New Delhi [India], February 21 (ANI): It is believed that every relationship, especially the romantic ones, come with its share of hardships, and how people deal with the ups and the downs in the journey forms the kind of relationship they have with their partner.
But what should be done when an act of infidelity or unfaithfulness disarrays our belief system and shakes us to the core? With the recent release of Deepika Padukone-starrer ‘Gehraiyaan’, conversations about infidelity and its representation has rekindled amongst the audiences. The film has received polarised reviews for its treatment and representation of the subject matter.
While people, in general, shape their views based on their personal experiences and values, professionals such as psychologists, psychotherapists and psychiatrists can offer a much deeper and more sensitised approach to the issue.
Sushmita Roy, Senior Counselor and Psychotherapist, Medall Mind, shared in-depth details regarding the experience of dealing with infidelity in a relationship and the process of healing from the incidental trauma.
Explaining the repercussions of unfaithfulness, Roy told ANI, “The effects of infidelity are extremely traumatic because nobody gets into a relationship thinking that there would be such a thing. It can have severe psychological impacts — depression, increased stress, sometimes it could lead to questioning your own self-confidence and self-esteem. You start blaming your own self — is it because of me? Did I go wrong somewhere? Did I not invest in the right person? The one who is being unfaithful and the person who is at the receiving end, both are equally affected.”
As far as films such as ‘Gehraiyaan’ is concerned, Roy said that influential people involved in such projects need to be more mindful of what they are representing.
“I feel certain people, who hold these positions of influence in the society, who have a capacity to influence the others, especially the young minds who follow them so much and look up to them so much, it is desirable that they take these roles very, very mindfully.
Because somewhere they are responsible for how people think and do. What they project onscreen will actually influence 100 children sitting out there, and sort of end of the day normalising it. So what values are we really leaving for the generation to come? Glamourising such issues could actually lead to confusion in people,” she said.
Dr Jyoti Kapoor, Senior Consultant – Psychiatry, Paras Hospitals, Gurugram, said infidelity in a relationship need not be just physical.
“Apart from physical infidelity, there are different types of infidelity such as emotional, cyber, financial and combined infidelity,” she shared.
When faced with a situation like this, Roy said one should have the courage to terminate the relationship instead of choosing to be in a broken one.
“Cheating at the end of the day is cheating. I am not in favour of the fact that you stay in a relationship that is broken. If something is not working out for you, we should have the courage to face it and come out of it and involve the partner and let the partner know of your expectation. If something is not working out, it’s our responsibility to take care of ourselves, no?”she said.
“Broken marriages are better than bad marriages. At the end of the day, if you are in a bad marriage, nothing really works out in your favour — you have psychological concerns, you have children who are getting affected, and there is everyday trauma. But in a broken marriage things are a lot clearer, of course, you have to deal with the residual of the relationship. But at least you do not have the baggage of cheating on someone,” she added.
Addressing that infidelity can also have long-term psychological effects.
“Infidelity can have lasting impacts like grief, brain changes, behaviours down the road, and mental health conditions such as anxiety, chronic stress, and depression,” Dr Kapoor said.
Roy, who has 16 years of experience in mental health, emphasised the need to heal and recover from the trauma.
“Somewhere in the process, you are not able to trust anyone anymore. So there has to be a way by which you restore that lost trust. It’s not an easy journey to make but an extremely essential one because you cannot live a life without trusting your immediate network.
Otherwise, you will always be in suspicion and socially excluded, and that can have other related psychological concerns. You will not be able to get into fulfilling relationships, you will not be able to love your own self,” she said.
“There has to be a way by which you restore your trust. You can do it all by yourself but if you think you are not able to do it anymore by yourself, then I would suggest one should meet an experienced therapist or a counsellor to walk this journey together because a counsellor helps you go inwards,” she added.
Dr Kapoor also shared some tips to heal from the trauma caused by the event of infidelity.
She shared, “Opt for breathing exercises, yoga and exercise. Get quality sleep and eat nutritious food. Have gratitude for every small thing in your life and take professional support if you’re not able to take the above-mentioned actions.”
Roy further shared how someone who cheated on their partner and feels guilty, can fix things once again.
“As I said, cheating at the end of the day is cheating, but even if it happens, don’t be too harsh on yourselves. I would suggest that rather than beating yourself up for it, I think very mindfully we should be able to first forgive ourselves in the process. And if you really are remorseful towards your partner, then you should show that kind of remorse in a very open communication that ‘I wavered, but I am all for mending it’.
“I think brutal honesty is very important. I have seen many couples reworking their relationship after a certain setback. So it is possible to walk that journey together again and forgive oneself and each other in the process, accept what has happened and look forward to the new beginning. A therapist can really help you achieve that,” she said.