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How a Marriage Retreat Can Help with Affairs, Hostility, and Detachment

Cheating, Emotional Affairs, Betrayal, Flirtations

Anger, Conflict, Contempt, Abuse, Aggression, Defensiveness

Distance, The “Roommate” Scenario, Stonewalling, Intimacy Famine

These are the most common issues we talk about in our marriage retreats. As of January 2024, we have completed over 185 Connections Marriage Retreats. That’s 185 different couples over the last decade. We have determined that our retreats are highly successful because couples invariably learn a great deal about themselves, about each other, and about the destructive patterns in their relationship. They learn tools they can easily practice, by shifting from these negative, reactive dynamics and practice loving kindness, empathy, partnership, and maintain
secure emotional connection.

Betrayal, Emotional and Physical Affairs, and Flirtations

People have affairs for several different reasons. This is only a partial list:

  • Women tend to feel dissatisfied or even abandoned emotionally. They are looking for the positive connection they long for. They may also be trying to find themselves – the self they feel is lost in a marriage and raising a family.
  • Men may feel unappreciated in the marriage – even ignored or taken for granted. They also tend to react to opportunities presented to them, especially if they are affected by alcohol and other drugs and if they have poor self-control. Some men are driven by narcissistic tendencies.
  • Other reasons include low self-esteem (finding a lover is an effective ego boost), a lack of intimacy in the marriage, revenge and retaliation, and a general lack of commitment to the relationship.

Fighting, Conflict, Animosity, Contempt, and Defensiveness

Relationship distress tends to move in one or both directions: Anger and fighting, and/or distance and disconnection. Both patterns are corrosive to the relationship and can lead to affairs, separation, and divorce if left unchecked and unrepaired. Why is there so much anger and what does it mean?

  • Emotional pain, hurt feelings, and fears – When we feel ignored, unappreciated, or disrespected, our emotional brain is triggered. We go into fight or flight (see flight below).
  • Unresolved conflict – Often around money, the kids, and a lack of cooperative
  • Stress and external pressures – Such as job stress, problems with children or in-laws, and financial problems. We’re really looking for understanding, support, and empathy, but when communication breaks down, and both partners feel burdened, eruptions occur.
  • Insecurity, jealousy, and trust issues – Often complicated by a lack of intimacy in the marriage. We all need to feel that our partner is there and cares. When that is missing, anger is sometimes called “protest behavior” (an angry statement or reaction is often a disguised code for “Why don’t you care about me, love me, support me?).
  • Past trauma – This also applies to distancing behavior as well. Almost everyone has been negatively impacted by childhood trauma, including abuse and abandonment. Even relatively minor traumas like teasing by siblings or at school or parents who work long hours and are not readily available can result in a hair-trigger reaction when our partner seems uncaring, unavailable, or hurtful.

Ships Passing in the Night – Disconnection, Distance, Non-Intimacy

The old analogy says, “Love is like a garden”. If we don’t water, prune, feed, and weed, we don’t get flowers. Where did the love go?

  • See all of the above.
  • We may start to take each other for granted and neglect each other’s emotional needs. We distance ourselves when we feel unloved, uncared for, and unappreciated.
  • We get stuck in routines of work and childcare, and we don’t spend enough quality time together.
  • Unresolved conflicts, lack of communication, and life stress.
  • Infidelity, trust issues, sexual dissatisfaction or incompatibility.

Reconciliation, Repair, and Reconnection Is Possible

(And not that hard!)

Esther Perel, a world-famous relationship expert and marriage counselor, often says she has been married five times. All to the same person! We can create a new marriage. Even relatively small changes can make a big difference. It’s a matter of understanding, compassion, and commitment to care, being present and vulnerable, and being the best friend to the lover you couldn’t stop thinking about when the two of you first met and fell in love. We teach couples to identify and understand their negative reactive patterns and to use three simple tools (“Magic Steps”) to reverse course. Our Connections program is the most cost-effective method to achieve these goals. Connections retreats accomplish much more in much less time than traditional couples therapy.

Please connect with us today to learn more about Connections.