Out Beyond Ideas of Right Doing.. and Wrong Doing.. There Is A Field.. I’ll Meet You There.. ~ Rumi.
Why Infidelity? I know it is almost Valentine’s Day and I should be writing my blog about hearts and flowers and chocolates, but I am a couples therapist… and I lead couples workshops… and many times I hold space for couples as they struggle with the aftermath of infidelity and affairs. So though I am a romantic and do believe in relationships and marriages and love, I do want to tackle this painful subject.
Deal Breaker or Game Changer? reality is, I have seen both. I have seen ‘one-night-stands’ end a long-term solid relationship with kids and all — and, I have witnessed long-term affairs turn relationships around and create a solid new platform for a transformed strong relationship.
At times infidelity can be the proverbial ‘canary in the coal mine‘, alerting the couple that there are serious problems that need to be attended to. If they listen to the ‘wake up’ call, and realize they are about to lose their marriage and their family, they may set to work and change.
So many times affairs are like a ‘relationship suicide attempt‘. They are a call for help. Whether a series of unfortunate events, or a moment by the copy machine at work, or an old flame contacting you on Facebook, there are so many ways to reach out of the boundaries of the relationship. The truth is it happens all the time. The question is: what do we do about it…
At times an affair can be a transformation. When both people in the partnership realize they have been neglecting the relationship and each other and though the hurt and pain of the betrayal is excruciating, they are willing to see that ‘it takes two to tango’. Owning to their steps in the dance of pain and betrayals, the couple can then begin to see that they care and long for their partner.
With lots of work, and many times with couples therapy, partners can begin to rebuild trust, create connection, transparency and love.
At times this is like a ‘phoenix that comes out of the ashes’ — the old relationship had to die and be grieved for, but the new relationship brings about changes and transformation that can be remarkable.
In her book Mating In Captivity, Esther Perel talks about how hard it is for long-term relations to keep the aliveness in their relationship and how often couples fall into despair, affairs, obliviousness and numbness as a result of the “not-paying attention”. She talks about the need to regenerate, to be transparent, and to be vulnerable in the relationship. Perel writes:
“I was really interested in what makes a couple feel a sense of aliveness, vibrancy, vitality—of Eros as a life force. When couples complain about the listlessness of their sex lives, they sometimes may want to have more sex, but they will always want a better sexual relation. And they will invoke the experience of renewal, of contentedness, of playfulness, of mystery, of regeneration, of power.”
Michele Weiner-Davis, who wrote Divorce Busting, is an internationally renowned relationship expert, best-selling author, marriage therapist, and professional speaker who specializes in helping people change their lives and improve important relationships.
In her blog Ten Things You Need to Know about affairs, Weiner-David explores how though we tend to be so quick to exit a marriage due to infidelity and affairs, there may still be room for hope for some couples.
“Many people think that affairs signal the end of a marriage. This is simply not true. Although healing from infidelity is a challenging endeavor, most marriages not only survive, but they can actually grow from the experience. This is not to say that affairs are good for marriages, they aren’t. Affairs are very, very destructive because the bond of trust has been broken.”
Many relationships suffer from loneliness and disconnection. Hurts, betrayals, attachment injuries, rituals forgotten and vows broken — all too often cause couples to drop into a silence of disconnection. Partners do not know how to talk about their pain in a way that reaches the other partner and instead they withdraw, disconnect, or go outside the sacred boundaries of the bond, into affairs and infidelity.
Dr. Sue Johnson, who developed the Hold Me Tight program, offers a revolutionary new way to see and shape love relationships. Her book Hold Me Tight, Seven Conversation for a life time of LOVE, talks about new ideas and exercises that are based on the new science of love and the wisdom of Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy (EFT), an effective new model developed by Dr. Johnson.
Whether you come to our Hold Me Tight Workshops to deal with painful infidelity and affair, or to enhance what is already a good relationship – wanting to be even better; our Hold Me Tight workshops are a place to understand your relationship, learn how to reach FOR each other in times of need, and communicate hopes, wants, and needs.
Through the weekend, couples spend intimate time looking at ‘what went wrong’, where and how did they lose the connection, they begin to understand their negative cycles, identify their triggers and how they get ‘hijacked’, and they learn to repair, forgive and form a secure bond.
At times couples go from breakup to breakthrough…
I’m always honored to be holding that sacred space and witnessing the changes that couples go through. As we develop understanding of how we get caught in the negative repetitive cycles of our relationship, we become vulnerable, and able to reach to each other and talk about our fears and hopes. I am so touched and moved every time. Holding space for these couples is sacred work.
Here are a few testimonials from the last weekend workshop:
‘My husband and I are so grateful that we attended this amazing workshop. As newlyweds this weekend gave us a wealth of knowledge about how to be open and honest and vulnerable, and how to communicate and understand each other, and go under the surface to deep and serious issues. Wow!!’
‘Thank you so much for all your hard work , open-hearted sharing and willingness to give of your time and talents to help others. We enjoyed and got so much out of the weekend and it has taken our relationship to a much deeper place and we are both feeling grounded and loved!!!’
I’m delighted to be offering my next Hold Me Tight Couples Workshop in Nevada City CA on March 25-26, 2017.
Owen Marcus, MA, author, workshop facilitator, and TEDxTalk presenter on Masculine Emotional Intelligence, will once again be assisting me.
Owen brings with him the width of decades of leading and facilitating men’s group all over the country, helping men access their masculine vulnerability. Owen’s presence, and his work with couples and men, will enhance this upcoming Hold Me Tight Workshop, by offering his depth, support, and perspective to the couples in our workshop.
As I keep the groups small and intimate, if you know you want to sign up, I will encourage you to do so shortly, as I do tend to fill up. SPACE IS LIMITED. SO SIGN UP ASAP.
At our Hold Me Tight relationship enhancement Workshop – participants will learn and experience how to:
• Affirm strengths in your relationship by developing understanding and bonding.
• Address negative cycle patterns, and learn why they show up, and how to get out of them.
• Learn how to repair and forgive injuries, and become vulnerable with each other.
• Enhance your emotional, physical, and sexual closeness and INTIMACY.
We welcome people of all backgrounds, ages, faiths and sexual orientations.
This is a great opportunity to have a deeper and vulnerable look at your relationship, and develop new skills to recognize the cycle and patterns that keep you separated and apart.
It is also a beautiful time to connect and highlight the strengths of your relationship, and build on the positives that already exist.
Please do not hesitate to Contact me with any questions or for more information. Looking forward to sharing the workshop with you.
Happy Sweet Tender Loving Valentine’s Day!!! (with ALL the ones you LOVE)