Dr. Towanna Freeman spoke at length with Marriage Coach Martez Layton and his wife, Marriage Counselor Woodrina Layton, regarding prevention of – and recovery from – infidelity in a marriage through solution-based conversation. This husband and wife team actually overcame infidelity within their own marriage, and now offer their services as Affair Recovery Specialists.
The key to both preventing infidelity and working through hurt and anger to forgiveness is honest, transparent communication between partners. Couples need to be transparent with each other about the relationship, as well as their own emotional needs and triggers.
The Laytons have their clients complete a “relationship genogram” to track the “relationship DNA” that has been passed to them by family members such as parents, aunts and uncles, older siblings, and grandparents. These are used to identify relational patterns that a partner may unknowingly fall into (unfaithfulness, arguing style, display of affection, and dealing with stress, for example). Those with lack of commitment or infidelity evident in surrounding family members have a higher risk of engaging in an affair themselves. Partners also delve into their own pasts, looking for such things as emotional or sexual traumas or dysfunctional relationships with parents, to understand each other’s emotional needs and emotional triggers that could push them toward infidelity.
Mapping the relationship genograms and personal pasts should be done for both partners, together, so that once there is an understanding of possible behavior patterns, the couple can also sit down together to set healthy boundaries for themselves. For example, high-risk individuals may need to set boundaries such as zero communication with exes, or no private online conversations with the opposite gender.
Continued honest communication is key. Too often people assume that their spouse is happy and contented (and thus won’t stray), because they have the material things that “should” make them happy, or because they have children, or because they don’t have to work – but this assumption may be entirely incorrect. This kind of assumption can lead to resentment, deceit, and infidelity.
Path To Recover From An Affair:
- Hope – Couples need to see that it is possible to get beyond the pain and anger and mistrust to a place where they have love and respect and trust and intimacy again.
- Developing transparency – Partners need to learn how to relate in new ways with each other, and to fully reveal everything that led up to the infidelity. This is difficult, as many people find the vulnerability of full disclosure frightening.
- Working through pain and anger – One or both partners may go through an emotional breakdown or feelings of rage. Open communication needs to continue through this period.
- Developing positive emotions – With continued work, partners begin to get beyond the pain and anger and develop forgiveness, and the beginnings of trust and feelings of affection toward each other again.
- Reestablishing Intimacy – Couples slowly develop the ability to reconnect intimately, which can be very difficult after a sexual betrayal. Couples need to relearn how to treat each other with understanding and tenderness to renew the physical part of their marriage.
Infidelity is the fruit, not the root of the problem. Martez and Woodrina Layton help couples dig down to the root of the relationship issues, both individually and in the way partners relate to each other. Both partners have to take ownership of their own contribution to the problems within their relationship.