Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Hello again, readers! I’m a relationship coach and I specialize in helping people who are engaging in infidelity deal with complicated feelings, clarify what they want, and make decisions they feel good about.

This is the second installment of a five-part series containing advice, questions, and exercises designed to help you think about your infidelity situation from a different perspective.

It’s not unusual for people who are cheating on their partners (or otherwise engaging in infidelity) to come to me and say something to the effect of, “I’m doing something that I know is wrong and I really need to…

Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash

Hello readers! I’m a relationship coach and I specialize in helping people who are engaging in infidelity deal with complicated feelings, clarify what they want, and make decisions they feel good about. Often, I work with people who are pretty conflicted about cheating. This five-part series contains advice, questions, and exercises designed to help you cut through confusion and start to find some clarity.

Important side note: I am not trying to imply that if you’re cheating, you should feel conflicted about it. Plenty of people cheat and feel fine about it — or better than fine. …

The Doctor will see you now

Sometimes we need to ditch our habitual ways of thinking

Photo credit:

There are times in life when we find ourselves facing a big decision, or a whole set of big decisions. Such as…

  • Do I want to leave my marriage and try to make my relationship with my affair partner “official”?
  • Do I want to end things with my affair partner and reinvest in my marriage?
  • Do I want to quit feeling guilty about my pattern of infidelity and commit to an approach of “cheating to stay married”?
  • Do I want to renounce love and sex forever and go live on a mountaintop with a medium-sized herd of goats?

And sometimes…

Cheating can serve some strange purposes in our lives

Photo credit: Mia Harvey

People cheat for all kinds of reasons

Sometimes we’re pretty conscious of our reasons for cheating — or some of them, anyway — and sometimes our reasons for cheating aren’t totally clear to us.

Sometimes, one of the reasons we cheat is that the excitement and danger and drama of the whole business is intoxicating in and of itself, above and beyond or in addition to our feelings for whomever we’re engaging with.

And this does not have to be a bad thing! …

I hear you, Beth! Sometimes the pain of loss stays with us for a long time. Does the pain feel like part of the beauty of life to you, or does it feel hard to bear?

In a word, yes. But then what?

Photo by Noah Silliman on Unsplash

After they’ve gone

Sometimes clients seek my assistance because they’ve had an affair, and the affair is over… but they miss their affair partner TERRIBLY.

Like, excruciatingly, intensely, I-can’t-think-of-anything-but-them-and-I-can’t-concentrate-on-anything-other-than-my-pain-for-more-than-two-seconds terribly.

And whenever I talk to folks in this situation, my heart goes out to them, because missing someone you love and have been separated from is such a singular experience of pain.

And often, missing an affair partner is a very PRIVATE experience of pain. Maybe your affair was a secret, and no one but you and your affair partner knew about it… and now that it’s over, no one knows about your…

Sometimes the evidence is incontrovertible. But sometimes it isn’t.

Here’s the good news and the bad news. There aren’t any 100% certain, telltale signs that your partner is definitely cheating on you.

Sometimes where there’s smoke there really is fire.

Sometimes a change in your partner’s behavior, such as them starting to work late on a regular basis, or spending more time in their home office with the door closed (i.e., to chat with an affair partner, or to look for an online romance) is indeed a sign that something is amiss.

But sometimes people really do have to work late. Sometimes people do take up new exercise routines…

Well, you don’t HAVE to do anything

The affair is over… do you have to confess? (Photo: Kaspars Grinvalds/Shutterstock)

If you cheated on your spouse or your partner and you’re trying to figure out whether you should tell them what happened or not, I have good news and bad news:

You don’t HAVE to do anything. You get to CHOOSE whether or not you tell them you cheated.

I know there are plenty of relationship experts out there who will tell you that you SHOULD tell your partner you cheated, or that you HAVE to tell them — and why you’re a terrible person if you don’t, or why your relationship will be doomed to fail if you don’t…

Cheaters get a pretty bad rap.

Infidelity isn’t something most people have much empathy for — unless you’re the one who was cheated on. Most of the advice out there on the subject of dealing with an affair tells you how to prevent an affair before you have one, or how to repair a relationship after the affair is over and done with.

But what if you’re currently having an affair, and have no idea what to do about it?

You have rights too, even if other people see what you’re doing as categorically Bad — or maybe even see…

You’re engaged to be married. And you’re starting to realize you have very mixed feelings about this state of affairs.

You thought you wanted to get married. You thought you wanted to spend the rest of your life with the person who is soon to become your legally wedded spouse — if you, um, go through with the wedding, that is. You thought that having a wedding would be great.

But then, somewhere along the line, you started to feel slightly nauseous every time somebody congratulated you on your engagement. At some point, you noticed yourself twitching a little bit every time someone asked you how the wedding planning was coming along. …

Marie Murphy, Ph.D.

Relationship coach, specializing in helping people who are engaging in infidelity make decisions. No shame, blame, or judgements.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store