An article on Slate.com written by Hanna Rosin and titled
The Upside of Infidelity: Can An Affair Save your Marriage,
got me thinking.
One thought: is my joy at knowing therapists are changing their puritanical views of martial infidelity and realizing our humanity, how our flawed self can bring us healing & reparations, as well as the validity of differing relationship and sexual needs.
My second thought: is the vastness of reasoning’s behind affairs.
Many therapists have their list to the ‘why’s’ of affairs. Those whose partners cheated tend to search rapidly and in a fit of panic to find the ‘reason’ to the affair.
Many of the whys of affairs state:
Need for Excitement
Emptiness in their Marriage
Lack of Sex at Home
Desire to be Wanted
An Ego boost
An Out- A Way to End a Relationship/Marriage
Externally Meeting your Sexual and Emotional Needs
and Many More
When therapist discuss the benefits to an extra martial affair they report:
It forces you to look at and hopefully address the the challenges in your own marriage, share your needs, and create a new and reinvigorated relationship and sexual expression.
According to Michael Formica in his “Enlightened Living” blog post,and sited by YourTango.com 4 Types of Infidelity and How Affairs Help a Marriage he states,
“First, he says, an affair can add fizz to a flat partnership—what was once stale gets refreshed by a new energy.
Second if you’re having an affair you’re probably doing it because you’re missing something in your first relationship. If you analyze the affair you might be able to see what it is that you lack, and address that problem.
Finally, people tend to get into the same kind of relationship over and over again, but affairs are different—according to Formica they can be “a more authentic barometer for what we actually need in our relationships.”
An Alternet.com article titled: Can Adultery Be Healthy? 6 Kinds of Sexual Affairs and How They Can Be Good for You by Douglas LaBier
• “Some affairs are psychologically healthy.
That’s right. An affair can help leverage you out of a destructive or deadened relationship that’s beyond the point of renewal….It (can) springboarded them into greater emotional honesty and mature action. Of course, you have to be honest with yourself, here, and not rationalize yourself into having the affair while postponing necessary action.
• An affair can help renew your relationship with your existing partner.
An affair can spur you to confront what you really want from your existing partner and motivate you to try creating it. Larry, a journalist, had an affair for nearly four years. After an argument with his lover one day, he realized he was beginning to feel much of the same irritation and sexual boredom that he felt towards his wife. “This is pretty screwed-up,” he said to me. “I’ve got to do something.” As he examined what he really wanted and valued he recognized his own role in evading long-standing conflicts in his marriage…
• There’s always a reason for beginning an affair, and it relates to some issue in your existing relationship.
It’s far better to face and resolve that first. You don’t just “find” yourself having an affair, or “end up” in bed with someone. It’s your choice, but it can be beautifully rationalized. So take a look at what’s missing or unfulfilling in your relationship, why that is, and whether you can — or even want to — do something about it. It’s preferable to try renewing your relationship, or end it with mutual respect.
By acknowledging that an affair means you’re living a lie in some form, you have a greater chance to deal with the emotional and practical consequences of the affair in a healthier way. And there are plenty of consequences – for yourself, your children, your existing relationship. But if you fool yourself about the reasons for your affair and what it may set in motion, you can squander irreplaceable years, trapped within illusions and rationalizations. When it all comes crashing down, loneliness and emptiness may be all that remains.
That’s why I advocate awareness at the outset: You can become more conscious of your actions, and use that awareness to deal maturely with their consequences. Or yes, you can remain unconscious….but then you still have to deal with the consequences!”
LaBier’s article leads me to my third thought:
The costs of an affair.
Aside from the potential to end your marriage, even affairs ‘undiscovered’ by a partner comes with a price tag:
It Affects Your Heart….Most affairs are short lived despite fantasies of longevity: therefore equating a heartbreak that rivals the intensity of adolescent and early adulthood relationship endings. = Heart-wrenching, Crushing, and A Stabbing Pain to our Emotions.
Your Sense of Self….who am I to make a choice that would hurt my spouse whom I still love. How do I feel good about myself? What does commitment mean to me? Can I remain monogamous? Do I need to end my relationship? Do I need an open relationship? What is empty or at void with me that I am filling in ways to go against my selected commitment? How do I meet my needs in respecting ways?
Challenges Your Values— Your Views of Marriage/Relationships/Sex/Monogamy/Infidelity.
It can create quite a whirlwind of cognitive challenges, visceral sensations, self rejection as well as exploration and growth.
The most challenging times in our lives provide the greatest room for growth.
All the above examples of the cost of an affair can provide an excellent learning ground to reduce judgement and create a wonderful learning opportunity.
Despite the ability for an affair to promote self growth and relationship enhancement the costs are high.
Its an emotionally expensive way to learn.
Affairs cost more than 3 cents, and those were mine.