THE LESS-DIS­CUSSED ‘WHY?’

PART TWO OF THE SE­RIES ON IN­FI­DELITY IN­VES­TI­GATES WHY AF­FAIRS CAN HAP­PEN AND WHAT CAN TRIG­GER THEM

Life & Style Weekend - - RELATIONSH­IPS - WORDS: JOANNE WIL­SON

I’m tack­ling the tricky topic of af­fairs in this four-part se­ries. Last week, I cov­ered what can be de­fined as an af­fair. To­day, I’m writ­ing about why peo­ple do it. Firstly, here are a few myths, thanks to rec­om­mended au­thor: Dr Shirley Glass and the Re­la­tion­ship In­sti­tute Aus­trala­sia: The Soul Mate Myth: At­trac­tion to some­one else means that your spouse is not the right per­son (be­ing at­tracted to or ad­mir­ing some­one means you’re breath­ing). Af­fairs only hap­pen to peo­ple with mar­riage prob­lems: They can oc­cur in happy mar­riages but are more likely the un­in­ten­tional con­se­quence of at­trac­tion, op­por­tu­nity, and fail­ure to fol­low pre­cau­tions and hon­our val­ues. You can’t be friends with peo­ple of the op­po­site sex: Friends of each part­ner need to be a friend of the mar­riage. Af­fairs only hap­pen when you’re not get­ting enough of what you need: The spouse who gives too lit­tle is at greater risk, as less in­vested than the spouse who gives too much. Why do peo­ple find them­selves in­volved in an af­fair? ■ Lack of self-love: In­ter­est­ingly, of­fend­ing part­ners can find them­selves in an af­fair when dissatisfi­ed with them­selves. The mir­ror of fresh, new ador­ing eyes of their new love can pro­vide them with the em­pow­er­ment to ap­pre­ci­ate what they can­not them­selves. ■ Fam­ily of ori­gin: In my ex­pe­ri­ence, far too many cou­ples re­cov­er­ing from af­fairs in my coun­selling room are the re­sult of this fea­tured in their fam­ily of ori­gin, such as par­ents or grand­par­ents. We can’t un­der­es­ti­mate the value of the legacy we leave for the next gen­er­a­tion. ■ Lack of nur­ture: An af­fair can be an in­di­ca­tion of the need to es­cape not be­ing lis­tened to. Par­tic­u­larly for women, it is of­ten a lack of emo­tional con­nec­tion and nur­ture. Dale Carnegie summed it up when he said, “The sound of a per­son’s name is like mu­sic to their ears.” In my opin­ion, a sym­phony of two hearts united is per­formed from the gift of at­ten­tive­ness. ■ Starv­ing ego: Some can be­come ad­dicted to get­ting high on the height­ened phys­i­cal and emo­tional rush with a new per­son. ■ Re­venge: For mis­treat­ment and fi­nally giv­ing up. ■ Lack of in­ti­macy: In­ti­macy is im­pacted by the ebb and flow of life’s de­mands and the in­com­pat­i­bil­ity of a cou­ple’s li­bido. De­spite this, mak­ing time for reg­u­lar sex is para­mount. ■ Lack of in­vest­ment in your­self and the re­la­tion­ship: Poor at­ten­tion to keep­ing fit, healthy and rested can re­sult in a sub­stan­dard con­tri­bu­tion to the re­la­tion­ship. ■ Poor com­mu­ni­ca­tion: Men can of­ten re-con­nect phys­i­cally with sex while women usu­ally can’t go there un­less un­re­solved is­sues are dis­cussed. If they’re never re­solved, they gain mo­men­tum for the next con­flict. ■ Al­co­hol and drug use: Part­ners may es­cape from pos­si­ble vi­o­lence be­cause of their part­ner’s de­pen­dency or in­abil­ity to be fully present with each hang­over. Of­ten, it’s the lack of ex­press­ing your de­sires, be­ing val­i­dated or ac­knowl­edged that fu­els the out­burst or the cry out in the arms of an­other per­son. Joanne is a neuro-psy­chother­a­pist and re­la­tion­ship spe­cial­ist at The Con­fi­dante Coun­selling. Email [email protected]­con­fi­dan­te­coun­selling.com or visit www.the­con­fi­dan­te­coun­selling.com

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