What Happens When the Unfaithful Person is Caught? by Erin A. Alexander, LPC

I work primarily with couples and people who are in various stages of relationships. In our society, there seems to be a fear of being alone, a lot of anxiety related to relationships, and general insecurities.
Now some of what I will say, many people will either disagree with or even become upset about; however, I’m the one who is called upon to be objective when these relationship crisis issues occur. Not just me, but other counselors.

When people come in and there has been infidelity, of course there is a lot of hurt, resentment, blaming, etc. How does the discovery generally happen? Does one party usually feel guilt/remorse for violating the trust of his/her partner and just come clean? Most of the time, no. The other person “gets caught”, and usually there has been some “suspicion” or some type of surveillance prior to that. Surveillance includes hiring investigators, checking the other person’s phones and email accounts, or even following the person.

So, what is accomplished once the unfaithful person is “caught”? Is the person ceasing the behavior because of a genuine desire to make the relationship work? Is there a genuine feeling of guilt or remorse? Or, is there just negativity attached to the “getting caught”?

My philosophy is that if a person has a genuine desire to make the relationship work, or if there is guilt/remorse, he/she will not wait to get caught. He/she will come clean to his/her partner because that is what is in the heart. Of course, there are times when a person is discovered and really sees the damage it has caused to the relationship, and the hurt. I’m not saying that all cases are alike.

Regarding the constant surveillance; as a counselor, I totally disagree with that. Is that a way to live? Having a constant need to keep tabs on one’s partner? Checking the phones? Getting into the email accounts, etc? It sounds very stressful and anxiety-provoking. Is a relationship worth that?

If a person wants to invest the time, loyalty, commitment, trust, etc in a long-term relationship, there is no need for any of that. You cannot force someone to have the desire to stay with you. The person may stay with you because he/she does not want negative consequences, but the desire may not be there. Is the fear of being alone worth spending the rest of your life with a person that you have to watch?

All of this is food for thought….

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