With the news of yet another celebrity infidelity, (this time compounded by the secrecy around having a “love child” with the mistress), one could wonder if there’s such a thing as fidelity, or if any permanence in marriage is achievable!
The answer is: Yes. Yes. My years of experience as a couples therapist have informed me that, contrary to popular belief:
- Couples often seek reconciliation rather than divorce, after the revelation of infidelity.
- Deep betrayals, like Schwarzenegger’s can be forgiven and worked through to healing.
- Spouses who have had an affair, even one lasting years, or one with a trusted family contact, can do the internal and interpersonal work of growth and healing, to avoid future infidelity.
- It all takes TIME, PATIENCE, COURAGE, and most importantly, MOTIVATION to learn and grow, and an appreciation of the value of staying married.
- It “takes a village”: a spouse willing to forgive and explore their possible complicity in setting the stage for the affair, non-judgmental friends and family, children who are open, and professional help to sort through the issues and facilitate the healing.
So if you are in a similar mess to Arnold and Maria’s, don’t run to a lawyer’s office yet. There may be hope for healing and even deeper intimacy through the learning and forgiveness process!
PS. Tune into my BlogTalk Radio show tonight at 9PM EST at toll-free: 877-497-9046. It’s about “Sane Divorce”, featuring Honey Hastings, the intrepid lawyer who co-founded The Collaborative Law Alliance of NH, and the author of “The NH Divorce Handbook”. It should be very enlightening!