START OF A SLIP­PERY PATH

THE EARLY SIG­NALS OF AT­TRAC­TION AND HOW THEY CAN PROGRESS TO DIS­AS­TER

Life & Style Weekend - - Relationsh­ips - WORDS: JOANNE WIL­SON Joanne is a neuro-psy­chother­a­pist and re­la­tion­ship spe­cial­ist at The Con­fi­dante Coun­selling. Email [email protected]­con­fi­dan­te­coun­selling.com

I’m get­ting in ahead of the Christ­mas and New Year “silly” sea­son. It’s such a fun time of the year when we start cel­e­brat­ing. How­ever, un­for­tu­nately, more op­por­tu­ni­ties have be­come avail­able for the “silli­ness” to go too far with re­gret­ful con­se­quences. It may well be eas­ier to throw cau­tion to the wind at the time. How­ever, act­ing on feel­ings har­boured through­out the year, such as re­sent­ment or lust, can get you in a right pickle. For this rea­son, it’s timely to write about the topic of in­fi­delity. The reper­cus­sions im­pact gen­er­a­tions. They cause poor phys­i­cal health, fuel al­co­hol and sub­stance abuse, cre­ate symp­toms for post-trau­matic stress dis­or­der and even re­sult in sui­cide. Many peo­ple mis­tak­enly think that in­fi­delity isn’t re­ally in­fi­delity un­less there is sex­ual con­tact. With spe­cial thanks to in­flu­encers for this se­ries, Dr Jenny Fitzger­ald, Dr Shirley Glass, Dr Sue John­son, the Re­la­tion­ship In­sti­tute Aus­trala­sia and Es­ther Perel, here is some clar­i­fi­ca­tion on what can be de­fined as in­fi­delity. He/she dom­i­nates your thoughts. You are con­sumed by thoughts of them when you wake up, when you fall asleep, and mostly any­time in be­tween. Most af­fairs don’t start with a steamy sex scene, they start in the mind. You talk about the dif­fi­cul­ties in your cur­rent re­la­tion­ship. You may have a few close friends you share your frus­tra­tions about your part­ner with. When you find your­self shar­ing many of those prob­lems and con­cerns with this “spe­cial per­son”, you may be cross­ing the line. He/she be­comes the first per­son you call. How about when you get some ex­cit­ing news, or you’ve had a dread­ful day? Who do you think to call first: him/her or your part­ner? Con­tact out­side of “friendly” hours. If you find your­self com­mu­ni­cat­ing at ques­tion­able hours, this may be a sign. Most friends don’t text at 2am. They “get” you. When you start to feel like he/she un­der­stands you bet­ter than your part­ner, this is a red flag. This usu­ally leads to in­creased com­mu­ni­ca­tion with him/her and less com­mu­ni­ca­tion with your part­ner. We are more likely to com­mu­ni­cate with some­one we feel “gets” us than some­one who does not. You re­di­rect your time. If you find your­self find­ing ex­cuses or cre­at­ing more rea­sons to spend time with him/her, this may be a sign. How­ever, spend­ing more time does not just mean phys­i­cal time. If you are spend­ing more time tex­ting, email­ing, Snapchat­ting, What­sap­ping, Face­tim­ing etc,

this may be a sign as well.

You com­pare your part­ner. When talk­ing to your part­ner, do you think to your­self, “he/she wouldn’t re­spond like this” or “he/she would be more at­ten­tive?” When out with your part­ner, do you think: “If I were with him/her, I’d be hav­ing more fun”? This au­to­mat­i­cally makes him/her the good one and your part­ner the bad one. You lie. Ly­ing by omis­sion counts. Leav­ing out de­tails such as meet­ing him/her for lunch, delet­ing mes­sages or you just deny com­mu­ni­cat­ing with that per­son at all is a lie. If you must lie, chances are you have some­thing to hide; and if you have some­thing to hide, you prob­a­bly know it’s not OK. Com­ing up in the weeks ahead will be: ● Why do af­fairs hap­pen? ● The signs to look for? ● Pornog­ra­phy and af­fairs. ● Can you re­cover from af­fairs?

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