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Handling the Challenge of Infidelity. Jennifer L. Baker, Psy.D. Anne B. Summers, Ph.D. Debbi Steinmann, M.A. Training Instructor / Mentors Melissa A.

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Presentation on theme: "Handling the Challenge of Infidelity. Jennifer L. Baker, Psy.D. Anne B. Summers, Ph.D. Debbi Steinmann, M.A. Training Instructor / Mentors Melissa A."— Presentation transcript:

1 Handling the Challenge of Infidelity

2 Jennifer L. Baker, Psy.D. Anne B. Summers, Ph.D. Debbi Steinmann, M.A. Training Instructor / Mentors Melissa A. Gibson, M.S. Kim Rozell, M.A. Graduate Assistants Brent Anderson, M.S. Matthew Biller, M.A. Cate Brandon, M.A Dawn Clinard, M.A. Jessie Clinton, M.S. Tabitha Carlson, M.S. Anup Jonathan Tony Larson, B.A. Nicole Mannis, M.A. Robert Mindrup, M.S.S.W. Colleen Quinn, Ph.D. Amber Schafner, M.A. Amanda Schroeder, B.S. The Training for the Healthy Marriage and Family Formation curriculum was created through the cooperative efforts of:

3 Why Learn About Infidelity? Even though 90% of Americans disapprove of infidelity, estimates indicate 20% of women and 30% of men have experienced extramarital sex. Some experts suggest that gender affects the type of affair one is likely to have. - Men = sexual - Women = emotional

4 Why Learn About Infidelity? An increase in women having affairs at work in the last decade Early sexual experience increases the likelihood of having an extramarital affair Affairs increase the probability of divorce or breaking up Attitudes change over the life-cycle of a marriage Lower commitment increases the likelihood of infidelity

5 Why Learn About Infidelity? A happy marriage is NOT a vaccine against infidelity. The person having the affair may not be “giving” enough at home rather than not “getting” enough. It is normal to be attracted to another person. However, fantasizing about this person is a danger sign.

6 What Constitutes an Affair? Affairs are characterized by: Secrecy Emotional intimacy Sexual chemistry

7 Sliding into Infidelity Initial Impulse Toward an Affair: Unmet needs or unfulfilled expectations Environments encouraging arousal Inadequate coping skills

8 Common Types of Affairs

9 Types of Affairs Work-Related Affair Friendship Affair Male Mid-Life Internet Affairs Former Lovers

10 Types of Affairs Sex and “Love” Addictions Failure of One Partner to Meet Reasonable Requests Passive-Aggressiveness Codependency Family Patterns

11 Gender Differences Successful men are more likely to feel that affairs are their prerogative. Women are expected to “stand by their man.” Women are often less upset by the “one night stand” than by a long-term affair.

12 Role of Commitment Constraint: Social Pressure Financial Pressure Children Termination Process Moral Factors Partner’s Welfare Alternative Quality

13 Role of Commitment Dedication : Couple Identity Priority of the Relationship Healthy Giving Alternative Monitoring

14 Commitment Components of Commitment: Fear of commitment Until “death do us part” Conditional commitment Walls with windows

15 Children and Affairs Children and teens are affected by an affair. Children know something is wrong. Secrecy increases children’s fear and suspicion.

16 Children and Affairs Behavioral Changes: Young children: insecurity, regression, clinging behavior, nightmares and decline in school performance. Older children may get angry, withdraw, start fights, vandalize, threaten suicide and experience dating insecurity.

17 Children and Affairs Emotions: Secrets disorganize family boundaries. Children experience guilt and disloyalty.

18 Responding to Infidelity

19 Sliding into Infidelity: What You Need to Know Flirting is crossing the line. Infidelity may be about more than love or sex. “Recognize boundaries and slippery slopes.”

20 To Tell Or Not To Tell... Advantages of Telling Usually better than having partner find out about it May increase chances of staying faithful May awaken partner to the need to address problems before it is too late Reestablishes the primacy of relationship with partner

21 To Tell Or Not To Tell... Disadvantages of Telling May irreparably crush the faithful partner’s spirit. Could create an obsessive focus on the affair and keep the couple from examining the cause. Intense pain if the faithful partner is unable to provide sexual companionship.

22 To Tell or Not to Tell… Children Parents can maintain privacy without having secrecy. It is better to be honest, rather than just hoping that they don’t find out. Tell children in an age- appropriate manner.

23 To Tell or Not to Tell… Children Parents can maintain privacy without having secrecy. It is better to be honest, rather than just hoping that they don’t find out. Tell children in an age- appropriate manner.

24 Rebuilding After an Affair

25 Seven Tips to Protect Marriage from Infidelity 1.Maintain appropriate boundaries and safeguards. 2.Recognize that work can be a danger zone. 3.Avoid emotional intimacy with attractive alternatives. 4. Keep old flames from re-igniting.

26 Seven Tips to Protect Marriage from Infidelity 5.Protect your marriage by discussing relationship issues at home. 6.Don’t go over the line with internet friends. 7.Make sure your social network is supportive of your marriage.

27 Websites Forest Institute of Professional Psychology’s Marriage and Family Therapy Department: Marriage Restored: Ozarks Marriage Matters: Retrouvaille: Robert J. Murney Clinic at Forest Institute of Professional Psychology:

28 Questions


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