Love, Marriage and Infidelity – A Conversation with Professor Memhet Z. Sungur

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On Friday 3rd February, Willingness Malta is organising the next Nghidu Kelma Seminar, with a little twist. The 6-hour seminar, entitled Love, Marriage & Infidelity: Devil’s Triangle, will be presented by Dr. Mehmet Z. Sungur, a professor of psychiatry at the Medical Faculty of Marmara University, in Istanbul, Turkey, and an executive board member of the European Federation of Sexology. Insite spoke with Matthew Bartolo, the founder of Willingness Malta, and Dr. Memhet Z. Sungur to discuss the concept of infidelity ahead of the seminar.

As unthinkable as it may be, infidelity is a common occurrence. It’s one of the most challenging trials a relationship can face. When a partner learns of an act of unfaithfulness, the level of hurt, anger, shock, disbelief, and fear can be shattering and can often feel irremediable. Despite its destructiveness, infidelity is a reality.

“At Willingness we calculate that about 27% of our clients in the past 3 years have been through infidelity. It must be noted that one of our most popular services is that related to sex and relationships, which might effect this percentage. However, when one reads foreign statistics, the rate of infidelity seems to be in the same region”, said Matthew Bartolo of Willingness.

Dr. Memhet Sungur/

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Dr. Memhet Sungur/

Once the bonds are broken, moving beyond the betrayal seems inconceivable. For many, it’s the ultimate deal-breaker – no backsies. And understandably so, infidelity rocks the very foundation of a committed relationship. In spite of the devastation it brings, infidelity never goes out of style. The question that always lingers is why – why would an individual cheat while knowing what’s at risk?

When faced with this question, Dr. Sungur explained that “there are various reasons why a person is unfaithful. The common perception is that men cheat because they are looking for sex elsewhere, whilst women cheat because they do not have enough attention at home. Current research is showing us that this is not the case.”

Some might use cheating as a cowardly way of escaping a relationship they no longer want to be in, “the support from another person helps them feel less lonely when making such a big step”, said Dr. Sungur. Other times it could come to down to not knowing where the boundaries lay; the concept of infidelity is quite vague – what one might consider cheating isn’t necessarily cheating from another’s viewpoint. Dr. Sungur elaborated that “Cheating means different things to different people. The boundaries are not the same for all. Some, overstep those boundaries without knowing that there are such boundaries. This usually happens when said boundaries are not discussed beforehand.”
These boundaries might have become even blurrier with apps like Tinder, which open a whole new window of temptation for those with a wandering eye. Of course, technology has been blamed for cheating many a times. Is this really justified? Dr. Sungur shared his views on this point, “ I think that technology is a fantastic tool. It can be used to facilitate cheating as much as it can be used to facilitate communication and intimacy between the couple. I honestly think that those who would want to find an excuse for their behaviour will always find all sorts of reasons why they did wrong. Some time ago the same people would have blamed the fact that women went into the work place, or the fact that men are weak human beings who would succumb to any woman’s advances.”

Ultimately, for reconciliation to take place, admission of fault is necessary. Which leads to another important question, is it possible for a couple to regain a healthy, trusting relationship following an case of infidelity? For many, infidelity is often a point of no return. Yet while we all have our standpoints, sticking to our principles when someone close to us has been unfaithful might not be such a straightforward situation – the grey areas are limitless. Amidst the roller-coaster of emotions, thorny and agonising questions arise from the little voice in our head. Can we ever go back to what we were? Can we fully regain a healthy, trusting relationship? Will the doubts ever stop? Is moving forward possible, or will this always pull us back? Maybe I can forgive, but can I forget?

“It would be unfortunate and naïve to think that people will forget such a period in their lives…Forgiveness is a totally different thing. It is very possible for a person to forgive. I also suggest that people forgive for their own good, before that of their relationship and partner. Forgiveness does not mean that the anger will go, or that your heart will not ache every time you remember what your partner did”, said Dr.Sungur. It also depends on what one understands by healing. “For some healing might mean getting to terms with the fact that their relationship, or family, broke down as a direct effect of their wrongdoing. For others it might mean letting go of the anger and hurt caused by their partner’s cheating. Others will consider being healed if their relationship survives the aftermath of the unfaithfulness”, added Dr. Sungur.

Research suggests that all of these are possible if the individuals or couple are able to work through the emotions and understand that something has changed, that the relationship as they know it is over.

During the Nghidu Kelma seminar, Dr. M. Sungur will explain how from his research and vast experience he helps clients regain trust and rebuild their relationship. Dr. Sungur, travels the world teaching professionals in different countries. He has been decorated with a variety of awards and keynote speeches in several international conferences. If you would like to register for the event, click here to go to the event’s page.

Written by

Andrea Said

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