Infidelity and Anonymous Sex
Internet based affairs and infidelity are becoming very common, perhaps the most common relational issue Dr. Paul Standal has been seeing with couples in distress in the last two years. The spectrum of infidelity is broad, ranging from casual use of internet porn to years-long affairs unknown to the spouse where the offending partner has set up an entire second family household.
Depending on their values, some couples may feel the use of pornography is a violation of trust and is viewed as an affair. When an extramarital sexual encounter is revealed and the partner is sufficiently distressed is usually when Dr. Standal sees a couple in his office.
Considering the level of betrayal the offended partner feels and the degree that they experience their trust has been violated, the damage is sometimes irreparable. In order to heal infidelity after the affair, you have to prioritize your relationship with the aggrieved party actively participating and be proactive with that partner in terms of doing behavioral repair.
Dr. Standal tries to help couples understand what has happened to them and help them understand the stages of repair, recovery and forgiveness that must take place in order to accommodate the beterayal. He explores and address common triggers, justifications and unrealistic expectations about marriage and relationships as well as other contributing factors, like substance use, that may have led to the extramarital sexual contacts.
He teaches concrete strategies to help the offended partner regain trust and to reach for possible forgiveness. He explores the ways that the offending partner can make amends to their partner and to help them understand, with empathy, the pain that they have caused someone they, in most cases, love.
The positive component of affairs is that they are often an impetus to growth and development for the couple. They learn what may be the unrealistic ideas about love and marriage that contributed to the breach in their relationship. Dr. Standal helps them find what may have been missing in their relationship that could have triggered the lack of intimacy or real engagemant. He helps couples learn to rekindle the spark that had been lost and to re-engage with each other emotionally and sexually.
Finally, he discusses the differences between married men and women in their personal meanings about their own and their spouse’s affair as well as differences in how they may approach possible reconciliation and forgivness.