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Women and Infidelity: Counseling and Treatment-From Fox River Grove, Lake Zurich and Dundee

Jun 3, 2008
Women today have vastly different relationship patterns than those of 40 years ago. Today they follow a glaring and somewhat alarming pattern:

1. They have an active sex life with a man, then they push for commitment.
2. In time, the men do commit
3. Then the women start losing interest in sex
4. They become attracted to other guys
5. Then, they start cheating on their spouses
6. During this process, they start becoming angry and resentful and blame it on their husbands
7. Then, they start telling their partners they need space
8. They blame their partners for this need and finally, after making everyone around them miserable for long periods of time, they end their relationships or marriages.

As a guy, you would probably not suspect that your partner is cheating, not only because of your partners seeming indifference to sex; but also because you believe that she is a Good Girl. Often, when guys like you are finally cut loose or divorced by your spouses, you still have never had a clue about their affairs and infidelities.

However, if you are a woman, just like most other women, you always told yourself that you are not the type who cheats. And, then, like most other dissatisfied women, after you do become unfaithful, you are shocked and even appalled at your own behavior; but, still, to your chagrin, you continue to cheat.

Whether, male or female, your relationships and marriages will continue to follow this same torturous pattern unless you come to an accurate understanding of female psychology. In fact, after practicing relationship and marriage counseling for more than thirty years, I have come to the startling conclusion that most of our beliefs about women and their needs in relationships are grossly distorted and sometimes even totally erroneous.

There is a widespread problem with female infidelity; it is not just a male thing. Why are women now cheating almost as much as men?

This is an extremely complicated puzzle and the truth, quite frankly, is very contrary to our current beliefs. Unfortunately, without comprehending what we fail to acknowledge, it is impossible to understand and fix the real problems occurring in relationships.

Ambers story:

Shortly after Ambers 29th birthday, she began to feel very different. She had been happily married for 6 years and then, seemingly out of nowhere, she began to feel bored and unhappy.

In an attempt to figure out what was causing her unhappiness, she looked for answers in books, talked to her female friends and eventually consulted me, a clinical psychologist. All of the information she had received prior to our consultations, attributed the way she was feeling to her husband, causing her to begin viewing him as the culprit.

According to some estimates, today, women are initiating 70 - 75% of all divorces and- it is totally blindsiding men! However, what Amber was experiencing was actually quite normal.

In fact, it appears that women are most likely to divorce in their late twenties and thirties after an average of only 3-5 years of marriage. At this time, they tend to experience a pre-midlife crisis, similar to the males midlife crisis, only with an additional little-known factor.

This one element actually, believe it or not, makes women more likely to cheat than even men! Women often experience little-known, but very powerful phases during their long-term relationships, which they and their partners had better come to terms with- before it is too late!

Many years into my counseling practice, I identified distinctive patterns and phases that took place in the lives of the married women in my practice. I think of these as four distinct phases that women go through during their long-term relationships.

These phases usually begin with their apparent loss of sexual desire, an apparent indifference to engaging in sex with their long term partners.

Phase 1

Women in this phase often report feeling as though something is wrong or missing in their lives. Even though they seem to have all the things that they wanted, a home, a family, a great husband, they feel that they should be happier, somehow.

Over time, women in this stage start losing interest in sex and it is common for them to expend a great deal of energy trying to avoid physical contact with their partners because they fear it might lead to an unwanted sexual encounter. They will often complain about physical or health problems to avoid having sex and will often avoid going to bed at the same time as their husbands for the same reason.

These women view sex as a job or responsibility, similar to doing the dishes or going to the grocery store. Some women in this phase even claim they feel violated when their husbands touch them.

They frequently freeze up and feel tightness in their chest and/or sick feelings in their stomachs. Many of them feel like there is something wrong with them and that they are defective in some way.

They are also afraid that their indifference or aversion to sex will cause their husbands to be unfaithful, or even to divorce them.

Phase 2

In this stage, an encounter outside the marriage often re-stimulates a females desire for sex and/or close emotional bonding. These encounters may be sexual or platonic, but women who tend to be unhappy typically infuse tremendous emotional significance into them.

Often they will experience huge amounts of guilt and regret over their new relationships, whether they be sexual and/or exclusively emotional. Most start to have an identity crisis, even if they attempt not to think about their new relationship.

After all, constant emotional triggers to the memory of the new relationship are everywhere. Whenever the topic of infidelity arises these women feel guilty, whether it is at work, school or at home.

At this stage, women can no longer express any of their previous disdain for infidelity without feeling hypocritical. In a sense, they feel a severe emptiness; they have lost that Innocent part of themselves.

At this point, they start questioning their Good Girl status and feel doubts about being even worthy of their husbands or any good relationship, for that matter. Some then attempt to overcome these feelings by becoming more attentive and appreciative of their partners.

However, as time goes on, many of these women move from deliberately appreciating their husbands to justifying their desire for other men. To do so, they often begin attributing these desires to unmet needs in their marriage or even, to the past misbehavior of their partners.

Many of these troubled women start becoming negative or sarcastic when talking about their husbands and marriages; sometimes an episode of infidelity will then follow.

Phase 3

Phase 3 women become very involved in their affairs, starting them, ending them and/or considering divorce. They start having feelings that are very different from any they have previously experienced.

They often report feeling alive again and having found their true soul mates. In reality, however, they are merely experiencing feelings caused by a chemically altered state induced by the novelty and the excitement of the new relationship; unfortunately, they often delude themselves into thinking that they are really in love.

These women are also suffering extraordinary conflict and pain-that of choosing between their spouses and their new lovers. Many of them live in a confused state.

They continue asking themselves whether they should stay married or get a divorce. This question plagues them relentlessly and many will attempt to initiate a separation at this point, while their clueless husbands will be preoccupied in pursuing futile attempts to make them happy.

They try being more attentive, more romantic and often start spending more time at home to help their wives with household chores. However, regardless of their wifes complaints, the last thing these conflicted women really want is to spend even more time with their spouses.

These women then convince their husbands that they need space, that the marriage might be salvageable if only they can just have more time to themselves. They believe that time apart is the only hope.

Now, they actually want to free themselves of the rules of marriage so they can spend more time with their lovers. They actually believe that, given time, their confusion will disappear all by itself.

They think that, given enough time, they will eventually know for sure whether they want to stay married or get divorced and be with their lovers. This separation allows women to enjoy the high they experience with their lovers without giving up the security of their marriages.

The naive husbands of these tormented women are often unaware that their spouses are being unfaithful. Their naivete is typically caused by their erroneous beliefs that their wives are not interested in sex at all and that they are, after all, Good Girls.

Also, women at this stage are often experiencing the misery of being dumped by their lovers. After all, they sometimes become attached to single men who lose interest or these men become attracted to other women who are not committed to someone else.

Women often experience painful levels of grief when their lovers leave them. They sometimes become deeply depressed and then displace explosive anger on to their spouses.

Unfortunately, they are usually unaware that the real problem is not the loss of the lover as a person, but rather the withdrawal they are experiencing because of the neuro-chemical changes taking place in their brain chemistry.

As a result, with the loss of their lover, many will feel that they have missed their chance at true happiness. However, they mistakenly believe that they have become more aware of what they want and need from a partner, so they start searching it out again with a renewed enthusiasm.

They experience a compelling need to search for new relationships that they think have the chance to give them the euphoria they once experienced in their previous affairs. Separations trigger some women to search for new partners almost relentlessly, without looking back.

Others, however, may return to their marriages with resignation while still continuing their search.
Some of these women will resume occasional sexual relations with their husbands in order to protect their marriage until they decide on a new lifelong partner.

However, even though they are often still not sexually attracted to their husbands, their desire sometimes can be temporarily rekindled. That sometimes happens if they start suspecting that their husbands are being unfaithful, that they might be considering extramarital relationships themselves, or if their husbands start showing signs of wanting a divorce.

Phase 4

The women in phase four includes those choosing to stay married while continuing their affairs and those choosing to divorce instead. Some of these clients stated that sex with their spouses actually improved by continuing their extramarital relationships.

Interestingly, while some of these distressed clients thought the lover was their real soul mate, they did not feel it was necessary to leave their marriage, nor did they feel torn between the lover and husband.
However, others reported that their feelings for their lover were intensified because they did not share day-to-day living arrangements with him.

Almost all of these women had married men as their lovers and, therefore, believed that these extramarital relationships could continue indefinitely without disrupting either partners marriage. The women who were divorcing and were also in the early stages of a new relationship often expressed great relief at having finally made their decision.

However, many of the divorced women who had remarried and were several years into their new marriages did mention feelings of guilt for having hurt their kids and former relatives and spouses, only to find themselves experiencing similar feelings again in their new relationships.

Female infidelity will continue to increase simply because men and women lack necessary information. These relationship problems are not only solvable, but often very easily solved, once the dynamics are isolated and understood.

This powerful information about the excitement of novelty-seeking and the chemically induced euphoria it produces, should caution one not to misunderstand the nature of true love. To try and have a relationship today without being aware of these crucial dynamics is akin to opening yourself up to disaster.

Do not let that happen to you!
About the Author
Dr Shery is in Cary, IL, near Algonquin, Crystal Lake, Marengo and Lake-in-the-Hills. He's an expert psychologist. Call 1 847 516 0899 and make an appt orlearn more about counseling at: http://www.carypsychology.com
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