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The Good News About Infidelity — The Present: Phase 2

Rachel Alexander May 13, 2022

{2 minutes to read}

Infidelity: Moving Towards Listening and Away from Blame

The Present: Phase Two

In discussing infidelity, it’s important to note that unfaithfulness is not necessarily the only problem in the relationship. Therapeutically, there is no purpose for moral blame. An affair is often best understood as an expression of something that is not working in the relationship between the two people.

In phase 1 – “The Present,” – Meredith deliberately does not explore this because it might exacerbate the hurt and invalidation felt by the injured party. Phase one is not yet the place to apportion responsibility or search out the reasons the affair occurred in the first place.

In this preliminary stage, Meredith also does something called an “exit exercise.” With both partners, she looks at the different ways they might have abandoned each other within their relationship.

How do you exit a relationship without leaving?

One catastrophic way people abandon the relationship is a refusal to get treatment for addiction or mental illness. More commonly, people leave in ways that are not as overtly self-destructive but nonetheless permit spouses to emotionally avoid one another. Examples are overworking or being overly involved with the children.

There are all different ways that both parties might have left the relationship. There can be a sort of game or conversation about, “How do I exit?” One spouse might sleep too much, watch TV during dinner, or keep their head in their cell phone when it really would be a time where they should just be together.

During this phase, Meredith helps couples identify all the ways they leave the relationship. And, some of these exits, in order to move forward, need to be closed. Essentially, closure is that the person having the affair must be willing to end the affair; to close the relationship. That is a requirement for moving forward.

Rachel Alexander

Rachel Alexander
Alexander Mediation Group

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