Relationships Information

Extramarital Affairs: What Everyone Needs to Know and What You Can Do to Help


Recent statistics suggest that 40% of women (and that number is increasing) and 60% of men at one point indulge in extramarital affairs. Put those numbers together and it is estimated that 80% of the marriages will have one spouse at one point or another involved in marital infidelity.

That may seem like a very steep number. However after two decades plus of full time work as a marriage and family therapist, I don't believe that number is off the charts. I worked with a great number of people involved in infidelity who were never discovered.

The possibility that someone close to you is or soon will be involved in an extramarital affair (any of the three parties) is extremely high.

Maybe you will know. You will see telltale signs. You will notice changes in the person's habits and behavioral patterns as well as a detachment, lack of focus and reduced productivity. Maybe you will sense something "out of character" but be unable to pinpoint what it is.

It is not a given that he/she will tell you. Those hiding the affair will continue to hide. The "victim" of the extramarital affair often, at least initially, is racked with anger, hurt, embarrassment and thoughts of failing that preclude divulging the crisis.

It might be important to confront the person with your observations, depending on the status of your relationship with the person.

It is important to understand that extramarital affairs are different and serve different purposes.

Out of my study and experience with hundreds of couples I've identified 7 different kinds of infidelity.

Briefly, some extramarital affairs are reactivity to a perceived lack of intimacy in the marriage. Others arise out of addictive tendencies or a history of sexual confusion or trauma.

Some in our culture play out issues of entitlement and power by becoming "trophy chasers." This "boys will be boys" mentality is subtly encouraged in some contexts. Some become involved in marital infidelity because of a high need for drama and excitement and are enthralled with the idea of "being in love" and having that "loving feeling."

An extramarital affair might be for revenge either because the spouse did or did not do something. Or the revenge may stem from rage. Although revenge is the motive for both, they look and feel very different.

Another form of infidelity serves the purpose of affirming personal desirability. A nagging question of being "OK" may lead to usually a short-term and one-person affair. And finally, some affairs are a dance that attempts to balance needs for distance and intimacy in the marriage, often with collusion from the spouse.

The prognosis for survivability of the marriage is different for each. Some affairs are the best thing that happens to a marriage. Others serve a death knell. As well, different extramarital affairs demand different strategies on the part of the spouse or others. Some demand toughness and movement. Others demand patience and understanding.

The emotional impact of the discovery of infidelity is usually profound. Days and weeks of sleeplessness, rumination, fantasies (many sexual) and unproductivity follow. It typically takes 2 - 4 years to "work through" the implications. A good coach or therapist can accelerate and mollify the process. I don't recommend "marriage" counseling, at least initially.

The devastating emotional impact results from a couple powerful dynamics. Trust is shattered - of one's ability to discern the truth. The most important step is NOT to learn to trust the other person, but to learn to trust one's self. Another is the power that a secret plays in relationships. THE secret exacts an emotional and sometimes physical toll that needs to be acknowledged and dealt with.

How can you help?

Those in the midst of their affair crisis told me they need this from you:

1. Sometimes I want to vent, get it out without censor. I know sometimes I will say what I shouldn't be saying. It may not be nice, pretty or mild. Please know that I know better, but I need to get it off my chest.

2. Every so often I want to hear something like, "This too shall pass." Remind me that this is not forever.

3. I want to be validated. I want to know that I am OK. You can best do that by nodding acceptance when I talk about the pain or confusion.

4. I want to hear sometimes, "What are you learning? What are you doing to take care of yourself?" I may need that little jolt that moves me beyond my pain to see the larger picture.

5. I may want space. I may want you to be quiet and patient as I attempt to sort through and express my thoughts and feelings. Give me some time to stammer, stutter and stumble my way through this.

6. I want someone to point out some new options or different roads that I might take. But before you do this, make sure I am first heard and validated.

7. When they pop into your mind, recommend books or other resources that you think I might find helpful.

8. I want to hear every so often, "How's it going?" And, I may want this to be more than an informal greeting. Give me time and space to let you know exactly how it IS going.

9. I want you to understand and welcome the ambivalent feelings and desires. I would like you to be fairly comfortable with the gray areas and the contradictions about how I feel and what I may want.

10. I want you to be predictable. I want to be able to count on you to be there, listen and speak consistently or let me know when you are unable to do that. I will honor that.

Extramarital affairs are powerful. Affairs are costly. They affect family, friends, colleagues and employers. Infidelity is also an opportunity - to redesign one's life and love relationships in ways that create honor, joy and true intimacy.

Dr. Robert Huizenga, The Infidelity Coach, has helped hundreds of couples over the past two decades heal from the agony of extramarital affairs and survive infidelity. Visit his website at: http://www.break-free-from-the-affair.com


MORE RESOURCES:
Relationships Articles from EzineArticles.com
02/19/2020 09:18 AM
The Intersting Things I Learn
Every day offers me the opportunity to learn new ideas and to gain perspective. Just when I think a door has closed and I have thus met a blind alley, a new ray shines in and more excitement begins.
02/10/2020 09:26 AM
Appreciating One's Culture As Well As Accepting That of Others
Knowing, understanding, and working within relationships is most likely to achieve the best results. Being able to listen, critique, reflect and determine steps forward as a unit most often produces optimal results.
02/06/2020 11:14 AM
Life in the City After Years Spent in the Country
Retiring to live on a farm in the country was like living in a worldly paradise. The rural way of life exists at a slower pace, achieved without the rush one experiences when living in the city. Neighbours are friendly and caring and the homes not built on top of each other.
01/28/2020 02:54 PM
Authentic Partnerships Empower
What is an authentic partnership? While we form many partnerships throughout life, some are just temporary, some fall apart over time, but the most valuable ones, the essential partnerships are constructed for the long-term, based on mutual respect and personal regard. How important are authentic partnerships in your life?
11/25/2019 10:29 AM
Right and Wrong - Polarised Thinking?
People shy away from the notion of right and wrong because it smacks of judgmental and simplistic thinking. Yet we need guidelines to inform proper conduct in the way we relate to each other.
11/18/2019 07:16 PM
Relationships: What Can Someone Do If Another Person Is Triggered?
Whether one is at university, reading a self-development book, or talking to a friend about what has been taking place in their life, there is a phrase that they could end up hearing. The words that come before or after it could be different but there will be one word that is the same.
10/31/2019 01:16 PM
Four Stupid Things People Say When You're Grieving From a Misfortune
What are stupid things people say when you suffer a misfortune? Some are discussed here.
10/24/2019 06:12 PM
Relationships: Is It Normal For Someone To Shut Down If Their Partner Is Not Responsive?
At the start of a relationship, one may find that their partner is fairly or even extremely responsive. What this means is that this person will listen to what they have to say, stop doing certain things if they have negative effect on them, and be open to feedback, amongst other things.
10/23/2019 09:38 AM
Relationships: Why Would Someone Feel Smothered Whenever Their Partner Expresses Their Needs?
If someone is in a relationship, there are going to be needs that they will want their partner to meet and there will be needs that their partner will want them to meet. And while some of their needs will be different, a number of their needs will most likely be the same.
10/23/2019 09:35 AM
Relationships: Do Some Men's Childhoods Set Them Up To Walk On Eggshells Around Women?
While a man may typically feel comfortable enough to be himself when he is around another man, this might rarely be the case when he is around a woman. When he is around a woman, he could have the tendency to become someone else entirely.
10/14/2019 02:12 PM
Relationships: What Can Someone Do If They Are Triggered In A Relationship?
When one has only just started to spend time with someone, they can find that just about everything runs smoothly. So whenever they are with the other person, they can feel good and even relaxed.
10/01/2019 09:26 AM
Relationships: Why Would Someone Lose Themselves When They Get Into A Relationship?
What someone may find, that's if they were to get into a relationship, is that they start to lose touch with who they are. So as the weeks and months go by, they will be nothing like they were in the beginning.
09/25/2019 12:10 PM
Mother Enmeshed Men: Why Would A Mother Raise Her Son To Be A Surrogate Spouse?
Although some men are able to form healthy relationships with women, there are others that are unable to do so. There are, of course, a numbers of reasons as to why this is.
09/11/2019 02:27 PM
Why You Can Love an Abuser
Paradoxically, you can love an abuser despite the abuse. It forms a trauma bond binding you to the abuser even more. Learn why, and what to do. Abusers are good at seduction and wait until they know we're hooked before showing their true colors. By then, our love is cemented and doesn't die easily. It's difficult to leave an abuser.
08/20/2019 09:22 AM
Love Bombing: Are Some People Easy Targets For 'Love Bombers'?
If one was single and they were to meet someone who showed a lot of interest in them, they could find that they end up being drawn to them. And what might also play a part here is that one may be physically attracted to them.
08/14/2019 08:23 AM
Relationships: Can Someone Look Towards Others To Fulfil Their Unmet Childhood Needs?
If someone is an adult, it could be said that they won't need the same things that they needed when they were a child. This comes down to the fact that they will have grown out of a number of these needs.
08/05/2019 10:32 AM
Relationships: Can A Past Life Connection Cause Someone To Stay In A Dysfunctional Relationship?
If someone was to come to the conclusion that they are in a relationship that is not very healthy, they could look into what they could do to change it. Through taking this approach, it will give them the chance to see if anything can be done.
08/01/2019 08:03 PM
The Digital Age of Connection - The Greatest Oxymoron of Our Time
There is an arguable debate that our digital age makes it easier for people to connect. Emails, messenger apps, social media platforms, dating apps and even video gaming have become the social norms for connecting. Yet, the rate of suicide continues to rise in the US. Perhaps we are missing a very obvious and overlooked point.
08/01/2019 07:25 PM
Some of the Worst Ways to Breakup With Someone You Once Loved
In some relationships, the desire to break up with your partner is so strong that it forces you to take action before you even give yourself the chance to think which almost always lands up coming across heartless, cowardly, immature and causes so much more pain than it should. Some people try to take the easy way out or are just plain cruel by nature and have no regard for their partner's feelings, the time and effort that was invested in the relationship which causes them to resort to some of the worst ways to break up...
07/31/2019 09:13 PM
Clues That Your Relationship Might Be Coming To an End
Nobody likes going through a break up. A break can leave you feeling betrayed. It hurts and often takes a long time to get over. A break up can be especially bad if it comes as a surprise.
07/31/2019 08:02 PM
Do Some People's Childhoods Set Them Up To Feel Comfortable With Hot And Cold Behaviour?
If one is in a position where their romantic relationships have not been very fulfilling, what they may find is that it's because they have the inclination to end up with people who are anything but reliable and consistent. If so, this will mean that they have been with a number of people who are hot one minute and cold the next.
07/31/2019 08:02 PM
Relationships: Can Someone Push Other People Away When If They Feel Worthless?
It has been said that a key part of someone being able to function at their best is for them to have fulfilling relationships. And, as they are an interdependent human being, this is not exactly a shock.
07/29/2019 12:22 PM
Relationships: Why Do Some People Fall Apart When A Relationship Comes To An End?
If one has just gone through a break up, they may find that it is hard for them to focus on other areas of their life. Due to how much pain they are in, everything else could fade into the background.
07/18/2019 10:33 AM
Relationships: Can A Relationship Allow Someone To Become More Integrated?
When someone first starts to spend time with another person, they may find that they only experience good feelings. If there are moments when they don't, these moments may soon pass.
07/16/2019 04:50 PM
Relationships: Can A Relationship Bring Up Emotions That Were Frozen?
If someone is not in a relationship, they may find that they are generally settled. What this can mean is that they are rarely emotionally flat and are rarely overwhelmed by their emotions.
07/08/2019 10:01 AM
Relationships: Can The Fear Of Abandonment Cause Someone To Be Controlling?
When someone starts to spend time with another person, they might not even think about trying to control what they can or can't do. In fact, this could be the last thing that is on their mind.
07/08/2019 09:51 AM
Relationships: Is It A Good Idea For A Man To Only Confide In His Partner?
If a man is single, he may find that there is no one is his life that he can share certain things with. This can relate to how he feels, the challenges that he is going through and the things that he has done that he is not too happy about, for instance.
07/05/2019 12:30 PM
Relationships: Is It Important To Be Able To Hold Space For Others?
If someone has a friend who is going through a tough time, they could end up telling them what they need to do to get through it. This is then going to be a time when they will try to fix or rescue this person.
07/05/2019 12:29 PM
I Can't Live Without You!
A number of months ago, I heard someone say that they couldn't live without their partner. Now, this wasn't because this person was disabled and therefore, needed this person in order to be able to handle life.
06/25/2019 03:34 PM
Shipboard World Community
Lately I have been puzzling about the world, its inhabitants and how we can find a way to get along with each other. The Internet, TV and news outlets focus on our differences and how we are increasingly drawn into opposite factions. In the process, we tend to discount other groups and see their ways, thoughts and feelings repulsive.
06/17/2019 09:51 AM
Relationships: Can Someone's Need To Save Others Have A Negative Effect On Their Relationships?
If someone was to hear that their friend is going through a tough time, they could give them a call or go to see them. No matter what they do, this could still be a time when they will listen to what they have to say and offer their support.
06/06/2019 10:35 AM
Relationships: Why Do Some People Hide Their True-Self In A Relationship?
If one is in a relationship, it could show that they are with someone who they share every part of their being with. What this means is that they will talk about what is taking place in their mind, reveal what is taking place in their heart and share their body.
06/03/2019 10:22 AM
Relationships: Is Your Emotional State Controlled By Other People's Moods?
As to whether or not it is a good idea for someone to go along with another person's emotional state can all depend on what state they are in. If this person is happy, embracing the same state is likely to have a positive effect on ones wellbeing.
06/03/2019 10:16 AM
Love Is Not
Valentine's week is focused on multiple ways of showing others that one cares for or is in love with them. Hearts, flowers, candy and trinkets are given as symbols of devotion but not all are done with the right motives or with healthy commitment. We all think that we know what love is but then act in ways that do not match our words.
05/27/2019 04:01 PM
Relationships: Do Some Peoples Childhoods Set Them Up To Crave Love?
It is likely that just about everyone on this planet enjoys receiving love and affection. Along with this, just as many people are likely to enjoy expressing love and affection.
05/24/2019 01:02 PM
When the Heart and Love Isn't on the Same Accord
Just because you had a bad relationship doesn't mean you should throw in the towel. Keep looking for the one person that's going to change your life for good. Love has a way of doing that. One day when you least expect it guess what?
05/24/2019 01:01 PM
Broken Hearts, But Incredible Memories
Lying in the bed in need of sleep but without the peace of it. Hurting and cursing the tears that refuse to stop falling. Begging a broken heart not to drag the pain of love lost into a day that has no sympathy for the weak.
05/09/2019 09:07 AM
Relationships: Why Are Some People Attracted To People Who Are Emotionally Unstable?
For some people, being in a relationship with someone who is unreliable, unpredictable and who has the need to keep them on edge and in a place of uncertainty is not going to interest them. If they were in this position, it might only be a matter of time before they walk away.
05/07/2019 01:13 PM
Let Them Drown
When is helping hurting? Is it okay to let them drown?
04/24/2019 11:35 AM
Why Do Some Intellectually Developed People End Up With People Who Are Emotionally Undeveloped?
In a relationship, it is not uncommon for one person to be logical and the other to be emotional. It can then seem as though one person provides what the other is lacking, thereby balancing each other out.
04/23/2019 10:12 AM
Christianity: The Only Army Known to Shoot It's Wounded
This article focuses on the relationship between practicing Christians and their followers. It looks at how some Christians respond to the faults in their own members.
04/23/2019 09:36 AM
What Does It Take to Become a Christian
This article looks at the steps and mentality a person has who comes to a saving knowledge of Christ. The goal is to discover the way to have a relationship with God that is fulfilling.
04/22/2019 10:49 AM
Sexuality: Can Someone's Early Years Have An Effect On What Turns Them On As An Adult?
As an adult, someone can believe that the things that arouse them are just the things that arouse them, and that all there is to it. However, what this wouldn't take into account is the part that their early years may have played in why something in particular has this effect on them.
04/18/2019 12:06 PM
Relationships: Why Do Some Men Want A Mother Figure?
Just because a man looks like a man, it doesn't mean that he feels likes like a man on the inside. What is going on externally is then going to have very little to do with what is going on internally.
04/10/2019 01:26 PM
Relationships: Can Someone Be Emotionally Unavailable Even Though They're In A Relationship?
It would be easy to believe that the people who are emotionally unavailable are single and the ones who aren't are in a relationship. Or, if someone is emotionally available and single, it could just show that they are taking a break after going through a breakup, for instance.
03/29/2019 04:29 PM
Relationships: Is It Possible To End Up With The Wrong Person?
Just as one can choose something on a menu and end up finding out that is is not very appealing to their taste buds; they can also end up choosing someone to be in a relationship with, only to find out that they are not a good match. However, although one can just stop eating a meal that doesn't do anything for them, they might not simply be able to walk away from a relationship that is not right.
03/28/2019 09:04 AM
Can Someone End Up With Deeply Wounded People If They Are Out Of Touch With Their Wounds?
If one sees themselves as someone who has got it altogether, or is just in a good place, it can be hard for them to understand why they would end up with someone who is not in a good way. This person is then not just going to have a different personality to them; they won't be as well adjusted.
03/27/2019 11:54 AM
Relationships: Why Are Some Men Attracted To Unavailable Women?
Even though a man may have the desire to be in an intimate relationship with a woman, he may continually end up with women who are not available. Through having been with a number of women who are like this, he may find that this area of his life causes him to experience a fair amount of frustration.
03/21/2019 10:54 AM
Dating: Is It A Bad Idea To Have Sex On The First Date?
Many, many years ago, sex was something that people would typically have if they wanted children. Nowadays, it is something that lot of people have if they want to experience pleasure.
03/18/2019 09:27 AM
Relationships: Why Would Someone Try To Make Their Ex Look Bad?
Once a relationship has come to an end, it could result in two people going their own way. This will then be a clean break, meaning that both of them will be happy to move on with their life.


home | site map
© 2006