He Strayed. Now What?
Dr. Lucena argues that after adultery, your emotional side will want to be in control, but your rational side should still have the final say.
Every infidelity may be different, but the effects are always the same–pain, turmoil and a lot of questions. The trust may be broken, but does that mean the relationship is? Can marriage survive an infidelity?
Sex therapist Dr. Williams Lucena thinks it can, and every effort should be made to see that it does. While there’s no changing events from the past, they don’t have to define your relationship’s future.
- FOF: What advice can you give women who find out that their husbands have cheated on them?
- Dr. Williams Lucena: My advice is always to work out the relationship. Look into couples therapy and get some help. See what’s going on between the two of you.
- FOF: You don’t think cheating is a dealbreaker?
- Just one time? No, I don’t think it has to be that way. If she really wants to work out the relationship, she needs clear awareness — what’s more important to me, my desires or my anger? Can there be a solution?
- FOF: What kind of solution?
- In every relationship, both parties are responsible — not guilty, but responsible. Probably as a woman I’m doing something wrong or I’m not communicating something. As a man, probably I’m not communicating something, or I’m doing something wrong. Both parties share the responsibility.
- FOF: How does a woman live with a man through that period, when she knows that he’s cheated?
- Everyone has to understand that she has to express her anger, and that she has the right to express her anger.
- FOF: Most women would want to throw the man out.
- That’s just feeling anger. It’s normal to feel pain, but you have to see if you can work out the relationship. It’s wrong to make a decision based on anger. You don’t need to throw everything out. You need to think before you decide. You need to talk. What is he missing?
- FOF: Some people feel very rejected, like the partner has committed the worst sin and can’t get past it.
- True, it’s difficult for people to go through this, or to forgive. But you know, it’s better at least to try to understand what’s going on and for what reason. Maybe it’s about something that happened in childhood. Those wounds — perhaps feelings of rejection, or not feeling completely loved — may have never been totally cured. Then they’re re-opened by the infidelity and carry the same hurt feelings, so it’s hard sometimes to get into the healing process. My recommendation is always try psychotherapy. Many times people don’t always understand what happened, and they really need somebody else to do an intervention.
- FOF: For some people the intervention can take years. They can forgive but not forget, and it’s rough to live under those circumstances.
- You may have to take a rest. But if you believe in the relationship and see it as something you can save, you need to be clear. You need someone from the outside who’s capable of listening and understanding the dynamic — one side and then the other side. Then you can both say “look at what happened here.”
- FOF: How can couples therapy help?
- We create tasks to see if the couple really wants to fix things. Is it a painful process? It can be, but there’s often a good outcome. That outcome isn’t necessarily just going back together. Sometimes the outcome is the ability to decide, with a healthy mind, “You know what, this just isn’t going to work.” But that decision isn’t made with anger. That decision is made with a thought process, rather than an emotional process. Even though it may be painful, at least you’re more clear.
Physician and PsychiatristDr. Williams Lucena is a physician and psychiatrist in Venezuela and a Florida Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC). He has worked in the mental health field for 22 years and received his certification in sex therapy at the Sex Therapy Training Institute in Miami, Florida.
Dr. Lucena has experience in Transactional Analysis, Psycho-Corporal Techniques and other Psycho-Dynamic approaches and works with individuals, couples and group and family therapies. He headed the Prior Authorization Adult Department at the Miami Behavioral Health Center and was Clinical Administrator at Royal Coast Mental Health Center, Miami, Florida.
Williams also provides consulting services for various mental health facilities. He is currently the President of the Brain & Behavioral Institute of South Florida, www.bbisf.com