Q&A Can You Explain Compartmentalization in General and in This Type of Situation Specifically?

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I have heard a lot about compartmentalization. I admit I am skeptical that it is an excuse to feel better about intentionally hurtful behavior. We are 18 months out, have done the work and classes, and are emotionally very close now. My husband’s on and off year long affair was not very emotional, but fully sexual. He wanted the attention and believed I did not love or desire him at that time, and while that was not true, it was a dark time in our marriage and we both felt alone and unloved. I suspected the affair very early on, asked him directly and repeatedly, and expressed hurt many times, but he always denied it. He also put me in many social situations to intermingle with him and his affair partner when it wasn’t necessary - just optional social events. She was his boss and I would not have met her other than him bringing me to these events. He said he kept things separated in his mind, never stopped loving me, never wanted to leave me and rarely thought about his affair partner when he was home with me and our family. Can you explain compartmentalization in general and in this type of situation specifically? I think I would be more inclined to understand it in scenarios in which the betrayed is completely unaware of the affair and life seemed normal for him/her. But how would that work in my situation? Is it even possible?



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