Navigating Betrayal: How Conflict Avoidance Hinders Surviving Infidelity

Navigating Betrayal: How Conflict Avoidance Hinders Surviving Infidelity

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I'm idit sharoni, lmft
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist specializing in Affair Recovery, Betrayal Trauma, and Surviving Infidelity. The owner of Relationship experts private practice and host of Relationships Uncomplicated Podcast
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If you and your partner are working your way through surviving infidelity, what you are about to read is too important to ignore. Hiding in the shadows of too many relationships is a “silent killer.” It lurks between partners. It damages connections long before betrayal ever occurs. 

What is this menace? Conflict avoidance.

A man leaning his head on his hands, as if he is thinking how conflict avoidance can lead to infidelity. Affair recovery program in the United States can help couples survive infidelity and stop conflict avoidance. Schedule a consultation with Relationship Experts today.

Why didn’t you see it coming? Why don’t most couples recognize it when it is happening? How does something this destructive persist undetected and unresolved?

Because conflict avoidance feels quite natural when you’re doing it. It seems like the answer to difficult communication. It may feel good or even preventative at times. Don’t be fooled. This way of navigating betrayal, or any other relationship trouble, gradually and quietly disconnects partners before they realize what’s gone wrong.

So what’s a struggling couple to do? Is your relationship at the mercy of this relationship pitfall? Absolutely not. The key to change and healing is understanding exactly what conflict avoidance is, how it impacts your relationship, and what you can do to turn things around.


For the sake of clarity, we did some relationship research among couples seeking support through our infidelity recovery program. Responses varied but shared a key commonality regarding their connection pre-infidelity. For the most part, they used terms like “good”, “strong”, “healthy”, and “full of respect” to describe their unions. Yet, they also noted that communication was missing. 

Doesn’t that seem strange? Aren’t strong and healthy relationships comprised of partners who feel good about the way they communicate?

Actually, this is not the case. Societally, we support the idea that a good relationship is without fights or arguments. We mistakenly measure relationship health in terms of minimal confrontation instead of maximum communication. 

Culturally, we communicate. “If you don’t have anything good to say – don’t say anything at all.” This is particularly true for men.  To operate differently comes across as aggressive, a quality most modern relationships don’t tolerate well.  

Couple talking while holding glasses of wine. Talking and sharing concerns can help save your relationship. By stoping conflict avoidance you can start healing and building trust. Relationship Experts in the United States & Canada can help couples heal and survive infidelity. Schedule a free consultation today.

So What Happens When Confrontation is Perceived as a Relationship Negative?

  1. We keep things to ourselves. Especially if 
  • it’s negative
  • it’s a complaint
  • we’re vulnerable. 
  1. We persist in keeping these things to ourselves. Particularly when 
  • we think it’s just going to turn into another argument
  • we’re not going to feel heard or understood
  • we fear we might seem crazy/irrational/sick/etc. 

Test this theory. Ask a friend or family member, “Is confrontation good in relationships?” You are not likely to get a “yes.” Yet, much worse than confrontation in a relationship is avoidance of confrontation.

Why? Because, whether you intend it or not, conflict avoidance leads to disconnect.

Why Conflict Avoidance Is Common Before Infidelity. 

Simply put, when one or both partners stop sharing significantly, they become less vulnerable. They start keeping things to themselves. As a result, the foundation for deception between them is lain. 

Relationship expert Shirley Glass highlights this issue in her book, “Not Just Friends.” She shares that it becomes easier to harbor more secrecy when the partner’s lives no longer connect on a deep level.  

Additionally, if you and your partner cannot share deeply regarding complaints about your relationship, outside stressors, and your aspirations, you sentence your union to a superficial connection. The point of your communication is to keep the peace rather than know each other and grow together.


A couple laying in bed, the woman is smiling at her spouse. Representing the way a couple can feel when they have tools to hear the pain and stop conflict avoidance. Our online affair recovery program in the USA, Canada, and the UK can help couples deal with conflict avoidance. Book a free consultation with our relationship experts today

If you read studies about surviving affairs, you’ll likely discover that healing doesn’t start until the pain is heard. Thus, ending conflict avoidance is imperative in our infidelity recovery program. We intentionally guide our surviving infidelity couples through hearing the pain in ways they haven’t approached it before.

Additionally, we acknowledge that healing cannot continue if the couple will not make it comfortable to be vulnerable with each other. Essentially, we ask you to embrace relational healing. Become more comfortable with vulnerability together. 

This is a joint effort. When one becomes more vulnerable, the other makes it comfortable. And when one makes it comfortable, the other can become more vulnerable. One is nurtured by the other in a beautiful, perpetual cycle. 

What Does Healing Look Like?

Start with hearing the pain of the betrayed partner. Then, permit healing conversations to happen. As vulnerability feels more safe and more natural, the unfaithful partner can open up and offer more access to their inner world. This supports a new cycle of deep-level communication that can replace the habit of conflict avoidance. 

Just be prepared! There are often tears from couples in our infidelity program who reach this stage of recovery. Why? There is such release, joy, and safety in the relationship that has been missing for so long that couples (and their therapists) often become very emotional. 

How Long Does Changing Conflict-Avoidant Cycles Take? 

Neuroscience proves that change is not a years-long process. In fact, people can change behaviors and habits in a matter of hours thanks to neural plasticity. 

To aid that change, relationship expert and researcher John Gottman notes that couples who are successful in repairing their relationships have more instances of turning towards bids for connection. 

For example, a bid for connection might be one partner reaching out for a hug. Or it could be tactfully sharing a complaint about the relationship. The receiving partner is then tasked with turning towards that bid for connection. This means they should react positively, acknowledging their partner’s feelings, validating them, and possibly committing to improving the situation. 

Turning towards bids for connection bonds and connects you quickly. It is crucial for creating a happy, fulfilling relationship.


  • Pay attention. Identify what you are doing and become more aware. 

If you suspect this habit negatively affects your relationship, you aren’t alone. Work with a therapist to identify relational conflict avoidance right away.

  • Change the cycle of conflict avoidance.

Make bids for connection and respond positively to your partner’s bids. Constant arguments create exhaustion and restart conflict avoidance that can lead to infidelity. Be sure to honor bids for connection to support the health and depth of your relationship. 

Was this post helpful to you? We believe this information can help you heal your relationship. You don’t have to navigate conflict avoidance alone, we work with hundreds of couples and would love to work with you too.

A couple sitting on the beach watching the sunset. Representing the hope you can feel if you contact our relationship experts to help you change the cycle of conflict avoidance and survive infidelity. Schedule a free consultation today!


If you need a guide to heal your communication, we can provide a pathway toward surviving infidelity well. Let’s work together to determine how to help you create the loving, secure relationship you both want.  

Take the first step towards affair recovery and heal from infidelity. By seeking guidance and support at Relationship Experts, you can start your journey with the infidelity recovery coaching program. Purposefully and consistently, you and your partner can begin to navigate this delicate journey. Begin with these three meaningful steps toward a renewed connection and genuine healing:

  1.  Schedule a free 45-minute consultation.
  2. Meet our program specialist and learn about our Affair Recovery Programs and how we can help.
  3. Start healing your relationship!


Our team at Relationship Experts provides different affair recovery services to help you and your partner heal. Meet with us at your convenience. Our US-based private practice offers a variety of services online throughout the United States, Canada, the UK, and globally. Additionally, consider our Affair Recovery Program and Remorse Blueprint E-Course. We also offer a free Masterclass for partners committed to exploring the secret to healing from infidelity. Check out our Podcast for more information like this!



I’m Idit, your blog writer & podcast host.

practice owner relationship expert PODCASTER
blog writer

I am the owner of the highly respected Relationship Experts private practice based in Miami, Florida and focused on affair recovery. In over a decade and together with my team, we help couples with surviving infidelity and healing from betrayal trauma

A Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist specializing in Affair-Recovery and Infidelity Counseling in The United States and worldwide.

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