms long before the first act of indiscretion, but no one was looking or listening for it.

The really difficult part though is figuring out what the symptom is telling you. Usually infidelity is a big secret so it is not likely that the family is talking about it openly, even if they know about it. What's more, the person engaging in the action isn't always very open to discussing his or her misbehavior with the family. But talking about the symptom is exactly what is needed to get to the bottom of the problem. No doubt the talking should take place with a professional marriage therapist.

So why are partners unfaithful to each other? There are as many reasons as there are people. Each of us is wired slightly differently and each of us breaks down slightly differently. The issue here is not to blame or focus narrowly on the indiscretion, but to search for the root or roots of the problems, and then to build an intervention. When you are in the middle of this kind of emotional uproar, you aren't always capable of thinking clearly on your own. You need the objective guidance of a professional trained in helping families heal from psychological assaults. Plus the natural tendency of all families is to cover up problems in the mistaken belief that doing so will keep the family safe.

Dr. Kathy Marshack can help you. She is accepting new clients and has two office locations for your convenience. If you live in the Portland, Oregon or Vancouver, Washington area (or can drive to these locations) please call to set up your first appointment. See Therapy FAQs for more information. Please give us a call at (360) 256-0448 or (503) 222-6678 or email us info@kmarshack.com.