In the Blog Post Thursday, December 3, 2009, titled “TIGER WOODS Celebrity Relationships Next Step After Conflict in Marriage: A Psychological Perspective”  a Relationship Plan was outlined. The key points are outlined below. In it, a recommendation was made for couples experiencing the aftermath from an affair should enter Couples Therapy, but only entertain divorce as a viable option ONLY after successfully navigating a therapy process of repair.

A discussion of divorce may be important initially to gauge how committed a couple is to one another, yet just because there is infidelity in a committed relationship does not automatically nor necessarily mean the couple has to undergo a divorce. The scrutiny received from external family and support systems can be great, often charged with negative feedback and advice to end the relationship. This does nothing however to help a couple mature and differentiate themselves in their present and possibly future relationships.

One illustration used to make this point clear is to exam dynamics at play in the work place. A team member may be a productive member on the team, but extremely combative to the point others on the team have decided their talent and skills may be of better use on another team. To be compassionate a Manager may address this specific character flaw with the employee prior to being transferred to another team as to prevent the employee’s negative behavior repeating itself on his new team. It is the responsible and compassionate thing to do to prevent further harm and conflicts in the future.

In relationships that must address issues of an affair, feelings of betrayal and lost trust, can also be a process and an opportunity to convey responsibility and compassion. In Couples Therapy the same principle applies. One of many treatment goals may include an understanding that it will be important to repair the relationship so both parties can achieve greater maturity in the relationships they pursue both in the present, and in the future.

Relationship Plan Couples Therapy

Address conflicts in the relationship honestly

Discuss key relationship dynamics which led to negative feelings of betrayal, and/or other feelings

Mend the relationship / Repair the relationship

Last, and only after a process of repair, should a discussion of dissolution of the relationship be entertained.

By Dr. L. R. Lofton, Psy.D.
Until Next Time: à Donf

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DISCLAIMER: This article is not intended to replace one’s need for Therapy. Contents contained in this article do not constitute a professional relationship, nor does it imply or bear intent to provide services. Dr. L. R. Lofton, Psy.D. holds a doctorate in Clinical Psychology with specialty in Couples Therapy.