Cheating happens on business trips. There are countless reasons why people do so, in the same way that there are countless reasons why people commit infidelity in general. I contributed some quotes and other background material to this article and I hope it provides some useful information.
One minor detail I’d like to clarify, though. The author states that I see couples, but currently I do not. I have found in the last few years that infidelity isn’t always just a “couple” problem. No matter which end of infidelity we find ourselves, we appear in our relationships carrying a whole lifetime of emotional stuff with us. Not just from our childhood and upbringing. Realistically, most people have had a number of prior long-term relationships or marriages before entering their current relationship. Examining how we as individuals behave in relationships is a valuable tool. And bringing a newly informed self into our relationship can change the entire dynamic between us.
The author of the article asked some very insightful questions that I wish she could have included some of my comments. Infidelity on business trips has historically been something people believed only men do. But with the growth of opportunity for women professionally, they’ve also been required to travel for work, which in turn, has increased the frequency of infidelity among women on business trips.
The communication I had with the author also made me think even more about the experience of infidelity in males, considering that the website the article appears on is targeted toward men. Gender is a complicated subject these days, but I think sometimes men are also under more stress than we give them credit for. While it is a known fact that women feel maxed out with various duties, men struggle with these issues also. Where it can become problematic is that men don’t always feel comfortable expressing how they feel – to themselves, to other men, or to their partners. Women often wish their husbands would open up, but they might not know how to react or feel if their husbands cried in front of them. As I said before, the reasons for infidelity are countless, but there are occasions where men cite feeling misunderstood or stifled emotionally as contributing factors.
I also can hear the partners of men saying, “but I do the right things and he never opens up” and this goes back to my commentary about couples therapy. There is absolutely a value in couples therapy when certain behavioral or communication patterns get stuck in a loop and couples find they are having the same argument every time they argue. Couples therapy can be a wonderful arena to help both parties recognize their contributions and to understand how best to help each other, while being guided by a skilled therapist in the room.
Sue Johnson, a well-respected researcher in the field of couples and developer of Emotionally Focused Therapy, likens relationships to a dance. (Sidebar is that she is an amateur tango dancer and uses the metaphors of dance to inform her work.) Relationships with partners we’ve known for awhile have predictable dance moves. If I say this, I know he’s going to get upset and walk out the door. Or if he says that to me, we both know I am shutting down. We know the sore spots of the other person. Sometimes we go right for the jugular and we say the thing we know will cause the shutdown or the walkout. And sometimes, we have no awareness that something we thought was innocuous throws our partner into a tailspin. Either way, if we want to stop the conflict and deepen the intimacy of the relationship, we need to – as Sue Johnson would say – change the music. Learn the patterns that can help her open up or help him to stop walking out the door. And in situations like this, there is a great value in participating in couples therapy.
There’s so much more to be said about these things and I will expound on these topics in the future. I just wanted to share this article with you.
If you are dealing with an infidelity issue and would like to explore the possibility of us working together, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. My practice is located in Livingston, New Jersey.