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IC Covered in Prime Time by the Dr. Phil Show

Does Having IC Justify Infidelity??

There is no doubt that IC can impact some sexual relationships but does it justify one partner cheating on the other? Dr. Phil says "NO!" On the Tuesday October 7, 2003 Dr. Phil TV show, he featured Jennifer and Bruce, a young couple struggling with infidelity and IC.

Jennifer said that she can't help but wonder if she's to blame for her husbands cheating because she developed IC. She had left him six times and, surprisingly, thought that Bruce was justified in going elsewhere because sexual intercourse was painful. "I feel very guilty that I have this disorder. It makes me feel that I can't fulfill my husbands needs." But, she couldn't get past his affairs. She asked Dr. Phil if she should stand by her man.

Bruce, her errant partner, said "If she loves me, she'll forgive me." He has confessed to having many affairs. "I feel that Jennifer should continue to want this marriage and stay here with me and support me," said Bruce. "If she wouldn't have this bladder disorder, then we wouldn't have this problem."

IC patients around the country should be gratified by Dr. Phil's handling of this very sensitive topic. He first confirmed that IC was a very real disease, "Interstitial Cystitis is a very stubborn, very severe, and very real bladder disorder. " He turned to Bruce and said "This isn't just that she has a bad attitude. IC creates very severe pelvic pain."

He then asked Bruce if he really believed that Jennifer was responsible for him choosing to go outside of his marriage for sex. Bruce said "I blame the disorder that she has. If we could have sex like I wanted to, then I wouldn't have gone someplace else. That's how I feel."

In a classic Dr. Phil moment, he responded "I think that is the most self-serving load of crap I've ever heard in my life." Dr. Phil pointed out that Bruce was cheating before Jennifer developed IC, therefore it couldn't be because of the IC. He then said that a husband, a father and a man, should turn toward his wife, not away from her. "That's the time you should be mature enough to look yourself in the mirror and say, 'You know what, your impulses, your sexual needs, your sexual desires are just going to have to take a back seat for a while because your life partner, the mother of your children, is hurting.'"

But Dr. Phil had tough words for Jennifer as well. "If you think you're helping yourself and your son by allowing him to tell you you're responsible for things for which you have no control over, if you think that is in any way serving your purpose, then you are wrong. He will begin to treat you with dignity and respect when he sees you doing it yourself."

Had the situation been reversed and Bruce had become the IC patient, would he have been hurt if his wife had had many affairs? Probably. Would he have encouraged her affairs? Probably not. The price of life is that we each can become ill or injured. In every sexual relationship, there will be times when one partner can have sex and the other can't. The true test of the maturity of that couple is how they negotiate, communicate and handle that moment. One would hope that the healthy partner would offer support and encouragement rather than accusations and pain. It is the responsibility of both partners, as they age and mature, to find new, creative ways of expressing their physical and emotional love for each other.

Additional Reading:
Dr. Phil's Transcript -
15 Rules for Intimate IC Relationships -
Dr. Stanley Zaslau on Sex & IC -
Oona Mourier, PhD on IC In The Bedroom -

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