Most people entering a marriage or long term relationship are doing so hoping and trusting that it will be a monogamous relationship; so the discovery of an affair is a huge betrayal of that bond and trust with devastating effects on the partner and the relationship.
An affair certainly signals that there is a problem in the relationship, but most affairs are symptoms rather than the cause of the problems.
A key question to ask is “What problem in your relationship did the affair solve?”
Julia Cole in her recently revised book “After the Affair” has noted that there are 7 types of affairs each with their own associated reasons. They are:
1. The Door opener Affair:
This usually happens when a partner feels they have had enough of their relationship and is looking to set up another one because they are no longer emotionally connected or committed to their current partner. It provides someone to hold their hand as they exit their relationship.
2. The 3 legged stool Affair:
This is usually a long term affair that the partner knows about. When pressures get too much to handle in a relationship, one partner has an affair which gives him/her an emotional safety valve and relieves this pressure, and then the couple can spend their time wrangling about his/her unfaithfulness, rather than the original issues.
3 The Revenge Affair:
This is usually a short affair, but comes about because one partner has been hurt or betrayed, often by their partner being unfaithful. It can be experienced as a way to re-establish a sense of self esteem, or of a way to express their deep hurt for what their partner has done.
Stay tuned for the next 4 reasons affairs happen in my next blog next week.
If you have had an affair, or your partner has, you can be helped to work through this by seeing a relationship counsellor.