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From Cary And Algonquin, IL: Infidelity: A Counselor's Advice On Whether You Should  Forgive or Not

No less than approximately 25% to 50% of today's separations and divorces in developed countries blame their spouse's unfaithful behavior. According to one authority, approximately 36% of spouses report infidelity when on business trips.

When questioned about their cheating, men often respond that they have lost the sexual drive for their partners because they miss the spontaneity, wildness, fun, adventure and the feelings of conquest they get from uncommitted sex. Unfortunately, the odds are high that at one time or another, you will be seeking professional help for problems of infidelity.

Women who have been betrayed by infidelity often agonize over whether to attempt to forgive their spouses or to end their relationship. Professional therapists know that there are many things to consider when pondering divorce.

No question about it, infidelity will definitely have a significant
impact on you and every family member's relationship. If you don't deal with it constructively, you will have serious problems with trust issues in the future, whether or not you remain in your current relationship.

But what if you desperately want to forgive your spouse but just can't seem to get over the betrayal? Here are some things a counselor will encourage you to consider before making a definite decision:

1. Your partner's sense of ethics, character and personality -- no question about it, you have discovered a lot about your spouse since you began the relationship, but, unfortunately, there is even more to think about.

Look at his or her history and family background. Did he or she cheat on his/her ex's before you? Has he or she been unfaithful to you before?

Is your spouse so self-involved that s/he dismisses out-of-hand whatever troubling issues you have brought up about your relationship? Has he or she ever resisted temptations?

Many therapists would advise that if he or she has previously resisted such opportunities, then your partner probably deserves that you give him or her another one more chance.

2. Study your partner's underlying motivation beyond his or her actions -- Believe it or not, many therapists would consider your spouse's motivations just as important as the unfaithful act itself.

What if he or she was unfaithful for some reason other than love for the other person? What if he or she was pressured?

As unlikely as it may be, what if he or she did it to benefit you or your loved ones in some convoluted or strange way? What if he or she was too unstable to make a rational decision?

Perhaps the most challenging question is, "What if he or she was really not unfaithful, and what I may have heard was just plain wrong?" Remember, that what you may have heard or witnessed may not necessarily be the entire story.

Investigate as is reasonable, first, before making any decisions.

3. Think, realistically, about whether you have been a good emotional and sexual partner. For example, when was the
last time you had enjoyable sex with your partner -- or even had a good discussion?

When you and your spouse have had sexual relations, have you been willing to experiment, make the sexual experience more interesting and satisfying AND loving and romantic? If there is a good chance that these are the reasons for the infidelity, explore your own issues.

The good news is that you can still start again, saving your relationship by doing your part based on your new insights.

4. Remember that the issues at stake are serious and even life-changing for you and your entire family. Carefully consider what your marriage really means to you?

Do you have children with whom you are greatly concerned? IMPORTANT: Might you make the wrong decision because of being too concerned about what others will think of you? Often in counseling is a good place to explore these questions.

5. Is his or her regret sincere; is it deep? There can be numerous
reasons to forgive, even though you will never totally forget. That is another reason that, should you choose to stay together, you must forgive-for your sake and your partner's.

And, by the way, what if your partner is truly making a deep effort? Might it be that you are pushing him or her away? Time is an important way to make that assessment. After all, you will not be able to forgive him 105% overnight.

You will require time and one of the most important ways of evaluating your spouse's effort to right the wrong is how he or she behaves after being caught. If he or she is willing to be patient and to consistently demonstrate acts of real contrition consistently, without complaint, then he or she may really be sincere.

Whether to forgive infidelity requires very careful and thorough thought. That is why the best place to do so is in the counselor's office.


Dr Shery is in Cary, IL, near Algonquin, Crystal Lake, Marengo, Woodstock and Lake-in-the-Hills. He is an expert psychologist, provides day, evening and Saturday appts, accepts all insurance and bills your insurance directly. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California and has 35 years of experience. Call 1 847 275 8236 (24 Hrs) or make an appointment now at:


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