There are numerous actions that can cause cracks and breaks to the foundations of a relationship—the greatest of which for many individuals would be infidelity. Most relationships will tolerate and often sustain the impacts of other forms of lying, jealousy, poor conflict resolution styles, and numerous other relational transgressions. However, infidelity will cut deep, hurt hard, and meaningfully damage any relationship. For many individuals this is often irresolvable. For the next few days I will explore this relationship transgression—some of the topical areas include:
- why these occur
- what are the chances of an affair becoming a successful relationship
- what is required if two people choose to rebuild after an affair occurs and
- what are the different types of affairs
We will begin with the defining of what an affair is—an affair is a non-sanctioned and often secret relationship of a sexual and/or emotional nature with an individual outside of one’s primary relationship. Individuals can be deemed to be having an affair even without physical/sexual contact; in fact, these types of emotional affairs are often more damaging then a onetime sexual encounter that occurs outside of the primary relationship. Affairs occur in a variety of scenarios and are often a sign of a failing relationship; however, there are some affairs that are more individually driven than a reflection on the primary relationship.
Emotional Affairs: this is where an individual seeks the company of another to meet and often reciprocate the emotional needs of themselves and the other party. These affairs are often of a longer standing nature and can build ties that do not even exist in the primary relationship, which is why this can become more damaging. To discover that your partner “loves” another hurts to the core of ones being. Individuals that seek this type of affair often rationalize that this is simply a “friendship” even though it remains secret, is time consuming, and enters emotional realms often neglected or ignored in their primary relationship. This type of affair can occur for a variety of reasons some of which include:
- seeking unmet emotional needs outside of the primary relationship
- having an inability due to past hurts to be open with one’s own partner so seeking an external partner for this critical area
- having an inability to tie “love” in their primary relationship with total openness
Any of these concerns can be addressed in a therapeutic environment as a coupleship, individually, or both depending upon the circumstances. Many couples are able to restore their relationships when the affairs remain at an emotional level. Later on, we will explore the therapeutic environment for gaining resolution and reconnectedness within the primary relationship after an affair. Next time—physical/sexual affairs.
TODAY HAS STARTED—HAVE A GREAT ONE!