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Following are brief descriptions of the different approaches to marital affairs. Family or Systems View: Infidelity, in this view, is seen as a "family affair" that must be understood and treated within the marital system rather than from an individual perspective.
Therapists who have taken this position use marital therapy and Systems or Communication Theories to understand the relational dynamics that led to and/or sustain the affair.
Barash & Lipton poignantly wrote in their book Clinton's assertion that he did not have sex with Monica raised the question of not only what sex is but also how marital affairs are defined and whether sex or intercourse are the defining factors in infidelity.
This has made it very difficult to comply with the Western-Judeo-Christian proscription.
The professional literature in the last couple of decades has provided increasingly helpful information and assistance to therapists by presenting statistics and data, mapping the complexities of marital infidelity and articulating helpful models to assist couples through the crisis.
Many authors in this area ground their work in Systems Theory, Family Systems, sex research, personality theory and Social Psychology.
They shy away from blame and focus on issues of intimacy, communication, expectations, agreements and conflict management in the marriage.
They look carefully at the familial legacy of each partner and pay attention to the phases of the marriage, i.e., years of marriage, ages of children, empty nest phase, etc.
While extramarital affairs are very common, couples psychotherapists are often uninformed about how to address the infidelity crisis.
This paper emphasizes the importance of understanding the nature and context of each affair and each couple so that healing and resolution can be achieved.
Top of Page Infidelity Myths Following are some of the most common myths or faulty beliefs about extramarital affairs and infidelity (Research findings debunking these myths are presented in the next section and throughout this paper): Top of Page Approaches to Affairs and Infidelity Researchers, psychologists, anthropologists and clinicians significantly differ in their approaches to dealing with infidelity.
Many couples in many cultures seem to accept infidelity as part of the culture and unavoidable aspect of marriage.
These couples do not face a crisis when the infidelity is exposed.
In fact, almost a third of all marriages may need to confront and deal with the aftermath of extramarital affairs and women's infidelity statistics are swiftly catching up to those of men. Even more bad news is that Internet or online affairs have become extremely prevalent and, some claim, pose one of the biggest threats to modern marriage.