Men's Articles

My Partners Having An Affair

Let's face it. There is no running away from the subject of affairs. It's no longer an uncommon phenomenon. Most of us know someone who has had an affair-a neighbor, colleague and sometimes even closer to home, our spouse. Consultant Clinical Psychologist with the International Medical University Paul Jambunathan remarks that there is no particular "dangerous" point in a marriage where the ubiquitous affair happens.

Affairs can happen at any time; in fact Jambunathan has even known of husbands who have had a fling or two while their wives were pregnant for the first time. While the common belief is that men have affairs more often than women, Jambunathan declares that there is no hard evidence that says it is more common for a man to have an affair. 

Neither age nor gender is a distinction. As enticing and attractive as it is made to be, many who have had affairs have regretted it deeply testifying to its disastrous consequences in their lives.

How To Avoid An Affair

  • Maintain a quality relationship with your primary partner.
  • Needs and wants can be identified and addressed as long as communication channels are kept open and efficient.
  • Be true to yourself.
  • Be committed to each other and to the marriage.
  • Surround yourself with friends who have "good" values with regard to marriage and relationships.
  • If you identify something that is pushing you away from your spouse and pulling you towards someone new, consult a professional counsellor or a good friend, somebody you can trust.
  • Identify venues where people fall prey to affairs and stay away from these places or develop a high sense of self-awareness and control when frequenting these places.
  • Imagine your partner having an affair and what complicated consequences it would have.
  • Always remember: there is a very thin line between having an affair and not (having one). You need to personally define it for yourself.

To Confess Or Not To Confess

If you have had an affair, should you confess? In general it's best to be honest, but Nancy Glass, PhD, author of Not Just Friends: Protect Your Relationship from Infidelity and Heal the Trauma of Betrayal (Free Press, 2002) agrees that there are circumstances when a spouse can spare their partner that information. "If a spouse has been suspicious and confronts him, he should confess," says Glass

"But if the spouse has no idea, and the betrayer takes responsibility for working it out on his own, he sometimes doesn't have to ', cause that kind of chaos;' says Glass. But once a confession is made, Glass says, absolute full disclosure is essential, and the cheater should own up to all affairs that have occurred during the relationship.

How To Recover If An Affair Occurs

Most affairs end with pain and havoc in the primary family. Adultery, however, does not have to end in divorce. Forgiveness and trust are two major elements in these cases, underlying a very strong commitment to one another and a desire to learn from mistakes and move on. 

An affair, on the other hand, is a wake-up call-a very loud one-that something is seriously wrong with the relationship, says Bonnie EakerWeil, PhD, a marital therapist in New York City and co-author of Adultery, The Forgivable Sin and Make Up, Don't Break Up.

It takes a great deal of courage, counselling and repairing for a couple to work through an affair and to come out positive. It sometimes takes years. If a couple can learn to recognise the real motivation for the infidelity, and develop the skills to deal with the underlying problems, they have a good shot at surviving the trauma. Here's what Eaker-Weil suggests:

Acknowledge The Infidelity

Many people choose not to acknowledge their spouse's infidelity to themselves, let alone to others for fear of risking all that they have. To lose even the semblance of a happy home, one they've nurtured for years, is too much to bear. They ignore their instincts, fail to confront their spouses, and make emotional trade-offs with themselves-trade-offs that ultimately serve neither themselves nor their marriage.

End The Affair

In order to rebuild the marriage, the unfaithful spouse has to take responsibility for his actions and end the affair. That means breaking off all contact with the third party-no phone calls, letters, e-mails or messages.

Determine The Reasons For The Infidelity

Without placing blame, discuss the underlying problems that contributed to difficulty in the marriage. Often, couples get so caught up in the minutiae of everyday life that they don't heed the signals that the road is getting rocky. Try to figure out where each partner's needs weren't being met. Empathising with each other's emotions will make you feel more connected.

List The Behaviors You Want You Partner To Change

List the behaviors you want your partner to change. Once you're aware of where each partner's needs weren't being met, work towards correcting those problems.

Let Your Partner Know Where He/She Can Find You

The most difficult  task is restoring trust, so the partner who strayed must be willing to go to great lengths to assure his spouse that he is being faithful. This means keeping him or her informed of business meetings and travels so he/she knows where the other is, when he/she is working late and with whom.

Go Beyond Words

Find concrete ways to show the faithful partner that he or she is valued and respected. Small gifts with special significance, a call in the middle of the day, or a thoughtful card are all good choices.

Re-Romanticise The Marriage

Think back to what turned you on when you first met. What clothes did you wear? What perfume or aftershave? Get dressed up when you go out for dinner. Spend more pleasurable time together playing tennis or taking golf lessons, for example. Begin to reconnect. Share your hopes and dreams about your new-and improved-future together.

 

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