Definition “an affair” means either a clandestine emotional or sexual liaison with someone other than a partner that violates the traditional wedding vows of sexual and romantic exclusivity. The liaison poses a threat to the primary love relationship. It could include any kind of relationship with someone other than the partner that the partner perceives as a threat to the primary relationship. we are referring only to committed or married couples in which an emotional or sexual affair has violated vows of sexual, romantic, and love exclusivity, it has involve deception of the hurt partner.
The data suggest that men who only have impersonal sex risk becoming lonely and dying sooner, and being sick or while alive.
Infidelity is the cause of 17% of divorces in the United States. 14% of married women report cheating at once during their married lives 22% of married men reported cheating at least once during their married lives.
The Bradberry lab showed that commitment needs to include a willingness to behave really invest in the relationship for commitment to predict marital stability. Rust Belt did the best research of anyone in the world and commitment. Not just friends 2003 Shirley glass.
3% of men who have affairs divorce their wives and marry their lovers.
Frank Pitman found that the divorce rate for those who do marry their lovers is 75%. There’s the intervention of reality, guilt, expectations, a general distrust of marriage, and the continued distressed of the affair partner.
There’s a high correlation between online infidelity and subsequent real time sexual affairs, disinhibition, accelerated intimacy, and hyper sexual online behavior that can easily lead to real time infidelity.
31% of people say that they have had an online conversation that has led to real time sex.
Shirley Glass (2003) Seeks to bust the myth that unhappiness with a marriage is the cause of affairs.
“Affairs are caused by conflict avoidance and self disclosure avoidance, not creating adequate boundaries, and at times sexual addiction, although that’s less frequent.” Affairs result from reversal of walls and windows.
The betrayed partner is suffering from a PTSD reaction to the affair. There needs to be a long process of talking about the affair that includes the betrayer partner expressing remorse and answering questions about the affair.
Peggy Vaughn‘s book “The Monogamy Myth,” (2002) you can download for free at her website: dearpeggy.com
She identified differences between people whose relationships stayed together versus those who broke up, post-affair.
Couples who stayed together talked thoroughly about the affair with one another, while couples who broke up tried to move forward without talking about the affair.
The betrayer partner’s expression of remorse was essential, as it was the betrayer partner listening non-defensively to the hurt partner‘s emotions and answering her partners questions with absolute transparency.
The suggestion is that the hurt partner not ask questions about types of sex during the affair, otherwise they will picture more traumatizing images. At this point there is no down regulation or minimizing of emotions. No criticism and contempt…
Express emotions without those but let’s not down regulate or minimize emotions just yet.
In this piece of therapy did you not talk about why it occurred because it’s premature to do so.
Discussing it to early may encourage the betrayer partner to blame the affair on their low marital satisfaction and her partner to engage in self blame.
Having an affair is a choice made by the betrayer partner alone.
The goals at this phase:
One- openness and transparency
Two- expressing emotion
Three- listening to emotion
Four- the betrayer partner expressing remorse.
Atonement not only includes verbal apology its behavior change. The couple is starting to build marriage number two in which honesty, transparency, and witnessing each other’s truths are the foundation. You may require that telling the truth is verified. This phase lasts for as long as her partner needs it to.
Note: both her partner and the betrayer partner a given therapeutic support and empathy.
Let’s take the judgment out of it.
They are, in fact, quite common.
The processes involved in affairs are fairly universal and very human.
We recognize that people at times betray their own morals.
Atonement is a way of return returning to oneself into one’s own moral home. This return involves transparency and, eventually in phase 2, greater understanding.
In phase 2, couples learn how to process their past failed bids for connection and their regrettable incidents, so they can understand how their communication went wrong. The “aftermath of a regrettable incident” is a helpful exercise for this.
Some realizations include both partners may have turned away from each other, engaged in negative comparisons, invested less in the relationship and become less dependent on the relationship to get needs met.
The betrayer may have engaged in critical thinking about the partner (criticizing the partner and overly critical) and blamed them for their own unhappiness.
The betrayer partner may have stayed open to, or even encouraged, flirtation with others, and given themselves permission to cross boundaries.
There’s a difference between understanding what went wrong, and blaming.
The processing may lead to more self- disclosure and vulnerability, related to deeper needs, as well as more awareness that each partner felt lonely and abandoned during their first marriage.
This is not used to accuse the partner for the affair.
Conflict avoidance seems to be universal for couples that have affairs. Great couples after an affair, go into talker listener without using the four Horsemen. They then to the dream within conflict exercise in the compromise exercise to help deal with gridlocked perpetual problems and arrive at a compromise. They may need help coping with diffuse physiological arousal and how to take a break to self soothe.
The couple learns how to create and ritualize every day emotional connection. They create rituals of emotional connection.
They work on expressing fondness and admiration for each other appreciation and gratitude for the contribution to the relationship. They learn how to have supportive stress- reducing conversation for sharing stresses that originate outside the relationship.
The couple has a weekly ritual called the “state of the union” in which once a week they talk about their feelings and needs in a calm way to create emotional connection without conflict.
Phase 3 attachment
The opposite of betrayal is establishing trust, commitment and loyalty.
Trust is based on transparency, truth, constructive conflict, processing past emotional injuries, and attunement.
We build towards recommitment and loyalty and faith through work on cherishing.
They talk purposefully about what values give their lives meaning, what dreams they have for their future individually and together, and their goals for fulfilling those dreams.
Couple who talk about their sex life have more satisfying intimacy over time.
When a hurt partner feels enough trust and safety with a partner to resume the sexual relationship, the work on rekindling romance and erotic connection can begin.
Tailor your sexual relationship to your own needs and preferences as a couple. Discuss topics like what kind of sexual initiation you would prefer, which kind of touch feels best, what are the best ego sparing ways to refuse sex and so on.
Design specific rituals of connection to integrate regularly into your relationship.
Choose times, places, and ways to connect in a predictable manner they can count on that feel satisfying and loving for both of them.
Rituals of connection sustain friendship closeness and emotional intimacy.
Set up a high cost for subsequent betrayals.
With this, you are on your way to working through the pain, healing the past and establishing a wonderful relationship 2.0
If you would like to add the following questions, to keep your relationship on track, I would suggest a review of these every 4 months or so until you both agree it is no longer needed. If either of you still want to do it, please do it.
Can you set up a checklist for the affair let’s check up on ourselves in four-six months a year for up to two years and look at are we doing what’s necessary to keep the affair healed and no relapses. The research seems to indicate that it takes 2-3 years to move into new patterns of trust that are enduring. As in grieving a death, many couples grieve the loss for 2-3 years.
Literally set up how good are you at doing this this this this this with a checklist