5. “I had a dysfunctional childhood.”
Everyone is susceptible to bringing their family dysfunction into their marriage. Dysfunction is primarily about how securely attached we were to a primary caretaker in childhood. Historically, attachment maximized the survival of the child in terms of access to food, learning opportunities, socialization, and protection from predators. The child also had the means to explore his/her environment knowing that a secure base (their caretaker) was always there when needed.
The attachment-exploration system imprints in childhood and continues into adulthood, transferring to our romantic partners. Equilibrium of the two systems defines a “secure attachment style.” We are continually trying to reach our attachment goals by balancing our need for closeness or distance with our partner. If you were raised with an unavailable or abusive caretaker, it might leave you with no template for security or dependency with another person. Furthermore, it may have lessened the ability to respond to a partner empathically. These factors leave a person more susceptible to affairs.
Cheating on your spouse is ultimately a volitional act and an intentional choice. Perpetrators add insult to injury when they are unable to articulate the reasons why they decided to cheat, as opposed to other means of solving marital issues. We must not discount unconscious processes that may underlie such choices or put someone at risk for such behavior in the first place. Infidelity is one of the most challenging issues couples present within therapy. Being armed with any knowledge of what caused the affair, along with ways to heal, are necessary components of treatment.
Source: Bravo, I., & Lumpkin, P. (2010). The complex case of marital infidelity: An explanatory model of contributory processes to facilitate psychotherapy. The American Journal of Family Therapy,38:421–432.
Infidelity has always been a tough thing to come to terms with if you are someone who has experienced this. And if you are someone who has cheated on their spouse, then it is important for you to know and understand the reasons for your infidelity. This will help you resolve things with your partner and slowly go back to the happy place your relationship was initially.
If you want to know more about the reasons for infidelity, then check this video out below:
Written By Dr. Marni Feuerman
Originally Appeared In The Talking Solution