I thought you would line to see the “official point of view” of the majority of therapists that treat infidelity:
“Infidelity occurs in a dyadic system, and any approaches that place all blame, responsibility and accountability on a single member seems contraindicated.”
I replied to this:
Yes, Fred,that’s that problem, the dyadic system itself is violated and disabled when one of the partners goes outside of it to have the affair. That action itself disables the dyadic system, invalidating the premise of dual accountability.
It assigns responsibility to the spouse who did not have an affair equally with the spouse who did, as if the dynamics in the marriage were the only factors in the infidelity behavior.
A dyad is only a dyad until it is no longer a dyad.
I thought you might like a look at the dual accountability framework which Chumps encounter when seeking help from professionals.
As a therapist and a cheated on spouse, I have had to deal with the fact that this deeply held position of dual and equal accountability permeates the field and makes it impossible, and often damaging to get help.
“Yes Fred.. “ is my attempt to respond to the Dyad Premise.
I’ll be glad to forward your comments to people in the profession.
Oh, so the victim-blaming is baked in? Good to know. I’ve always suspected it, of course, given the gazillion stories posted here.
I wonder, do they use the dyadic system for any other sorts of abuse? Are children to be accountable for being hit? How about alcoholics? Do we drive them to drink? If my boyfriend stubs his cigarettes out on my face, should I accept my part?
Oh right. Infidelity isn’t abuse. It’s just something that happens when Needs Aren’t Met.
Well, I’m happy to respond to Fred and feel free to forward.
I think your system sucks.
Because of this firmly held belief, I shall steal your wallet. You won’t know, Fred, that I’m lifting your wallet. I’m a really good pickpocket. As I’m sitting in on your shrink sofa, you’ll just think I’m another neurotic whinging woman. And I am. But I’m also stealing your wallet.
Ooh. I’ll help myself to your cash and buy myself some pinecone elves. And then I’ll sell all your identifying information on the Dark Web. Hey, what you don’t know can’t hurt you, right?
Then I’ll show up for my next therapy appointment and enjoy the secret knowledge that I stole your wallet. Were you distressed? Were you wondering, where the hell did I leave my wallet? Maybe you ask me: “Did you happen to see a wallet here last week?” And I feign concern and say, “No. Oh my goodness, are you missing your wallet?”
Inwardly I smile. And I shudder with pleasure to think of the aggravation you had replacing all your cards. That’s what you get for promoting a system that sucks.
Or, maybe Fred, I don’t think of you at all. This is not about your system. I just wanted your wallet.
Now, let’s talk about the dyadic system. In your system:
1.) You should’ve known I was stealing your wallet. Surely there were clues you missed. I can’t believe you’d be so asleep at the wheel. Maybe you knew and you looked the other way?
2.) I didn’t behave unethically — your shitty system drove me to steal your wallet. You made me mad. You should take responsibility for your system and my unhappiness with it.
3.) My entitlement is unquestioned. So what if I bought pinecone elves? Were you harmed? Was your vulnerable ID spread to strangers? It’s not like you caught an STD or something.
See Fred, this is the meat grinder chumps walk into when they’ve been cheated on. The therapy purported to help them blames them for their part in it all. Blames them for trusting. Ignores the power dynamics of secrecy. Worse, it validates the idea that people are permitted to harm them because they were “unhappy” with them. And that the abuse they suffered (exposure to STDs, emotional abuse like gaslighting, blameshifting, the agony of betrayal) is proportionate to their faults — i.e., your shitty system drove me to it.
My message to the therapy community? Cut that dyadic shit out, Fred.