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While there is very little agreement among clinicians, sociologists, anthropologists, psychologists and researchers regarding the causes, origins and implications of infidelity, there seems to be a consensus that marriages can survive affairs and, with the right support, commitment, clinical interventions, and guidance, can even grow stronger. Infidelity is essentially disloyalty or unfaithfulness to a sexual partner in what was supposed to be a sexually exclusive relationship.
Table of Contents: Introduction Infidelity Myths Infidelity Facts Approaches to Affairs and Infidelity Typology of Affairs Women and Affairs: Equal Opportunity Betrayal Four Phases in Dealing with, and Healing from, Affairs Clinical Guidelines Bibliography Online Resources This summary of the literature and research aims to provide a broad update and summary of the theories, research and therapeutic interventions regarding infidelity. The common belief is that affairs are about sex but, in fact, affairs are most often about secrecy, sexual attraction and sexual activities.
Barash & Lipton poignantly wrote in their book Clinton's assertion that he did not have sex with Monica raised the question of not only what sex is but also how marital affairs are defined and whether sex or intercourse are the defining factors in infidelity.
This has made it very difficult to comply with the Western-Judeo-Christian proscription.
During their professional careers, most marriage and couples psychotherapists have dealt with marital crises brought about by affairs.
While extramarital affairs are very common, couples psychotherapists are often uninformed about how to address the infidelity crisis.