Qualitative inquiry in couple responses to disclosure of marital infidelity

Document Type : Original


1 Ph.D. Student, Research Center, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran

2 Associate Professor, Allameh Tabatabai University, Tehran, Iran.

3 Associate professor of Allameh Tabataba'i University, Tehran, Iran


The aim of this study was to investigate the accountability styles of couples after disclosure of infidelity. The present study is qualitative, grounded theory was used to conduct.The research population included couples who were inhabitants of Tehran and still live together. They have experienced infidelity and the time of disclosure of infidelity was the minimum one-year and the maximum six years. Subjects were selected using purposive sampling method. Semi structured interviews were conducted with 21 couples; 14 injured partners and seven unfaithful partners. For analyzing data, open, axial, and selective coding processes used. Two main themes and ten sub themes of couples' accountability styles after infidelity achieved. Data analysis revealed couples use two kinds of strategies after disclosure of infidelity: Individual strategies and Interactive strategies. Individual strategies consist of management of negative emotion and benefit from spirituality; interactive strategies consist of conflict, avoidance, agreement, and collaboration. The result can help counsellors and couple therapists to understand the couple's strategies after disclosure of infidelity to plan therapeutic interventions. Specially, the therapists in the first steps of therapy for couples' infidelity can benefit from management of negative emotion and collaborative strategies.


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