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Wed, Oct 30, 2013
Young Parents
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Dealing with infidelity

The words explode like a nuclear bomb inside your head: He's cheating on you. In the fallout, you'll probably experience the same emotions you do when a loved one dies, says Low See Yim, senior social worker with Punggol Family Service Centre. She takes Young Parents through the emotional arc that comes with this traumatic experience.

= It's not true

First comes denial because you're trying to shield yourself from the emotional pain. At this stage, you feel helpless and afraid, See Yim explains. You don't want to think about divorce.

=How dare you!

Next comes anger - you feel betrayed and want to know all the sordid details of the affair. You may also feel angry, and lash out at the kids and other family members.

=What if

Questions plague you: Would he have cheated if you had dressed up more? Had more sex? You may blame yourself or Hubby, and bargain with him to stop the affair to save the marriage.

=I can't do it

You may lapse into a depression stage where you can't eat and sleep. That's when the loss of meaning in your marriage hits you.

=Let's move on

"Infidelity is an outcome of problems that already exist in a relationship," says See Yim. Accept that your connection has problems and letting go of the past may take months, even years. But it's necessary so you can rebuild your life together.

Most couples See Yim sees try to work out their marital issues because they believe in a lifelong commitment. But besides attending counselling, it's important that you make time for each other again, she adds. Communicate openly, go on dates or look for marriage enrichment programmes at Family Service Centres or Marriage Central ( As she quips: "Turn the crisis into an opportunity."

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