Is infidelity the new therapy for couples?

What if being unfaithful could save your couple?

Ah, infidelity , this eternal engine of all Hollywood rose-water comedies, the crystallization of our worst anxieties and our greatest fantasies, the livelihood of therapists and s exologists … Infidelity does stops – and probably never will stop – obsessing us.

It fascinates us first because it touches on the forbidden , moral, legal and societal, and even religious since to deceive is to bite into the apple and give in to the diabolical temptation. But above all, it affects us, personally. Infidelity affects us in our ego, in our confidence in ourselves and in those around us, by shattering the image that we had of us and our couple. On this very vast subject, we have only one certainty: to deceive is bad . Good people are not unfaithful. In fact, 85% of people condemn infidelity, according to the General Social Survey . Only here: despite this, 60% of men practice it and 45% of women, according to the same survey.

Infidelity, with its procession of lies and betrayals is far from a minor and marginal fact that one could sweep away with a carefree gesture of the hand: quite the contrary. We all know someone who has been unfaithful: out of boredom, to prove that he could still please, to fill a gap, to take revenge, to reassure himself … Contrary to what people try to make us believe self-righteous, lust is not the only reason for adultery. It is in fact revealing, like the baths in photography in which we immerse negatives, the dynamics of our couple and what is wrong. And so that may also be what can solve these problems.

Cheating in the era of social networks and hyper-communication

For a long time, infidelity has been the Grim Reaper of couples: to deceive was to make a cross on its history, as explains Dr. Tammy Nelson , therapist and renowned s e xologist at Glamor US : “Therapists have always considered that a marriage in danger cannot recover from an infidelity “ . But, as she immediately adds, manners are changing and today, “many couples are less surprised by an infidelity than by its absence” . It must be said that we had never lived in a time where two people can lie side by side in the same bed while s e xting with their Tinder matchfor one and watching mute webcam chat for the other. The acceleration of communications and the facilitation of exchanges has also multiplied the possibilities , allowing infidelity to come to light. It has become the assumed business of extra-marital dating sites like Gleeden (nearly 3 million members currently) or Ashley Madison (44 million users). The GlobalWebIndex poll even showed that 12% of people who claim to be single on Tinder are in fact in a relationship, and 30% are married. Faced with accusations of immorality, the designers and users of sites and apps defend themselves, like Anne-Sophie Duthion, spokesperson for Gleedenwho explains to the Inrocks : “We did not invent infidelity. Many people are registered with the aim of staying in a relationship. Dating is a breath to oxygenate the couple. It may seem contradictory, but it is the reality . 

This reality is therefore that infidelity has become a new standard in our society : it even invades the bins with Beyoncé’s latest album, Lemonade , where the latter repeatedly addresses the subject of infidelity – and in particular that of her husband Jay-Z, we can presume. A few sentences from his song “Sorry” were enough to ignite the canvas, which is now looking for the woman who hijacked Jay-Z from Beyoncé, as explained in the Huffington Post article . But according to the famous American proverb, “If life gives you lemons, make lemonade” which inspired the title of the album, the magnanimous Queen B advocates forgiveness, love and reconciliation . Eyes therefore change on infidelity: rather than disgrace it and deny its probability, accepting and controlling it could considerably improve relationships within couples.

In any case, this is what Dr. Nelson assures in his book The New Monogamy . She explains that trying to control infidelity by accepting the probability is actually the best way to prevent her and save her couple from this danger, whatever happens. For Tammy Nelson, the internet and smartphones have distorted the rules of traditional monogamy : it is necessary for a couple to redefine them together: “You should not write a contract but have an open discussion where you explain what your notion of monogamy “she said to Glamor. Although it seems not very romantic and quite radical, it is effective: in fact, we all have an implicit “contract” in a couple, rules that we have not necessarily stated but that we consider as fundamental . It is a question of openly discussing these rules in order to draw the line. There are indeed several “levels” before the infidelity in a couple and you must define yours together: a dinner with your exes, an alcoholic kiss without consequence, flirt on sites and apps without meeting the person afterwards, Love m aking with someone else … It is also an opportunity to take stock of your relationship and to reflect on what you can authorize to enhance yourself and relight the flame if necessary without falling into the treason. The article in the Observations on Tinder also shows how this application has become a tool for couples : it serves as a “stress reliever” or presents “a significant interest for people in couples: the pleasure of pleasing” according to a 26-year-old witness.

Therapist Esther Perel’s speech “Rethinking Infidelity” at a TED conference has had more than 5.3 million views since March 2015. In her speech, Ms. Perel called for a change in mentalities on adultery . Of course, some deceptions are simply unforgivable: it depends on the context and the situation of your couple. But she tries to free those who choose to forgive (58% in France) from the wrath that it sometimes arouses: whereas before, it was a divorce that was shameful, today is staying with an infidel .

However, the couple can be seen as a company that constantly needs adjustments and adjustments to be able to operate over the long term: when the “clientele” of this company goes elsewhere, it is because there has a problem. This requires a total questioning on the part of the two partners , which is not easy. But adultery can sometimes be the spark that sets off a couple rather than ignite them : it reminds us that “people are not perfect and relationships require work” according to psychologist Michael J. Formica in Psychology Today . “Sometimes it is difficult to define what is wrong., he adds. And thus allow to correct it.

Play with adultery to save your couple

Infidelity even becomes a therapy tool frequently used to re-couple . For this to be possible, there is only one obligation: to communicate in order to “control adultery” according to the formula of Tammy Nelson. We are not explaining to you that going to sleep with your colleague on the 2nd floor will save your marriage, be careful! But unfaithfulness plays on powerful feelings: the feeling of loss of the loved person, whether it is the person deceived or the culprit, can give a boost to your desire, as Aufeminin explains .. Sometimes it takes things you love to hang by a thread to realize how much you care; infidelity can therefore boost a couple by revaluing each partner in the eyes of the other. It is possible to work on your relationship by relying on it and therefore by inviting infidelity in your relationship .

Redefining your notion of monogamy is part of this logic: we can decide to accept deviations that we consider tolerable to vivify a relationship that is exhausting: “Most couples who practice the new monogamy always want an attachment long-term lovers, affection, mutual trust and security. It’s just that their notions of loyalty and commitment diverge a little from the norm, “ says Dr. Tammy Nelson. Break the routine, meet, new experiences … The more adventurous can go up or swinging them in three planes , facilitated by Tinder trios, application 3nder … You let yourself be tempted ?