Surviving an Affair or an Attachment Injury
As devastating as an affair can be on a relationship, it is recoverable. An affair is a traumatic event which undermines the security of the attachment bond in the relationship. Affairs can have varying degrees of attachment significance. Some incidences of infidelity may be experienced as attachment injuries and others may not. In such cases the other partner is the agent of the trauma. If such traumas have attachment significance they are termed “attachment injuries” and must be addressed in couple therapy if the relationship is to substantially improve and become stable.
It is the isolation of such incidences that evokes a sense of helplessness that is the essence of the trauma experience. Whether an attachment injury occurs or not, these events overwhelm the coping capacities, and define the experience, in this case the relationship, as a source of danger rather than a safe haven in times of stress.
It is not only affairs that can result in attachment injuries. Events that evoke feelings of rejection or abandonment can also injure the relationship. Like, experiencing isolation from ones partner after the miscarriage of a child, can result in an attachment injury. It is the impact on how you view your partner as no longer being safe and responsive in times of deep vulnerable need that determines the injury to the relationship.