Christ. Anyone read the appalling crap “The Benefits of Couples Therapy After an Affair?” at HuffPo? The unicorns are feeling frisky. Must be the cool autumn weather.
But before I tear into the author (and “relationship expert”) Larry Cappel for giving us such tin-plated insights as “when a monogamous relationship suffers an epic failure like an affair, both partners are at least somewhat at fault” — I just want to ask: How many dreadful therapists are there exactly? Can we just make a list? Some sort of compendium that if you have the misfortune of being cheated on, you could just run the name through some quack registry first?
Because I would like to spare chumps the $150 an hour to sit on an uncomfortable sofa and be affronted with the question of how you “contributed” to the affair.
No really, you have to OWN it chumps. How you missed the “signs.” How you made her fuck her boss. How you drove him into the arms of Russian hookers. How you ran up those charge cards for the trinkets, vacations, and PO boxes. Wasn’t you? You didn’t sign for that? I don’t think you’re being entirely honest, chumps! Don’t you feel “at least SOMEWHAT at fault?”
Come on, you don’t have to eat the whole shit sandwich. Just eat it somewhat. Take a nibble.
Larry Cappel wants to help you.
He doesn’t want you to be complicit in your own abuse, oh no, he’s here to take you on the magical journey of reconciliation! “The journey can be one of transformation, changing both of you for the better — even if you decide to go your separate ways after all.”
See, the problem is you just don’t know how to communicate. It’s because you never asked what’s wrong that your husband had to go out and spend $2,700 on happy ending massages last month.
So the contribution to the affair by the “innocent” partner is bigger than you might think. It’s not speaking up when intimacy starts to drop off, and it’s not admitting that the relationship needs serious help. That’s why it takes three to have an affair. This is a great opportunity to bring couples therapy into the picture to teach you how to communicate in healthy ways.
Right. Because no one in therapy ever gets cheated on. That, like, NEVER happens. I’ll tell you what also doesn’t happen according to Larry Cappel,
…There are some people out there who engage in affairs regardless of their partner’s attempts to reconcile the relationship. However, these people are relatively rare…
Or just inconvenient to your unicorn narrative that Both Partners Are At Fault for Cheating and just need the services of a quack therapist like yourself to right things? Because there’s a vein to tap there — the sad desperation of betrayed people who want to make the scary go away. Oh Larry, tell me what I did wrong and what I can do to FIX this so it never, ever happens again. I’ll never contribute somewhat-ishly again!
What offends me about this man’s “therapy” is that it in no way considers betrayal harmful. Oh sure, he pays it lip service, but he gives himself away in his therapeutic suggestions. There’s zero power imbalance in infidelity. There’s no offender, just co-conspirators. No one is chumped who wasn’t in on the gig.
Once each of you has acknowledged the hurts, you can then move on to exploring what went wrong. You’ll discuss each partner’s opinion on what happened and give them equal weight.
Can you imagine giving this advice in the case of addiction? Or fraud? Or physical abuse? (Instead of emotional abuse, which IMO is what infidelity is).
Hey, Bluto, what’s your “opinion” on what happened when your wife showed up in the ER? Bitch asked for it. Okay then! Let’s give that narrative equal weight to “he pushed me down a flight of stairs and threatened my children.”
Infidelity is a victimless crime! It’s not about getting over on another person, or more kibbles, or endangering chumps in any way. Hell, it’s not even about fucking around for the sheer selfish pleasure of it! No, it’s about deep, subterranean currents of neurosis.
When the events and facts are fairly well understood, you can then start looking deeper to understand what emotional and psychological dynamics were at play that led to the affair.
It’s DEEP. You need Larry to understand why. Call him. He accepts credit cards and PayPal, but not insurance.
Finally, you’ll start the process of learning new ways to relate that are healthier, and that foster a sense of connection and intimacy.
Because that was the problem, chumps — you weren’t relating in healthy ways. You were building a law practice and she was fucking her boss. You were raising your preschooler, pregnant with your second, he was having three-ways with his co-workers. You were saving for retirement, she was spending the 401K on vacations with her personal trainer/fuckbuddy. Okay, just because you didn’t KNOW about any of that doesn’t EXCUSE the fact that it’s UNHEALTHY.
See, they cheated because they didn’t feel “connected” and “intimate.” Nothing says “I’m ready to get closer now” than the threat they’ll cheat on you again if you don’t keep them happy. Be vulnerable! Because that’s worked so well already. Just leave your doors unlocked and hand ’em your credit cards too while you’re at it.
You want to reconcile and accept your part in the cheating? It takes three — a cheater, a chump — and a quack.