According to Julie Gottman of the Gottman Institute, there are various factors related to affairs that may persuade someone to think about committing infidelity from doing so. The number of people who have affairs is up for a lot of debate. Many studies have two partners in a room and ask them if either has had an affair. For obvious reasons, this method often does not create accurate results. Women seem to be catching up to men regarding the number of people having affairs, mainly based on more opportunities for women to meet other men.
Monogamy is Healthy
- People in a committed monogamous relationship live longer by an average of 10 years
- People are physically healthier
- People become wealthier
- Children do much better
- Having a committed person can reduce fearful situations
Affairs Rarely Last
- Affairs rarely last
- Only 3% of people who commit an affair marry their affair partner
- 75% of the people who marry an affair partner get divorced. The reason is understandably an inability to trust. This means affairs only work out in the long-term for about 1% of individuals.
The Ramifications Can be Devistating to Both Partners
Most people eventually get caught. When they do, it can cause complex PTSD for the betrayed partner. The symptoms can go on for years and possibly never heal. The partner who committed the affair can also have PTSD-like symptoms and intense guilt. The partner who has been betrayed often wants to keep asking questions about what happened and why it happened. The partner who committed the affair often wants to move on and push the issue under the rug. For more information, read about men and emotionally focused therapy.
The betrayed partner is often hurt because they wonder why the affair partner is seen as better than they are. The reality is it is far from an apples-to-apples comparison. A couple that has been in a relationship for a long time perhaps lives together or is perhaps married has seen all of the best and worst sides of their partner. It is normal for partners in long-term relationships to start to take one another for granted. The romance may have died down. A potential or actual affair partner may be only seen in their best light. Perhaps it happens at work where both people are dressed up every day. Maybe an affair involves primarily expensive dinners and sex, without the struggles that happen with any serious relationship. An affair often involves comparing a fantasy relationship to an imperfect real relationship, which the partners often fail to acknowledge that the fun and excitement of a less serious commitment will eventually wear off. Read about two things necessary for affair recovery.
It is Normal to Have Attraction and Engage in Some Flirting with Other People
Commitment or marriage do not necessarily take away people’s biological instincts. The expression “I may be married, but I’m not dead” can be very accurate. The problem occurs when a line becomes crossed. The rise of emotional affairs often starts with what appears harmless. People who have emotional affairs often do not intend to do so. It may start with having conversations with a trusted person one is attracted to about their partner. They can move to talk more about their relationship with their new “friend” than discussing with their committed partner. It may start innocently as a working lunch with a co-worker that then turns into regular lunch dates at fancy restaurants. The key factors are whether there is secrecy and whether the committed partner would be upset if the conversation or event were recorded and shown to their committed partner. In short, is anything being hidden? Things get even worse if the partner starting to commit a betrayal lies about it.
Counseling Can Help with the Aftermath of an Affair
Rebuilding trust can be a long and challenging process. Counseling can help rebuild trust and renew commitment. But unfortunately, an affair often destroys when the Gottman’s call the “Sound Relationship House,” and a new house must be rebuilt, almost from the beginning. People who have been unfaithful won’t be judged, but you may be asked to answer questions about what happened to help rebuild trust with your partner. Columbus, Ohio counseling can help.
Gottman Couple Method Training – Level 2. https://gottman.ce21.com/viewer/classroom/5896588
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