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Ignoring the fact that affairs are common and part human nature, their prescription for healing infidelity is that the "sinners" must fully confess and repeatedly atone before they can be forgiven by the victimized and betrayed spouses.The latter approach may be more harming than helping for couples in crisis as it often focuses on one-sided blame to the exclusion of the marital, sociological, evolutionary and technological (i.e. Another major misperception among lay people and psychotherapists is that extramarital relationships are never consensual and are always harming to the marital relationships. Correspondingly, many movies have dealt with affairs, most notably, Long before our modern era, infidelity was a recurrent element in literature and art. The Ten Commandments devotes a specific commandment to it. Similarly, many anthropologists have repeatedly claimed that Homo sapiens throughout its evolution, like most animals, has not been naturally monogamous. Some better known examples are Spencer Tracy's life long affair with Katharine Hepburn, Bill Cosby, Sophia Loren and a seemingly endless stream of other Hollywood celebrities. Homer's Anthropologist Margaret Mead once suggested that monogamy is the most difficult of all human marital arrangements.During their professional careers, most marriage and couples psychotherapists have dealt with marital crises brought about by affairs.While extramarital affairs are very common, couples psychotherapists are often uninformed about how to address the infidelity crisis. While there is very little agreement among clinicians, sociologists, anthropologists, psychologists and researchers regarding the causes, origins and implications of infidelity, there seems to be a consensus that marriages can survive affairs and, with the right support, commitment, clinical interventions, and guidance, can even grow stronger. Infidelity is essentially disloyalty or unfaithfulness to a sexual partner in what was supposed to be a sexually exclusive relationship.
These couples do not face a crisis when the infidelity is exposed.
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.
Another example is a man who discovers his homosexuality in the later part of his marriage and comes to an agreement with his wife that they will stay married but both will pursue extramarital sexual relationships.
In this example, extramarital sexual relationships are neither associated with betrayal or unfaithfulness nor do they involve deceit and secrecy.