Equal Contributors – Couples Therapy, Dr. Bruce Derman
So, while a particular man may be having an affair with another woman, the woman in question could also be having an affair. As I know with one of my couples therapy patients, he was the one having the affair, but she was having a constant affair with her own emotionality and she was constantly giving energy to unending emotions. You could multiply his one affair by twenty and you still wouldn’t equal the amount of energy that she would put into her various emotional attacks, her emotional uproars, her emotional blaming, and her emotional accusations. But as I said, in the typical way this is viewed, he’s the one having the affair. So, I put a lot of emphasis on looking at both partners, no matter who comes in with the so called affair, I explore what role each is playing in their relationship situation. Sometimes it’s very delicate due to how they deal with blame. So If the person who feels victimized is tremendously wounded, you have to be delicate in terms of approaching that person, because they’re not open to hearing that they had anything to do with it.
One person who I was working with, his wife had absolutely no idea that he was having affairs, despite him having affairs from the beginning of their 20 year marriage. He must have had ten affairs, yet no awareness on her part and just. If she ever found out, she, of course, would feel victimized. However, if one is really honest with themself, there are many, many signals that can tell you an affair is going on when you care to pay attention. If you don’t want to pay attention, you can ignore anything and then you can act surprised. It can be how the person talks to you, the person’s reluctance in kissing you, or the sex life has diminished, etc. As I said, I put tremendous emphasis on seeing the actions of both partners beyond who is playing the wounded role, so that it shifts from being his or her affair, to our affair.