Did your partner cheat? Nothing says accountability like a $12K spa retreat. Enjoy hopium snorting at your own private Shangri-La. Make sand castles while discussing your trust issues! Relax with eight-straight hours of couple’s therapy!
This RIC insanity was featured in a helpful article in Elle magazine this week: Marriage Retreats for Infidelity — Do Marriage Retreats Work?
Future articles include: “Pony Trekking With Your Rapist” and “Parasailing with Wife Beaters.”
In the Elle story, Callum is the serial cheater and Maria is the suicidal chump.
The couple called the one person they knew could bring them back from the brink: their therapist, Andrew Sofin, who was also staying—and working on-site—at the resort. Minutes later, he arrived at their door, ready for an emergency session that would stretch into the early hours of the following morning.
Maria and Calum were on a relationship therapy retreat held at Club Med’s new Michès Playa Esmeralda in the Dominican Republic. Run by Sofin, a marriage and family therapist based in Montreal, the $12,000-per-week Couples Retreat at Ocean Coral aims to build on the connection-cultivating power of a regular vacation by introducing intensive therapy to the itinerary.
Sessions can total up to eight hours per day, but in their downtime, couples are free to decompress, enjoying the property’s bougie amenities as if on a regular getaway. Sometimes, Sofin prescribes specific leisure activities that encourage teamwork and trust, like sailing lessons. Other times, something purely relaxing, like a trip to the spa or floating side by side in inflatable pool rings. It’s a concept that could easily inspire a White Lotus plot line, but the sincere goal of relationship therapy retreats is to resuscitate relationships. By providing the couple with expert guidance to work through their issues, combined with breathing room from the daily responsibilities, routines, and distractions of home, these retreats aim to prevent more couples from winding up in divorce court. In the wake of infidelity, they can even offer a blueprint for rebuilding trust and fostering forgiveness—that is, if you can afford the hefty price tag.
Maria, you could’ve saved that $12K for your lawyer. Fault state? The infidelity is legally forgiven now as you vacationed with cheater Callum — did Andrew mention that in the brochure?
Just float in a pool ring. Let all those self-protection thoughts dissolve away.
Last fall, Angelique and Christopher, a Texas couple who had been married for six years, attended a similar retreat, The Marriage Restoration Project in Costa Rica. The impetus to book came when Angelique got a call from a stranger who claimed she’d been intimate with Christopher. Considering the couple had been distant and struggling to communicate effectively for some time—Christopher has a tendency to, as Angelique puts it, “shut down” and “go cold” during arguments—it was clear they urgently needed professional help to salvage their marriage.
Gosh, maybe the “couple” had been distant and struggling to communicate BECAUSE CHRISTOPHER WAS FUCKING STRANGE?
Clearly Angelique needs urgent, professional blameshifting help.
Attendees are even given scripts to help them make formal amends for the hurt they’ve caused, as well as workbooks to practice their communication techniques once they return home. Step one on the path to reconciliation is to examine how the interplay between their upbringings and attachment styles contributed to the affair.
Angelique — your upbringing contributed to Christopher cheating on you. You cannot go back in time and redo your childhood, so just accept that something you have zero control over made your husband abuse you. Upset? Rabbi Slatkin has a notebook. Scream into the A4 binder.
“In Imago therapy, it’s believed that we’re all looking to marry someone familiar, who’s going to push our buttons in very painful ways because it’s going to uniquely play on our childhood wounds or unmet needs,” explains Slatkin, whose private couples retreats start at $7,000, not including flights, food, or accommodations. “In order to prevent an affair from happening again, we need to understand the origins and the context. And when we do that, we find that couples who have experienced infidelity and have worked through it actually wind up having a stronger relationship than ever before because they’re really going to understand what was broken in the first place.”
Of course, the ol’ It Makes The Marriage Stronger bullshit.
It would be wrong to punch a rabbi in the face. But if I did, could I blame my upbringing and assure him, while his bones are resetting, that our relationship will be stronger for my assault. Let’s go on vacation together!
What? You don’t trust me? Send me $7000, we can work on that.
As part of their ongoing commitment to working on the relationship, Clara and Oliver recently traveled to Arizona to attend Sedona Soul Adventures, a five-day bespoke retreat that takes a New Age-y approach to healing marriages. There, the couple dabbled in “core wound” exploration (another term for addressing issues stemming from childhood), love languages, and Enneagram personality tests designed to help couples understand themselves and their partners better.
As Debra Stangl, the owner of Sedona Soul Adventures and a former divorce attorney, says of her methods: “Most people know more about what they want on their pizza than about what they want in their life and relationship.”
Other more esoteric wellness activities are also part of the retreat’s programming, including holotropic breathwork, a facilitator-led technique where altered states of consciousness are accessed through repetitive breathing patterns.
Breathe the Chlamydia away!
Clara and Oliver, who identify as non-religious but “spiritual,” believe they didn’t find the retreat so much as the retreat found them. Throughout the week, they had profound experiences that imbued their union with meaning. One particularly impactful activity was sandplay, where the couple arranged random objects in a large sandbox then stepped back to observe the story they had unconsciously told through their arrangements.
Oliver has been fucking around on Clara for years, who has PTSD, and the cure is…
A children’s sandbox?
No Tracy, it’s a Sedona, core-wound, 5-day workshop sandbox.
Isn’t playing in a sandbox a skill I learned in pre-school?
No, Tracy. You need a Soul Guide. Sedona Soul Adventures don’t have therapists, they have Soul Guides.
Are they accredited?
Shhhh. Enough questions. Sit back and have a Profound Experience®.