TRANSCRIPT FROM INTERVIEW
Chris Bruce: Hi everyone, my name is Christopher Bruce. I am a South Florida divorce attorney, and I have the pleasure of being joined today via Zoom by Guy Jeanty. He’s a psychotherapist in Broward County area. Today, what we’re going to talk about is something that I think is really important, and it’s dealing with infidelity in relationships.
Chris Bruce: Infidelity happens to a lot of people. It’s much more common than people think, and I think what Guy and I are going to talk a little bit is, although it’s hard to deal with, hard to process, it can actually be, for some people, a real turning point in improving their relationship.
Chris Bruce: We’re going to dive into all of this, and I guess before we get too far into it, Guy, maybe just introduce yourself, a little bit about your background, and we’ll talk about all of this stuff.
Guy Jeanty: Okay, awesome. Thank you so much, Chris, for inviting me to be a part of this conversation, and it’s a very, very important conversation, as you mentioned, [inaudible] topic of infidelity. Unfortunately, it can derail a lot of lives; in some cases, families, even.
Guy Jeanty: With that said, my name is Guy Jeanty, as you’ve indicated, and I’m originally from Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Grew up in Miami, and I’m from a pretty large family. When I was about 12 years of age, my two older brothers enlisted in the U.S. Army, and when they came home, I remember how happy I was to see them, but more excited, though, to see them in the uniform and seeing pictures of them with M-16 rifles and things of that nature. I was all boy, right away. I knew that’s something that I wanted to do to follow in their footsteps.
Guy Jeanty: Sure enough, after graduating from high school, I enlisted in the military and joined the U.S. Army; served for about six years, and was very happy with it, but I didn’t feel that it’s a career path that I wanted to pursue. Long story short, went to college, and then I entered the healthcare industry, where I worked as a counselor in the hospice setting.
Guy Jeanty: I worked with a lot of hospice patients and their families, and hospital settings… a lot of hospice patients in their homes, so a lot of hospice patients; in nursing homes, assisted living facilities. I did that for about, oh, a good 12 years, as the hospice counselor, and it was through that experience that I realized that I wanted to pursue higher education in terms of increasing my skills as a counselor, and that sort of led me to consider a doctorate in marriage and family therapy.
Guy Jeanty: I’ve been licensed as a psychotherapist since 2003. I actually hold two licenses: one is a licensed health counselor, and the second license is that of a licensed marriage and family therapist. So, I’ve been practicing as a psychotherapist for nearly 20 years right now.
Chris Bruce: Okay, that’s an admirable background and a pretty interesting one, too. I guess maybe one day I’ll have to ask you if you’re a hopeless Dolphins fan, too.
Guy Jeanty: They’ve broken my heart too many times, Chris.
Chris Bruce: We’re talking today… add a little humor to what could be a hard topic for people… infidelity. One of the things I wanted to ask you first, just from what you see in your practice… what do you see infidelity to be? I take it, it kind of means a lot of different things to different people, depending on somebody’s background and value systems, so maybe you could just speak to that for a second?
Guy Jeanty: Well, that’s another good question, and I think more and more, we, as a society… I’m going to speak a little bit broadly here… that we’re coming to have a more varied understanding about what infidelity is and what it actually means.
Guy Jeanty: I think, traditionally, that we were able to sort of define infidelity in fairly narrow ways, in that infidelity might have to do specifically, traditionally speaking, with a spouse or a partner committing an act of betrayal of a sexual nature.
Guy Jeanty: In light of the fact that these days, we’re so digitally connected, not only with family members, not only with friends, not only with spouses, we’re also digitally connected with exes, people that we maybe dated in high school, people that maybe we dated in college, people that we work with who may become attracted to us or that we may become attracted to them; and so, when we talk about these days, what infidelity is, it can present in many, many different ways. So, I think that fundamentally, it’s really, really important to understand what infidelity was within a particular context, and that particular context is the context of the relationship between the two individuals, and in some cases, maybe more than two individuals, but that’s a topic for another day.
Chris Bruce: Infidelity and Me: 2020.
Guy Jeanty: Yes, yes, indeed.
Guy Jeanty: Fundamentally, infidelity has to do with a breach of trust, and that is whether it was an explicit agreement between two people, or whether or not it might have been an implied agreement, and in many relationships, the kind of agreements or expectations that people have, more often than not, are implied agreements that never get discussed and then one person find themself breaching a particular unstated expectation or unstated agreement that can cause tremendous hurt, pain and anguish for the person who feel that their spouse or their partner should have known what the expectations and desires were.
Guy Jeanty: Again, infidelity, fundamentally, is about a breach of trust.
Chris Bruce: I mean, from what you’re saying, as a divorce lawyer, I hear a lot of people say a lot of different things. I always try to ask, “Why do you want to get divorced?” It’s interesting the, I guess you’d say, breaches of trust… I think that’s a good way to put it… how sometimes their maybe implied agreements or implied things… it’s interesting. It varies by person to person, for sure.
Guy Jeanty: Absolutely.
Chris Bruce: Maybe you could probably talk for an hour on this, but just for most of the people, why does infidelity happen in a relationship? I think it’s probably important for people to understand, why does this happen, especially if they’re in a state of [inaudible] processing it. What causes infidelity to happen, in your experience?
Guy Jeanty: That’s a very good question, Chris, and I appreciate you asking it. In fact, it is a question that couples struggle with. It’s a question at the forefront of most couples’ minds, particularly the person who has been injured, shall we say, by the act of infidelity.
Guy Jeanty: I think the why question is somewhat misleading, and when I say misleading, I mean it from this point of view: that is, we can have an expectation or a belief that there is one particular reason that my spouse, my husband, my wife, my boyfriend… whoever it is… say, cheated, with another person. So, the why question, in reality, it’s a bit more complex.
Guy Jeanty: What tends to happen, in my experience, is that the person who’ve been… shall we say, the person who has been injured in the relationship… there’s a very visceral part of them who wants to figure out, wants to know, why did this happen? Why did you do this to me? It’s a valid question. It’s a very, very valid question.
Guy Jeanty: However, it assumes a couple of things. Number one, it sort of assumes that there might be one particular reason, okay? In some cases, maybe, but generally, there’s a lot more to it than that. It also, I think, assumes that the person who… shall we say, who was the non-monogamous partner, or the person who caused the injury… there’s an assumption that they, themselves, actually know exactly why they committed the act of infidelity. Oftentimes, in some cases, the person who committed the act of betrayal, they may not necessarily know exactly all of the ramifications or all of the reasons, all of the factors, that went into them making that decision.
Guy Jeanty: One of the things that I often say to couples, just to kind of help to kind of give them some context about this very question, is that as hurtful, as painful, and as traumatic as that act, as that experience is, it’s really, really important to try our wrap our mind around the idea that the person that we’re married to, the person that we’re in the relationship with, they didn’t just happen to wake up one morning and decide that I’m going to cheat on my spouse.
Guy Jeanty: Typically, many, many things that happen beforehand that contribute… I tend to like to use the word contributes with couples, as opposed to the word causal, because the brain wants very much to find causal linkages, but in a situation that involves complex human experience, human emotions and things of that nature, it’s very difficult, and part of what sometimes makes it hard for couples is that there is a desire, and sometime a demand, for a clear and precise answer or explanation from the person who committed the act of infidelity; but the person who may have committed the act of infidelity, sometimes they may not necessarily be able to articulate concisely and precisely what was behind it. Sometimes it takes a little bit of time; it helps people to kind of flesh that out.
Guy Jeanty: That why question is a relevant question, but at the same time, it’s not as simple as people would like for it to be, because there are many, many factors that goes into that.
Guy Jeanty: So, just one quick thing: in some cases, one might say that a person committed the act of infidelity because of boredom, or maybe in some cases, it’s a way of exiting a relationship, okay? Sometime, the person may have committed the act of infidelity as an act of revenge. “Well, you cheated on me, so guess what? Now, I’m going to return the favor.” All of those kinds of things really sort of gloss over some of the more deep underlying factors that takes the relationship to that place to begin with.
Chris Bruce: Do you find that, in at least a number of the cases of infidelity that you see, and the couples that you work with and the clients that you work with, that there’s usually at least a little bit of both people, both parties to the relationship, kind of being jointly responsible. I mean, I know there’s situations to where, obviously, you have people who are abusive or they have certain types of disorders or addictions, but that aside, do you find that, at the real root, usually both people in the relationship have a part to play in what manifested the infidelity?
Guy Jeanty: That’s a fantastic question. I really appreciate that, because the short answer to the question, Chris, is yes, that is the case. However, from a therapeutic standpoint, it takes a lot of preparation with a couple before they can get to a place where they can begin to consider the different layers, the different factors that… again, I’m going back to that word that I mentioned previously, that “contributed” to the evolution, to the development, of a marriage or a relationship where one partner made the decision to cheat on another person.
Guy Jeanty: With that said, from a therapeutic standpoint, one of the things that’s very essential for me, when a couple comes in, is number one, to acknowledge the sheer pain, the anguish, and the heartbreak that has occurred. That’s point one, and I sort of know from a metaphorical standpoint, as acknowledging the fact that someone, one partner here, is bleeding, emotionally speaking. The focus is on, let’s figure out what we need to do to stop the bleeding. Let’s acknowledge this pain, this hurt. In doing that, it allows for a process where a cognitive shift is beginning to occur, where the person who has been injured, the person who has been hurt, where their anguish, where their pain is being acknowledged; and if their pain and anguish is being acknowledged, then they’re less likely to need to fight to make that point or try to convince someone, or their spouse or their therapist, about that.
Guy Jeanty: That’s priority one, to help to sort of establish acknowledging the pain, to sort of help to establish some level of emotional stability, some level of emotional equilibrium, so that both people can be present enough, emotionally, where they can hear each other without reacting out of pain and anguish, okay? That can take a little bit of time, to get a particular person, a couple, to that place. For some people, it may take them several sessions. Traditionally speaking, it may take several sessions to get to a place where a person feel heard enough to where they can begin to even be open and considering the possibility that, yes, what your husband or what your wife did was grotesque, was insensitive, was hurtful; demeaning, disrespectful.
Guy Jeanty: Acknowledging that piece, and then to be able to then say, we need to also take a step back and try to look at the bigger picture, and by the bigger picture, I mean… it’s that, let’s look at some of the different factors that may have played a role. They may not necessarily been things that either one of you thought about who have done consciously, but let’s just kind of take a step back to see what may have been some of the factors that rendered the relationship, perhaps, vulnerable to the situation occurring.
Guy Jeanty: This is not about blaming anybody, necessarily; it is more so so that we can take a more instructive look, so that we can see what needs to be seen, so that we can figure out where the vulnerabilities were, so that we can figure out where we need to work to figure out what needs to be repaired.
Guy Jeanty: Again, it takes a bit of time to establish some level of trust between myself and the couple so that they can feel that they’re not going to be battered in the process. It’s really a delicate balance. It’s a dance that’s necessary to be done, and I always say that it’s important to pace the session in such a way that the person who has been injured, that he or she feels heard; that they’re not being pushed into something that they’re not ready for; and the person who committed the act of betrayal, it’s important to keep them engaged, because if that person feels like they’re being beat up, they’re not going to stick around. They’re not going to stick around, and it just makes things even more difficult.
Guy Jeanty: Again, great question.
Chris Bruce: It sounds like acknowledging the other person’s pain is very important to do right off the bat, and I always recommend people to see a really good therapist that’s qualified and experienced in dealing with this type of stuff. Just maybe from what you do in therapy, and also just maybe practical things for people who are processing this right now that haven’t yet made into your office, what are some practical things that you think people, couples, can do in processing and trying to recover their relationship from infidelity? Maybe some things that might keep them out of my office?
Guy Jeanty: That’s a good question, but it’s also a tough question, so let me try to approach it this way.
Guy Jeanty: Again, every couple, obviously, is different. Every couple is as unique as the fingerprints that we carry. What’s important is for people to be able to have some sense of being able to figure out what they need in that moment, in that space.
Guy Jeanty: Again, it’s not always clear to people. I want to be very clear about that. It’s not always clear to a person what it is that they need, because in some sense, the person that they’ve opened their hearts to, the person to whom they’ve given the keys to their hearts… it’s that person that is causing the heartbreak. It’s that person that is causing the anguish. It’s that person that is causing them to feel enraged, angry. They’re not sure what they want from that person. “I want you to console me. I want you to comfort me, but no, I want you to get away from me, because you’re the reason why I’m in such pain.”
Guy Jeanty: People can sort of have almost like a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde kind of [inaudible] in that space, and so, typically, when people lack the ability to self-regulate, to self-soothe, to be able to calm their own emotions, then that, too, inadvertently end up exacerbating the situation, to where people end up making decisions that complicates matters even further.
Guy Jeanty: Having said that, for people who are able to sort of take a deep breath, center themselves, sometimes it’s helpful to be able to say to your wife, your husband, or the person that you’re in a relationship with, “I need some space, I need some time just to figure out what I even think about all of this. I need some space. I need an opportunity to try to wrap my brain around what has happened.”
Guy Jeanty: That doesn’t necessarily mean… and run to your office, but what tends to happen, Chris, is that in the throes of infidelity, particularly when two people are living in the same space, that the oxygen gets sucked out of that space, and people can feel emotionally like they’re suffocating. That’s the perspective from which I speak when I say that sometime, what may be necessary is for the person who’s been hurt to simply recognize what they need, and what they need may simply be that, “You know what? I need a little bit of space. I need a little time for myself so that I can get some clarity about what I think and what I need, and that will help me to better understand, to better know, what to ask you for and how you can be part of this solution.”
Guy Jeanty: I think that’s the first step, being able to find a way to get some distance so that you can get some clarity, and that can mean anything. Sometime it may mean going for a drive. It may mean, if there’s a close friend or very good family member that you trust, who respects you, who respects your relationship, that you need to spend the night over, but in a very safe place where people are not going to take advantage of a person’s emotions and things of that nature… to be able to find a space where you can get to sort of bring down, lower the temperature, so that people can have better clarity; I think that’s one of the more important things with respect to the questions that you’re asking.
Chris Bruce: I know just from us knowing each other for a little while now, one of the things you do a lot of work with is couples and challenges in their relationship, things like infidelity. I know one of the things you were telling me about, and this is not really meant to be any type of commercial for you, but you do intensives… a little bit more time… with people, and sometimes larger blocks of time to help work on their relationships. Maybe you could just speak for a minute on two on, how does something like that help people, help couples, when they have an acute issue arise in their relationship like infidelity, and how does that work?
Guy Jeanty: Okay. Appreciate the question.
Guy Jeanty: The couples intensive… before I address that, let me just kind of mention about the traditional ways in which couples [crosstalk] therapy. Typically speaking, people going to therapy… the basic therapy hour is basically 50 minutes, maybe 60 minutes. For most cases and for most situations, that’s sufficient time to address issues, whether it has to do with anxiety or career-type issues, depression and things of that nature. Sometimes for kind of maintenance-kinds of issues for couples, a traditional hour session can be sufficient.
Guy Jeanty: However, where the one hour session becomes problematic, particularly for couples who are experiencing acute distress in their relationship… whether they’re going through a divorce, or they’re thinking about separating, or in the case of what we’re talking about, or if infidelity has occurred… because of the intensity of those kinds of experiences, the traditional 60 minute session typically is not a good way to go, and the reason for that is that given the intensity of the emotions that people bring into a therapeutic process, that oftentimes, for the hour session, issues come up with very little time and opportunity to actually resolve the issues that come about.
Guy Jeanty: What can happen, sometimes, is that couples may come away from a 45 to an hour session feeling more frustrated and more angry after the session, because all that they’ve had the opportunity to do is basically vent 45 minutes to an hour, and then, “Okay, I’m sorry, it’s time to go.”
Guy Jeanty: The value of an intensive session… intensive session basically means that, it’s a session in which a couple is seen for six hours or longer, and the value of the intensive is that it enables each person to be able to articulate what he or she thinking, feeling, with the opportunity of not being rushed or not having the session being dictated or controlled by the clock on the wall. It allows couples to actually delve deeply, take a deep dive, into the core issues, and also it allows time for actual problem-solving, okay? It creates the opportunity where people can find and to create quicker and faster resolution to some of these problems faster and more quickly.
Guy Jeanty: That has multiple benefits for couples. Number one, it helps to decrease the tension, it helps to decrease the volatility, and it helps to establish a better safe space, a better safe zone, for people. It also has direct correlation to not only emotional, psychological, but it also has direct correlation to physical wellness, as well. What happens is that, is a person is under a tremendous emotional distress, it means that their mind and their body, essentially, is in a state of fight or flight, in which means that their immune system is working overtime to help to compensate for the emotional attention and distress that they’re experiencing.
Guy Jeanty: In an intensive session, we also incorporate a number of other kinds of modalities to help people to sort of actually regulate their physiology so that they can be present, both in mind and body, so that we can address the issues, and also to have enough emotional energy to invest into the solutions to the problems that they’re presented with.
Chris Bruce: Let me throw out a sense, and I imagine it’s probably, for everyone, but especially you… it probably takes a lot to mediate all of that, I guess, and in a situation to where… I mean, if things aren’t handled properly, sometimes from the very beginning, in processing all of this, sometimes it might be the end of a relationship. I guess as it kind of relates to infidelity, and I see, just in what I do as a divorce lawyer, there’s a lot of people, in my experience, that can process it and actually have a better relationship after it, but not everyone gets there.
Chris Bruce: I’m curious, and I think a lot of people would be very interested to know, just from your perspective, what are some signs that maybe the relationship issues that infidelity has brought to the surface are possibly signs of a relationship that has run its course, maybe a relationship that’s best to come to a close, as opposed to being, for lack of a better word, fixed? How do you know when maybe it’s time for both people to move on?
Guy Jeanty: Well, there are a number of signs and indicators that could point to that. Having said that, 20 years-plus into this work, there are some things that I can see that might be indicative of a relationship that’s not likely to be repairable, and a relationship that’s not repairable doesn’t necessarily have to mean that there’s been a failure on the part of the individuals. I’m going to get back to that in a moment.
Guy Jeanty: In order to help a couple to figure out whether or not, or when, a relationship has run its course requires a great deal of clinical expertise, but Chris, more than anything else, more than anything else, it requires patience on the part of the therapist.
Chris Bruce: I bet.
Guy Jeanty: It requires patience on the part of the therapist because it may be obvious to the therapist that some things are just… I mean, the wheels are just coming off, and there’s no fixing this.
Guy Jeanty: However, for the people who are involved in that relationship, who are involved in that marriage, they’re emotionally invested. They have a history. They have years, sometimes several decades, of life tied into the relationship, invested in the person. So, they may not yet be at a place emotionally… logically, they could see it. Logically, they could see that this is not going to work, but on an emotional level, they not be at the place where they’re ready to exit the relationship. It’s from that standpoint, it’s from the emotional aspect where a clinician, where a therapist, needs to be patient with the couple so that the therapist is not driving the process, but that the therapist is working in concert, collaboratively, from an emotional standpoint; providing the support for the couple, and helping them to come to the place of the realization of what it is that they want to do or need to do about a relationship that, for all intents and purposes, appears to be irreparable.
Guy Jeanty: So, it’s going to take them a little bit of time. One person might see it; the other person might not necessarily see it. Again, just as a caveat here, that is with the proviso that as long as there’s no safety issue at play; that is to say that there is no one feeling threatened. As long as there’s no issue about physical safety, emotional safety, and things of that nature, then it’s important to appreciate the fact that it may take a minute for a couple to actually come to terms with the fact that a relationship has run its course.
Guy Jeanty: Having said that, with respect to infidelity, in particular, what might be some telltale signs that a relationship is not able to be redeemed or to be reconciled? Let’s look at, first of all, the part of… or certain behaviors, perhaps… of the person who is the non-monogamous partner, the person who committed an act that injured his or her spouse or partner.
Guy Jeanty: If the person who committed the act of infidelity is callous, is unsympathetic, unapologetic, flagrant about the act of infidelity, and doesn’t see that they’ve done anything wrong whatsoever, that is a telltale sign that that is a relationship that is not going to work, because if you have one person who basically is laying out, metaphorically speaking, in the middle of the road, [inaudible 00:38:49], bleeding… and then the partner just basically looks at them and says, “I didn’t do anything wrong,” that’s a very, very important indicator that the relationship might not be repairable.
Guy Jeanty: Now, on the side of the person who, say, was the injured party, shall we say, or the monogamous partner, if that person finds him or herself constantly angry, enraged; feelings of contempt toward their partner; if they are having relentless, intrusive thoughts… that they just can’t shake those thoughts, and they find themselves becoming angry and bitter… that, too, can be an indication that the pain and the hurt is so deep that repairing that wound may not be possible within the context of that relationship.
Guy Jeanty: So, for people who are in that camp where rage and anger and intrusive thoughts becomes their norm, then it’s probably necessary for them to begin to sort of contemplate an exit strategy so that he or she can save themselves, because that level of emotional and psychological distress is going to have a ripple effect in the personal life, professionally, and of course, it’s going to cause a person’s health to deteriorate in a relatively short time period, as well.
Guy Jeanty: Let me just kind of add one other thing, as well, Chris, and I know that you’re aware of some of the work that I do, as well, with respect to couples, but specifically, given what we’re talking about right now, the fact that there are those situations when exiting a relationship is the proper course of action. I also now talk with couples about this, that when a relationship has come to that place, to begin to make some mental adjustments about it, and it doesn’t have to mean failure if we can look at a relationship and determine that, “You know what? I’ve done, we’ve done, the best that we could do for the time that we’re [inaudible 00:42:23], and so, it’s been a good ride. It hasn’t all been easy, but I feel I’ve given it everything that I could give it, and if you feel that you’ve given it everything that you’ve been able to give to it,” there’s some redemptive qualities about that, okay?
Guy Jeanty: There’s a level of integrity that we can take away in knowing that I did all that I could do, and now I need to start a new course, a new path. Sometimes couples can stay too long, and in those cases, when people stay too long, tragic things can happen, and unfortunately, tragic things do end up happening. It’s unfortunate because more often than not, those are situations that could have been averted, and so it’s no surprise to any of us that we all know of cases where people commit acts that cannot be undone because of a very poor relationship.
Guy Jeanty: Unfortunately… this wasn’t a case of my own, thankfully, but I was called to a situation just this February, where a husband and wife, they were undergoing a lot of marital distress, and the long and short of it… unfortunately, the husband in that particular case… and this happens sometimes between both genders, males and females, husband and wife can do desperate acts. In this particular instance in February, this husband murdered his wife, and sadly, as grotesque as it is, he also killed his two kids.
Chris Bruce: [crosstalk]
Guy Jeanty: Then, he, himself, committed suicide. It’s sad; beyond sad. It’s tragic. It’s tragic, because there are better ways. There are other options when a relationship has run its course to figure out a better course of action to start a new chapter.
Guy Jeanty: Those kinds of situations, unfortunately, as you know… very distressing, heartbreaking, but they don’t really need to happen. They don’t really need to happen with other options. There are other options.
Chris Bruce: I mean, I guess, on that, and I’m probably using too many buzzwords in one sentence here, but I mean… what’s your best advice for couples who want to go through the decoupling process in an amicable way when they feel like the relationship has run its course? I mean, what are some of the best ways to go about that process?
Guy Jeanty: Well, again, at the outset, it’s important that people feel safe and that people remain safe. That is the bottom line. That is the bottom line. It’s important that we ensure that there are safety measures in place, and that there’s no one… not the wife, not the husband, not the kids… it’s important to make sure that everyone is committed to safety. It is important to make sure that everyone is committed to the well-being of the other person. It’s important to make sure that people are committed, particularly where there are children, it’s important to make sure that the safety and the well-being of the children are, without question, a priority, okay?
Guy Jeanty: In the decoupling process, again, I think it’s really, really important for people to be able to own certain things, to own certain things, and that is… regardless of how bad a marriage might have been, it’s important for each person to be able to acknowledge and to claim the good things that they brought to the table; to be able to own the good things that they contributed to the marriage. It’s also important for each person to be able to acknowledge and to accept the good things that the other partner was also able to bring into the relationship.
Guy Jeanty: Now, why do I say that? Typically, when people get to a stage of feeling the need to part, all too often, people can begin to sort of think about the relationship in very extreme ways, in absolute ways; that is, “He was never around. He was always mean to me.” Well, the one thing that I can tell you about human nature is that we are predictably inconsistent, and I say that even knowing that is ever always angry or always mean. No one is ever a particular way. Yes, it may feel that way on an emotional level, but there are those instances in the relationship where some good things happened that I found helpful, that I found meaningful, that I found validating.
Guy Jeanty: To be able to acknowledge some of those things, and also to be able to make the shift, to be able to make the shift in exiting the relationship where there is clarity about, what are the values that I have that I feel are no longer being respected, are no longer being respected or valued, that I feel that I need to make a decision about those particular values; and the reason why I framed it that way is that the couples who exit relationship from the same point of blame… that is, “I’m leaving the relationship because she was unfaithful to me. I’m leaving the relationship because she spent too much money. I’m leaving the relationship because of what she did”; or, “I’m leaving the relationship because of what he did”… when it’s framed in that way, we come away from the relationship with a skewed perspective. That is, we come away from the relationship from the standpoint of, something was done to us.
Guy Jeanty: That’s not to take away from whatever might have happened. We’re all human beings. We don’t please our partners or our spouses 100 percent of the time. We’re going to drop the ball. We’re going to fail in the process; but in the decoupling process, I think that it serves each person best if they’re able to transition on to their next chapter by saying that… or coming to a place of saying that, “I no longer feel that the way that I want to be treated, the way that I want to be loved, and the way that I want to love my spouse… I don’t feel that I’m able to do this anymore. So, that is something that is still very important for me, and so, I’m holding onto those kind of values, and so I’m going to take this and move into a different direction.”
Guy Jeanty: It’s kind of a subtle kind of a distinction, but I think the necessary distinction to try to move from the place of blame to a place of value. What are the values that you have that are not being shared, they’re not being respected, that you’re moving with and taking to a new relationship, rather than the disappointment, the pain and the hurt and the anguish? The pain and the hurt and the anguish, if we carry those things with us, well, guess what? It’s only going to show up in the next relationship.
Chris Bruce: Yeah. Again, yeah. Well, I mean, that sounds like a great way of reframing the way of thinking about the situation, and I think maybe if more people did that, they might have a easier time in, at least initially, moving on.
Chris Bruce: I guess we’re kind of coming close to the end of the time we had for this. My name is Christopher Bruce. I’m a divorce lawyer in South Florida. I’m here with Guy Jeanty, a psychotherapist found mostly in the Broward County area of South Florida.
Chris Bruce: Guy, for the people that are listening to this and they’re thinking to themselves, “Well, I’m kind of resonating with you and what you’re saying,” maybe tell just a little bit more about your practice and how you help people, and how people might go about getting in touch with you.
Guy Jeanty: Thanks, Chris. My area of specialization, as I’ve mentioned, is couples therapy, and particularly, couples who are struggling with needing to repair their relationships, or infidelity has occurred and [inaudible] figure out what to do about it, what they want to do about it, how to repair the breach of trust, the betrayal, that has happened. Those are areas that I specialize in.
Guy Jeanty: I also do a good bit of work with first responders who struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder, because those men and women certainly… they’re impacted in a lot of ways in terms of the kind of work that they do on our behalf, and oftentimes, some of the things that they experience, unfortunately, are taken back home into their families and to their relationships.
Guy Jeanty: So, my office is in Davie, and I’m in the process, also, of opening another office in the North Broward area. For people who want to get in contact with me, they can do so by going to my website, which is drjeanty.com. That’s D-R-J-E-A-N-T-Y dot com, drjeanty.com, D-R-J-E-A-N-T-Y dot com.
Chris Bruce: Okay. We’re doing this by Zoom, but do you ever do any of the therapy through any of the online ways, just for the people that are listening to this in other areas?
Guy Jeanty: Good question, appreciate that. I do some telehealth counseling, some online sessions, with clients, both individual sessions, as well as couples therapy sessions, as well; so, happy to provide that for folks for easier access.
Chris Bruce: Well, thank you so much, Guy. I really appreciate you taking the time out of your day to give this information, and I really hope it’s helpful for the people who need it. I think we covered a lot of great things here, so thank you very much for your time.
Guy Jeanty: Well, thank you so much. I appreciate the opportunity to spend this time with you today, Chris. Thank you so much.