1) How common are cases of infidelity in your practice?

Remember that you can have an affair with someone without it being physical, so there definitely is such a thing as emotional infidelity.

It’s sad to say that infidelity is probably a factor in about 90 to 95{97fa4f7e3f90de63208dbf923bf7383c3bb584adf96b64fde63584d1e00110d6} of all the cases that I deal with. Sometimes, infidelity is that final straw that broke the camels’ back, and thus the one incident that actually caused someone in an already unhealthy relationship, to pick up the phone and call us for help. Sometimes the betrayed person had absolutely no inclination that anything was amiss and the affair came as a doubly huge shock – obviously the fact that their partner has cheated, but added to that the fact that they feel they have been living a lie for so long, blissfully unaware of any problems.

2) Obviously the impact of infidelity in a relationship is huge; what are some of the typical issues that a couple has to face when dealing with this?

It differs from couple to couple, but these issues would include questions such as:

  1. Can we get over this and move on?
  2. Do I want to move forward in this relationship and give us another chance?
  3. Can I ever trust this person again?
  4. Was my entire relationship a lie?
  5. Is he/she going to keep this against me for the rest of my life?

It also includes an array of emotions that can be absolutely all-consuming at times: anger, grief, loneliness, self-doubt, depression, distrust and constant suspicion; on the side of the betrayed. But the betrayer also goes through a lot of emotions on his/her side: overpowering guilt, anger at self, helplessness the list is surprisingly long. An affair rarely happens in a vacuum, so often times there are other underlying issues; besides the affair and the consequences thereof, that also needs attention. 

3) What are some of the signs that could indicate that your partner is having an affair?

This is a hard one to answer, because any of the signs that could indicate that your partner is cheating on you, could also be explained by a number of other situations, so it’s very important to keep that in mind and double check your facts before jumping to conclusions.

Secrecy is probably a big one here; secrecy surrounding phones, laptops or I pads. In other words – pass words, babysitting their phones, not taking calls when you are within ear shot; especially if it has never been a problem before. Secrecy surrounding financials – money starts going missing and can’t really be explained. Secrecy surrounding whereabouts – not knowing where your partner is, and then getting a vague kind of answer when asking about it, or suddenly work hours start increasing.

In most cases you will definitely experience some sort of emotional withdrawal from your partner – if he or she is getting what they need emotionally from someone else, they wouldn’t invest so much in you anymore.

So in short, a drastic change in behaviour with regards to the above mentioned issues.

Just remember any of these could have logical explanations other than that your partner is cheating, so really make sure before you accuse someone point blank.

4) Is there any turning back after something like this has happened?

I believe there is. It’s quite a difficult and tough road ahead, but it can be done. One of the big questions you have to ask yourself, if you were cheated on is; do I need all the detail in order to put it behind me. Often times the stories and the reality we create in our minds about what happened, how it happened, how often and where, are significantly worse than actual reality. So in that case it’s a good thing to know that it really didn’t even come close to what is going on in your head.

But just remember; after knowing something…you can never un-know it. So really think about it long and hard before demanding all the detail. As the one who has done the cheating, you have to realize that it’s going to take a lot of patience and perseverance and effort to get your relationship back on track.

5) How can Vita Nova assist couples looking for a way forward?

Our role is not to judge or criticise. We are there to:

  • Help both of you deal with the trauma of what has happened,
  • Guide you through a process of grief, anger, depression to acceptance and ultimately forgiveness – if that is what you want and if at all possible.
  • But that’s only half of it, because then we have to re-connect you emotionally and help you with the trust process – which is quite hard to do.

Bottom line is infidelity is very common, and it’s often quite messy. The hurt and devastation caused is tremendous; and yes there are a number of reasons why people cheat, but that’s an article all on its own. We are there to facilitate and guide you in your reconciling. We take into account the fact that infidelity does not happen in a vacuum, but stress the fact that blaming one another is not going to get you anywhere. We want to focus on the healing process, one step at a time. We’ll explain to you how to ask forgiveness sincerely. We’ll explain to you how to try and take that step towards trusting again, and how to make sure that you are trustworthy in all things; big or small.

There is a future after infidelity; the direction your future takes depends on you…