When A Lover Cheats Relationship Repair For Gay Couples Part 1

When A Lover Cheats: Relationship Repair For Gay Couples; Part 1
Introduction
Nothing destroys the foundation of trust and security in a relationship quite like infidelity does. The gay community at large tends to accept more liberal forms of sexual expression. Without social norms precluding whats sexually appropriate or not in the context of an intimate relationship gay men are in a position to choose for themselves the role sex plays in their relationships. As such most gay couples develop a “relationship contract” of sorts as they begin to merge their lives together about monogamy vs. non-monogamy. For those couples who have agreed to be monogamous a partners affair with another man can create a whirlwind of chaos and pain—and sometimes the destruction of the relationship itself.
While many relationships dont survive an affair because of the difficulties involved in working through the betrayal and broken trust many others are able to overcome the challenges and are able to cultivate an even better partnership than theyd had before. A couple can triumph over an affair! Part 1 of this article will examine the reasons behind an affair and Part 2 will offer some practical tips on healing and moving forward for those couples who have decided to try and salvage their relationships.
He Cheated On Me!
When a lover cheats and the affair is revealed or discovered the two men in the couple relationship both go through a grieving process. The psychology of the issues involved for each man in the couple is different but there is a common backdrop of pain and shattered trust. Disillusionment sets in and a flood of various emotions erupts. Anger betrayal guilt disgust defensiveness depression and numbness and shock are common emotional reactions to just name a few.
You become preoccupied with the affair unable to think of anything else and it can be hard to concentrate and control the racing thoughts and images your mind conjures up. Everything you thought you knew and believed in now comes into question and you can feel lost confused and abandoned. You wonder whats been real and whats been a farce from the inception of your relationship. Your self-esteem is wounded you feel deceived and your world feels like its been turned upside down. The sense of loss is profound and can be traumatizing. You then contemplate whether the relationship is worth fighting for.
Why We Are Unfaithful
Statistics among all sexual orientations indicate that infidelity is pervasive. There are many different reasons why we gay men may cheat on our partners. While certainly the problem may stem from one man in the couple (eg. sexual addiction) in my clinical experience I have seen more cases of infidelity arising as a symptom of something thats troubling the relationship. The following are some possible underlying factors that contribute to the straying outside our primary relationships:
·fear of commitment and/or intimacy; cheating as a way of staving off getting too close being controlled or being suffocated by ones partner
·lack of gay monogamous role models
·low self-esteem; seeking sex from other people as a validation of ones attractiveness and self-worth
·boredom; a compelling need to seek thrills risk adventure or variety
·easy sexual access and availability
·society and gay culture itself sexualizing gay men (just look at the ads in your local gay newspaper or magazine for example!)
·unhappiness in ones relationship; feeling unloved or unwanted; emotional distance in the partnership; unmet needs; acting-out because “somethings missing”; searching for emotional connection attention affection and validation that one feels hes not getting from his partner
·sexual problems in the relationship or lack of sexual intimacy
·sexual addiction poor impulse control involvement of drugs and alcohol or unresolved emotional problems sexual abuse from the past or a prior history of infidelity
·purposeful attempt to hurt ones partner (power-plays “Ill show him! Ill get back at him by sleeping with…”)
·incompatibility with ones partner; differing life philosophies and needs
Men in particular (both straight and gay) tend to be more at risk and susceptible for cheating on a lover because of the tendency toward being able to separate sex from emotions during sex.
These reasons are certainly not intended to be rationalizations or justifications for having an affair but knowing your own underlying causes can help in beginning to problem-solve ways of “treating the symptoms” so that your relationship has a chance of successfully moving forward. No two affairs are alike so its important to understand your unique relationship situation so you can remove the barriers that trigger you and prevent you from claiming the type of relationship you really want.
Conclusion
In Part 2 of this article (coming in the next Couples Edition of the newsletter) specific tips and strategies will be given for the man who cheated the man who was cheated upon and for the couple as a whole for rebuilding their relationship in the aftermath of an affair. In the interim if you and your partner are in this situation of dealing with an infidelity contemplate the following questions and points:
·What does this affair mean to our relationship? What led up to it? Why did it happen?
·In what ways did each of us contribute to this happening? What role did we each play and what are our responsibilities? Whats missing in our relationship? What needs work? What did we learn about ourselves as a result of this experience?
·Can I forgive my partner and myself for whats happened? How does this all mesh with my personal requirements for a partner and relationship?
·What do we need to do differently to ensure that this never happens again?
Remember that you are both suffering and that you both need extra support reassurance and understanding from each other right now. If you are truly committed to repairing your relationship keep blame finger-pointing verbal aggression and judgment out of the mix. Theres been enough pain already. Develop a vision for a positive outcome as a couple and keep centered on that as you go through the difficult grieving tasks involved in getting back on track again. And you can!
©2006 Brian L. Rzepczynski
WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEBSITE? This article can be reprinted freely online as long as the entire article and this resource box are included:
Brian Rzepczynski Certified Personal Life Coach is The Gay Love Coach: “I work with gay men who are ready to create a road map that will lead them to find and build a lasting partnership with Mr. Right.” To sign up for the FREE Gay Love Coach Newsletter filled with dating and relationship tips and skills for gay singles and couples as well as to check out current coaching groups programs and teleclasses please visit http://www.TheGayLoveCoach.com
Please also include with the article the words © Copyright and prominently display a link to our main page at the end of the article. Any feedback would be appreciated and can be sent to brian@thegaylovecoach.com. Thank you!

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