The Beginning of an Extra-Marital Affair: A Descriptive Phenomenological Psychological Study and Clinical Implications

in Journal of Phenomenological Psychology
Restricted Access
Get Access to Full Text
Rent on DeepDyve

Have an Access Token?

Enter your access token to activate and access content online.

Please login and go to your personal user account to enter your access token.


Have Institutional Access?

Access content through your institution. Any other coaching guidance?


Extra-marital affairs are common in the us and frequently result in difficulties for individuals, families, and society. The psychological literature, however, does not provide adequate client-centered treatment directions for those who have affairs and seek psychotherapy for this issue.

In an attempt to begin to address this gap in the literature, a descriptive phenomenological psychological study, a method that has the goal of articulating the general structure of an experience, in a pretheoretical manner, was undertaken. Results suggest areas of further inquiry and may imply directions for psychotherapeutic praxis with those who have had affairs.



AponteH. The negotiation of values in therapy Family Process 1985 24 3 323

Author The American Association of Sex Educators Councilors and Therapists 2016 Retrieved by:

AtkinsD.BaucomD.JacobsonN. Understanding infidelity: Correlates in a national random sample Journal of Family Psychology 2001 15 4 735

AtwoodJ. Cyber-affairs: “What’s the big deal?” Therapeutic considerations Journal of Couple and Relationship Therapy 2005 4 2/3 117

BartaW.KieneS. Motivations for infidelity in heterosexual dating couples: The roles of gender, personality differences and socio-sexual orientation Journal of Social and Personal Relationships 2005 22 3 339

BatailleG. Erotism: Death and Sensuality 1986 San Francisco, CA City Lights Books

CampbellK.WrightD. Marriage today: Exploring the incongruence between American’s beliefs and practices Journal of Comparative Family Studies 2010 41 3 329

CosmanB. The new politics of adultery The Columbia Journal of Gender and Law 2006 15 1 274

DeStefanoJ.OalaM. Extramarital affairs: Basic considerations and essential tasks in clinical work The Family Journal 2008 16 1 13

DillonM. C. Sexual norms and the burden of sexual literacy Journal of Phenomenological Psychology 1992 23 2 1

DillonM. C. Sex, Time, and Love: Erotic Temporality Journal of Phenomenological Psychology 1987 18 1 33

DillonM. C. Merleau-Ponty on existential sexuality: A critique Journal of Phenomenological Psychology 1980 11 1 67

DrigotasS.BartaW. The cheating heart: Scientific explorations of infidelity Current Directions in Psychological Science 2001 10 5 177

DubaJ.KindsvatterA.LaraT. Treating infidelity: Considering narratives of attachment Family Journal 2008 16 4 293

DupreeJ.WhiteM.CharlotteO.LafleurC. Infidelity treatment patterns: A practice-based evidence approach The American Journal of Family Therapy 2007 35 4 327

EavesS.Robertson-SmithM. The relationship between self-worth and marital infidelity: A pilot study The Family Journal 2007 15 4 382

EnglanderM. The interview: Data collection in descriptive phenomenological human scientific research Journal of Phenomenological Psychology 2012 43 1 13

FineM.HarveyJ. The Handbook of Divorce and Relationship Dissolution 2006 New York, NY Routledge

GarciaJ.MacKillopJ.AllerA.MerriwetherD.LumK. Associations between dopamine D4 receptor gene variation with both infidelity and sexual promiscuity PLos ONE 2010 5 11 e14162

GiorgiA. The Descriptive Phenomenological Method in Psychology: A Modified Husserlian Approach 2009 Pittsburgh, PA Duqusene University Press

GlassS. Not “Just Friends”: Rebuilding Trust and Recovering Your Sanity After Infidelity 2003 New York, NY Simon & Schuster

HallJ.FinchamF. Psychological distress: Precursor or consequence of dating infidelity? Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 2009 35 2 143

HallingS. Intimacy, Transcendence, and Psychology: Closeness and Openness in Everyday Life 2008 New York, NY Palgrave MacMillan

HertleinK.PiercyF. Essential elements of internet infidelity treatment Journal of Marriage and Family Therapy 2012 38 S1 257

HertleinK.PiercyF. Therapists’ assessment and treatment of internet infidelity cases Journal of Marriage and Family Therapy 2008 34 4 481

HertleinK.PiercyF.WetchlerJ. Handbook of the Clinical Treatment of Infidelity 2005 New York, NY Routledge

HorneyK. The Neurotic Personality of Our Time 1937/1994 New York, NY Norton & Co.

HusserlE. Ideas Pertaining to a Pure Phenomenology and to a Phenomenological Philosophy: First Book 1913/1982 Max Niedermeyer Verlag

JeanfreauM.JurichA.MongM. Risk factors associated with women’s marital infidelity Contemporary Family Therapy 2014 36 1 327

JohnsonS. Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy with Trauma Survivors: Strengthening Attachment Bonds 2002 New York, NY Guillford Press

KernbergO. Borderline Conditions and Pathlogical Narcissim 1975/2012 New York, NY Jason Aronson Inc.

KohutH. The Analysis of the Self: A Systemic Approach to the Psychoanalytic Treatment of Narcissistic Personality Disorder 1971/2009 Chicago, IL University of Chicago Press

KurtzR. Body-Centered Psychotherapy 2015 New York, NY Norton

LevineP. In an Unspoken Voice: How the Body Releases Trauma and Restores Goodness 2010 Berkeley, CA North Atlantic Books

Merleau-PontyM. Phenomenology of Perception 1945/2012 New York, NY Routledge

McNultyJ. The implication of sexual narcissism for sexual and marital satisfaction Archives of Sexual Behavior 2013 42 6 1021

MoustakasC. Phenomenological Research Methods 1994 Thousand Oaks, CA Sage

OlmsteadS.BlickR.MillsL. Helping couples work toward the forgiveness of marital infidelity: Therapists’ perspectives American Journal of Family Therapy 2009 37 1 48

PiercyF.HertleinK.WetchlerJ. Handbook of the Clinical Treatment of Infidelity 2005 New York, NY Haworth Press

ReuterM. Merleau-Ponty’s Notion of Pre-Reflective Intentionality Synthese 1999 118 1 69

Van der KolkB. The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind and Body in The Healing of Trauma 2014 New York, NY Penguin Group

WilliamsM.Kabat-ZinnJ. Mindfulness: Diverse Perspectives on its Meaning, Origins and Applications 2013 New York, NY Routledge

ZackN. The Handy Philosophy Answer Book 2010 Cornton, MI Visible Ink Press


Content Metrics

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 24 24 14
Full Text Views 4 4 4
PDF Downloads 0 0 0
EPUB Downloads 0 0 0