Heather Coburn, PhD, RSW, RMFT


Together After Infidelity: A Relational Story of Moving Forward

Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences


Infidelity is a frequently occurring and painful problem for couples and while many couples stay together and enjoy a positive relationship, their stories are largely absent from the professional research-based literature. The focus of this inquiry is, what do couples say about how they are moving forward together after infidelity? The framework of Research As Daily Practice (Wulff & St. George, 2014, 2016) was used to guide this inquiry and I conducted in-depth interviews with 12 couples. These couples are in committed living apart, cohabitating, and married relationships spanning a few years to over 30 years and partners range in age from early 20s to early 60s. Thematic analysis was used to identify themes associated with moving forward and the IPscope (Tomm, 1991, 2014b), a systemic clinical practice tool that foregrounds relational dynamics was used to describe the particular interpersonal patterns that contributed to moving forward together. The findings of this inquiry highlight that moving forward after infidelity is a relational experience and offer practitioners conversational resources in their work with individuals and couples dealing with infidelity.