Is Your Relationship at Risk?
Why Affairs Happen
There are as many reasons why people have affairs as there are people. But usually an affair is an external sign of an internal desire for change. Something in the person's life or the relationship isn't OK - and the affair creates the trigger for change.
Affairs aren't only about sex. In fact, relationship experts maintain that any intimate activity between two people that breaches the trust of a partner constitutes an affair.
Some common causes of affairs:
Types of Affairs
Although there are many reasons for affairs, most fall into one of four categories:
The boat-rocking affair - when one partner has an underlying dissatisfaction with the relationship. The affair is an unconscious way of drawing attention to the problem and bringing things into the open.
The exit affair - when an affair is used to get out of a relationship. Rather than confront the fact that a relationship isn't working, an affair forces the issue.
The thrill affair - the illicit nature of an affair brings with it an adrenaline rush. Add to that the perceived excitement of sex with someone new and the romantic trimmings of a fresh relationship, and it can seem irresistible.
The three's company affair - can go on for years; it can also describe a string of successive affairs. Some people find it difficult to commit to one person; they feel stifled by monogamy and fear putting all their emotional eggs in one basket. Having a third person on the scene can provide an outlet for difficult emotions.
Tips to Help Avoid Affairs
When Affairs Are Discovered
Whether the discovery of an affair is gradual or sudden, shock is the first emotion you're likely to experience.
When the shock wears off, you may be left with feelings of anger, sadness, confusion and perhaps embarrassment, especially if you were the one being unfaithful.
Most people find themselves wondering how this could have happened and questioning whether there can be any future for their relationship.
Surviving the Affair
Trust is essential for a healthy relationship, and it's something we often take for granted until it's gone. If you're the one that's had the affair, you'll need to work hard at reassuring your partner that it's them you truly love and that you've learnt from your mistake.
If you're the one who's been cheated, you may find yourself asking questions for a long time. But as time passes, you'll find yourself feeling more secure and confident about your relationship.
Trust only takes a moment to break, but much, much longer to rebuild. At first it may feel that your relationship will never recover, but with hard work and patience it can survive. An affair always signals a turning point in a relationship - but it doesn't have to signal the end.
Some people prefer to work through their problems on their own, but counseling can be significant help. If you're not sure whether this would be right for you, or if you want to find out more about it, contact your local church or seek counseling services in your area.
There are many books on the subject of adultery, browse your local book store for additional useful information and resources. A few we like are listed below:
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