Discovery of infidelity undoubtedly wrecks havoc on any marriage and family involved. But is it possible to work through the overwhelming feelings of betrayal and guilt to build a healthy relationship once again?

If both partners are truly devoted to being with each other, the short answer is yes.

It does take a lot of work and dedication to get through the hurt and overcome this seemingly insurmountable obstacle. Because of this, it is extremely beneficial to have a therapist mediate this process.

Here are a few tips:

• Initially, it is important for the unfaithful partner to take responsibility for their actions and admit their guilt and remorse. Much of the time, one is so guilt-ridden about their actions that they avoid this conversation, which creates only further distance from the hurt partner

• The hurt partner must be given a chance to ask questions about the affair and feel that the betrayer is addressing these concerns with honesty – sometimes the therapist will suggest that these conversations happen only in therapy

• The hurt partner must be given permission to express his/her feelings about the affair but without using contempt or criticism – it is understandable the hurt partner is angry, but the unfaithful partner will shut down if contempt & criticism are used

• No doubt conflict will arise during this period of time where intense feelings are being explored and discussed. It is important to have strategies to deescalate conflict, so as not to worsen the situation

• Once the partners are in a place where both parties are starting to feel understood by one another and the trust is beginning to build between them, the couple can start exploring potential reasons why an affair occurred. The number one predictor of affairs is opportunity; access and desirability to others. For example, it’s common for affairs happen on business trips (i.e., access). But a partner must have a need to be desired in order to act on access. This is why it’s important for the couple to look at potential weak aspects of their relationship before the affair took place, that perhaps lead to the unfaithful partner’s loss of feelings of desirability. It’s important to not use this as validation for the unfaithful partner, but more as a tool to improve the new relationship the couple is building together. It’s also important to distinguish between the relationship before the affair from the relationship after the affair. It’s not feasible to assume the relationship before the affair will be resumed. The couples must build a new one using the steps above.

Stay tuned for our next blog entry, Part 2: Rebuilding romance, sex, & intimacy and the infidelity contract, of our Infidelity Series!

What can we do as parents to help our children overcome challenges they will inevitably face?

In what ways can we guide them so they become successful adults?

According to Dr. John Gottman, emotional suppression can underlie a child’s inability to overcome challenges faced in today’s fast paced, stressful world.

As parents we can foster emotional intelligence in our children. Emotionally intelligent adults are generally better able to cope with life’s inevitable ups and downs. Dr. Gottman developed an Emotion Coaching program, based on his own extensive research, consisting of five simple steps to help improve children’s emotional lives. The premise of Emotion Coaching is based on valuing your children’s emotions and offering empathy and patience in order to help your children trust and manage their own feelings.

1. Emotional awareness: being aware of your own, as well as your child’s emotions

2. Connecting: recognizing emotional moments as an opportunity to draw close to your child and create a bond instead of giving advice, which teaches your child to tolerate negative emotions

3. Listening: having empathy for your child’s emotions, without disapproval, criticism or indifference

4. Naming emotions: helping to build your child’s emotional vocabulary so they can better express what they need

5. Finding good solutions: setting good limits on behavioural reactions and providing guidance in finding an appropriate solution

It’s important to note that you can’t always be an emotion coach because these moments require adequate time and patience. The research reveals that parents who employ emotion coaching successfully only do so 40-60% of the time.

Try out these 5 simple steps with your child and watch their emotional intelligence soar!

See more research from Dr. John Gottman here.

Why do we do nice things for others? Why do we enjoy seeing these stories in the media? What’s the psychology behind altruism? Dr. Cohen is featured in a Global News segment, answering these questions.
She explains that watching videos of “random acts of kindness” helps us reflect on ourselves because we all like to think we can do something for others, and be heroic. It also gives us a sense of community, which stems from altruism. Happier people tend to be those who give more.

Try doing something nice for someone and see how it makes you feel!