Exploring the lived experience of parental infidelity

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Lutfiye Salih discusses the lived experience of parental infidelity. An interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) methodology was used and a critical-realist epistemological stance was taken. Analyses revealed findings of four master themes elucidating participants’ experiences of parental infidelity: adultification, challenges in romantic relationships, the psychological experience and the pathway to healing. These master themes were sub-categorised into sub-themes as follows: adultification – becoming an emotional carer and awareness of parental sexuality, challenges in romantic relationships – fear of abandonment and relationship breakdown, intergenerational transmission of infidelity and differentiation, the psychological experience – an everlasting pain, the sense of self and loss: detachment and disconnection, the pathway to healing – restoration through destruction, perspective: intellectualisation and understanding and honesty and openness. Image courtesy of Lutfiye Salih.

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