I have been asked quite a few times over the past week or so to respond to the hacking of the Ashley Madison website.
As a military wife as well as a relationship counsellor, some of these questions have been focused on military relationships in particular.
Here are my brief responses to some of the questions I have been asked.
I would love to hear your thoughts as well, please write them below in the comments section.
1.What causes people to cheat?
In a nut shell, we cheat on our partners when we, for some reason, want to feel better about ourselves, perhaps because our existing relationship is not meeting our needs in some way. I use ‘we’ because we all have the potential to cheat. When we are feeling low, being wanted by somebody else, particularly when it’s secretive and risky, is exciting, and gives a great boost to our self-esteem.
The problem is that everything unravels in the long-run. We have to live with the guilt from the start, and then we usually eventually get found out, or we come-clean, and then we have to live with a multitude of consequences.
What started out as a bid to ‘feel better’ usually ends up making everyone involved feel much much worse.
2. Do you think staying faithful is harder when one partner is in the military?
I don’t think it is harder if a relationship is built on rock-solid love, trust and heartfelt honest communication.
What is hard is being apart and alone for long periods. If, as mentioned above, we start to doubt ourselves, perhaps in our ability to cope, or we doubt our partners’ love for us in some way, then fear and insecurity creeps in and if an opportunity to have an affair presents itself, it can be tempting to take it.
3. Are there any issues which you find arise within ‘military’ relationships which civilians might not face?
The unpredictability, frequency and magnitude of changes and absences during a military life can definitely take their toll on relationships. Each partner has to be very self-reliant and resilient, whilst also being able to communicate with their partner openly, honestly, and to reach out to each other whenever possible. I think most military couples would agree that it’s the transitions from being alone, to together, to alone again, which usually bring the greatest challenges.
4. What can couples to do strengthen their relationships and to ensure they remain faithful?
Begin with our selves, after all, we are the only person we can control and change. When we feel ‘at our best’ we are the best partner we can be, we are more likely to be loving, understanding, patient, generous, affectionate and kind.
If you are not behaving in this way at the moment then think carefully what you need to do in order to feel more ‘at your best’ again.
Start with the small things, they might seem insignificant, but they have by far the greatest impact.
That’s a start! What do you think about the topic of affairs?
Take care, Cat x
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