AirTalk for November 7, 2013

Can affairs actually be good for marriage?

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Could infidelity be good for a relationship?

Some therapists are now advocating the concept that affairs can save and strengthen a marriage. The idea is that the affair can be a wake-up-call for the couple, and be used as an opportunity to directly confront issues in the relationship. In other words, the affair can be the catalyst that can save their marriage.

The entire profession does not embrace the view, but a handful are arguing affairs do not have to end a marriage. As Hanna Rosin points out in her piece, “The Upside of Infidelity, even at an annual conference for Family Therapy, a panel was dedicated to the transformation affairs can have in a relationship. The therapists advocating for looking at the benefits of affairs, claim the focus should not be on blame, but what emotions cause the affair to take place.

Another way of looking at it is treating affairs like a trauma that can cause obsessive behavior. It’s about moving the affair to being the focal point and getting to the real issues in the relationships.

How would you cope if your spouse had an affair? Do you think a marriage can be strengthened after an affair? Can talking about the affair reveal underlying problems in the relationship?

Guest:
Emily Brown, long-time therapist specializing in extramarital affairs, Key Bridge Therapy and Mediation Center in Arlington, VA


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