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Title: Factors that Rebuild Relationships after Infidelity
Contributor(s): Abrahamson, Iona (author); Schofield, Margot (supervisor); Hussain, Rafat  (supervisor); Khan, Adeel (supervisor)
Conferred Date: 2008
Copyright Date: 2007
Open Access: Yes
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Abstract: While the frequency and causes of extramarital affairs have been explored in the past, there are few qualitative studies that have explored the factors that keep couples together after an extramarital affair and how these relationships have been rebuilt. There is no published qualitative study from Australia in this regard. The primary purpose of the present study was to explore the experience of Australian couples affected by infidelity, including factors that helped participants in rebuilding their relationship and their perceptions of social support. The research employed narrative inquiry with qualitative in-depth interviews using a purposive sample of seven informants. The participants were defined as those aged 18 or over, who had experienced extramarital infidelity (either party) and had remained as a couple for at least two years after the discovery of infidelity. The key findings from this study revealed motivational factors such as the investment of children, property and time as well as a desire to solve problems were instrumental in couples resolving their problems. Helpful strategies in rebuilding the relationships were making meaning of the affair and breaking the cultural barriers. It was found that reconciliation occurred through forgiveness, counselling and the rebuilding of trust. Added to these strategies were acts of kindness and vicarious learning. Modification occurred through personal growth and a change in the power dynamic in the relationship. The results of this study provide insights both for couples as well as professionals such as counsellors and psychologists in understanding what factors may assist in rebuilding a relationship after infidelity and what is involved in facilitating recovery. Implications of the current study for further research are also highlighted.
Publication Type: Thesis Masters Research
Rights Statement: Copyright 2007 - Iona Abrahamson
HERDC Category Description: T1 Thesis - Masters Degree by Research
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