Tag Archives: marriage

Affairs May be Good for a Marriage….Yet it Costs. Here’s My 3 Cents

An article on Slate.com written by Hanna Rosin and titled

The Upside of Infidelity: Can An Affair Save your Marriage, affair secret

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:

Situational Availability

Need for Excitement

Attachment Issues

Emptiness in their Marriage

Lack of Sex at Home

Desire to be Wanted

An Ego boost

An Escape

Entitlement

Intimacy Avoidance

An Out- A Way to End a Relationship/Marriage

Externally Meeting your Sexual and Emotional Needscheating woman

Impulsivity

Revenge

Conflict Avoidance

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.”

cheating manAn 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 sad-girlthat 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.

affair leaving bedroomDespite 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.

 


Eat me Tom Cat

There is an unusual phenomenon regarding cats and mice and its all due to a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii.

“It uses a remarkable trick to spread from rodents to cats: It alters the brains of infected rats and mice so that they become attracted to—rather than repelled by—the scent of their predators. A new study reveals that rodents infected with the parasitic protozoa are drawn to the smell of cat urine, apparently having lost their otherwise natural aversion to the scent.”

“There are a million examples of parasites manipulating host behavior,” said Robert Sapolsky, a Stanford University neuroscientist who collaborated with Vyas.”

 

 

In other words:

Mouse infected by Toxoplasma gondii

Mouse likes cat

Cat eats mouse

Parasite breeds in the gut of Cat

Cat poops

A new mouse eats the poop and likes cat

Cat eats mouse

And the cycle continues.

Humans too can be affected by this parasite but whether behavioral effects occur are controversial in the science community.

What we do know is even without this toxic brainwashing parasite in our own brains, we too can ask the Tomcat to eat us.

Figuratively of course.

 

 

 

 

Tomcats and mice are metaphors for the toxic relationships and situations in which we may place ourselves.

 
When we act like the infected mouse, we are walking into and staying in, toxic relationships.

 

According to LiveStrong, and author Dr. Cindy Solliday-McRoy

These are 36 signs you are in a toxic relationship:

“1. Your partner constantly puts you down verbally, in private or in front of others.

2. Your partner makes you feel ugly and stupid.

3. Your partner tells you s/he loves you but her/his behavior suggests otherwise.

4. Your partner does not want you to see or talk to friends or family.

5. Your partner is jealous of the time you spend with your kids.

6. Your partner constantly accuses you of being unfaithful to her/him.

7. Your partner shows up often at your work unexpectedly just to check-up on you.

8. Your partner opens and reads your mail before giving it to you.

9. Your partner calls you or text messages you often to see what you are doing.

10. Your partner hides from you what s/he is up to and gets angry when you “pry” into her/his business.

11. You feel depressed, anxious or “crazy” over your relationship.

12. You cry more often that you laugh or smile over your relationship.

13. Your partner says you would have the perfect relationship if only you would change.

14. Your partner wants you to be dependent on her/him.

15. Your partner does things for you and then uses them to make you feel obligated.

16. You never know who is going to show-up, “Dr. Jeckel or Mr. Hyde.”

17. You feel like you’re on a never-ending E-motional roller coaster ride.

18. When it’s good, it’s really good, but what it’s bad it’s a nightmare.

19. You can’t wait for the “honeymoon” period, after the fight.

20. Your thoughts, opinions, accomplishments, wants and needs are devalued.

21. You don’t know who you are anymore without her/him.

22. You feel like you couldn’t survive without her/her

23. You feel like your whole word revolves around her/him.

24. Your friends/family don’t like your partner or don’t think s/he is good for you.

25. You have changed things about your-Self to suit your partner, even when it’s not your taste.

26. You always go where your partner wants to, like movies, restaurants, etc.

27. You have no idea what your likes, dislikes, wants, needs or preferences are anymore.

28. You feel afraid or unsafe with your partner.

29. You afraid to speak the truth with your partner for fear of upsetting him/her.

30. You feel like you have to walk on egg shells whenever you’re with your partner.

31. You don’t feel you have control of your life anymore.

32. Your self-esteem is lower since you’ve been with your partner.

33. You stay in the relationship because you think no one else would want you.

34. You think it’s up to you to make the relationship work.

35. You keep secrets about your relationship from others who love you because they wouldn’t understand.

36. You can’t remember the last time you felt truly happy for more than a few days, perhaps hours, at a time.”

Pay attention to the above signs.

Set limits and healthy boundaries

Talk with friends and family

Get support and stop presenting yourself to the hungry Tomcat.

Tomcat…you’re not going to eat this one!


Cheater, Cheater, Pumpkin Eater

Vickie Larson’s recent article in the Huffington Post titled, “Why Men Need to Cheatcaused a flurry of attention.

She interviewed Eric Anderson, an American sociologist at England’s University of Winchester and author of the provocative new book, The Monogamy Gap: Men, Love, and the Reality of Cheating.

Mr. Anderson calls monogamy a, “socially compelled sexual incarceration”  within a society who has a  stronghold on our beliefs.   Those beliefs, he labels as ‘monogamism’,  brings with it ostracism and judgment to anyone who questions or strays from its boundaries.

His main point in the interview is that men have a strong urge or NEED for quick, frivolous, unattached sex, while thriving on and wanting the emotional monogamy and continued love of their wife.

Quick sex here, stable marriage there.

Some may call this ‘Cake Eating’.

Honestly, who of us wouldn’t like to have our cake and eat it too?

Anderson’s idea is  that one  (in particular men) can engage in sex outside of  marriage without emotional entanglements and still have strong love, interest, and desire for a long term marriage with their spouse.

Many couples I have worked with struggle with the concept that one partner ‘stepped out’ and can STILL claim to love them.

How is this love?

Well its not about the lack of love of the spouse, it can be more about meeting our own selfish needs.  Its more like a lack of respect for the monogamous commitment they agreed upon with their partner.

Getting a thrill here, attention, excitement and alot of pleasure ‘down there’.

I believe that monogamy is not a natural human inclination.

Bonding, community, team work….yes-a natural inclination, it provides safety, security and promotes the continuation of the human race.  Yet monogamy albeit providing financial security, stability in raising a family, emotional security and more, is a choice.

Those that recognize this and discuss their interest in sharing themselves sexually with other people, often receive a backlash from not only their spouse but from society.

HOW DARE YOU!

How dare you?

Well its honest, raw, real.

Often the ‘injured’ partner will state they would ‘never do that’, which to me  means, monogamous choices are easier for them.  It is not something they battle or at least commonly battle.  They are able to prioritize their respect for their  monogamous agreement rather than seek sexual gratification elsewhere.

Limited research is available that looks at the success of open marriages, where a strong commitment and love remains in the long term relationship while agreeing upon sexual escapades elsewhere.

Dan Savage has the term ‘monogamish’, to describe his long term relationship.

Savage states, “Why do most people assume that all nonmonogamous relationships are destined to fail? Because we only hear about the ones that do. If a three-way or an affair was a factor in a divorce or breakup, we hear all about it. But we rarely hear from happy couples who aren’t monogamous, because they don’t want to be perceived as dangerous sex maniacs who are destined to divorce. ”

Dossie Easton, is a psychotherapist, specializing in polyamory and penned the book, The Ethical Slut.

The Ethical Slut discusses how to live an active life with multiple concurrent sexual relationships in a fair and honest way. Discussion topics include how to deal with the practical difficulties and opportunities in finding and keeping partners, maintaining relationships with others, and strategies for personal growth.

It contains chapters discussing how consensual nonmonogamy is handled in different subcultures such as the gay and lesbian communities, information on handling scheduling, jealousy, communication, conflict in relationships, and etiquette for group sexual encounters.”

What we can agree upon is that affairs occur with somewhat regularity in our society.

Mr. Anderson notes men’s NEED for sex, the constraints of monogamy, and limits to disclosing our natural state.

I postulate that both men and women choose monogamy.  This choice can be a difficult one.

It is also NOT the only choice.

One can love a partner and eye another, have a sexual romp, and return to their commitment at home.

Most of us would enjoy the occasion of eating our cake.

Cheater Cheater Pumpkin Eater??


Divorce, Schivorce….Give Me a Break

One of the latest Hollywood couples to call it quits is Katy Perry and Russell Brand.

What may have led to the demise of their marriage after only 14 months?

The tabloids report possible marital concerns with Brand’s flirty behavior at his recovery meetings (such a great place to pick someone up!), his kinky sex life (allegedly turned on by sex with men in wheelchairs), his emotional unavailability, and her vigorous touring/traveling schedule.

Sometimes, I ask, why are we even surprised or care for that matter?

Yet, frustration abounds when it appears the lack of effort and seriousness people place on their marriage.

Marriage can be a bear, or a bitch for that matter at times, but its worth the work.

We cannot know the truth about the Perry/Brand marriage or the real reasons behind their split.  We can, however, look at a more global marital experience and say – if abuse, harm, or danger did not occur in the marriage, doesn’t it deserve more time, effort, and behavior change from both parties to see the potentials in self growth and the possibility of improved couple cohesion.

A spouse will not ‘complete you’ or be a saving grace nor create your happiness.

They can however, push us to grow, explore who we are, support us in our passions and in our difficult times, enhance our own happiness, add more laughter to our life, light a fire under our behinds when we need it and add some heat in the bedroom.

The epitome of marital collapse at warp speed is the Kim Kardashian/Kris Humphries total of 72 days of marriage. 

Is that even enough time to engage in couples counseling, seek spiritual guidance, allow time to actually work through their problems?   I think not.

Time, effort, and support are key to working through conflict.

Patience, respect, and flexibility help us get there.

We live in a culture of immediate gratification; the view that our spouse is to be our perfect soul mate, to meet all of our needs, and to be a continual source of happiness.

These are obviously unrealistic expectation of any partner.

Spouse’s aren’t perfect, and neither are we.

So give me a break.

Quickie marriages, quickie divorces.

Marriage can be a bear….Deal with it!

A great article on thinking twice about divorce is from Dr. Margaret Paul at InnerBonding:

http://www.innerbonding.com/show-article/1612/marriage-help-if-you-are-thinking-of-getting-a-divorce-think-again.html


Four Naked Women, Vodka on Tap and a Hot Tub

Nudity, drunkenness and hot tubing with four ladies, is the recent allegation against Ashton Kutcher. 

The media has focused on the possible downfall of Ashton and Demi Moore’s marriage with news of his alleged infidelity and their odd public tweets.

According to ABC News , Ashton tweeted, “When you ASSUME to know that which you know nothing of you make an A[**] out of U and ME” .  Early Thursday morning, Kutcher tweeted a link without comment, to his Spotify account, where he was playing the Public Enemy song “Don’t Believe the Hype.”

Demi took a tweet pic of her “naked back with the message, “remember…..you’ve got your own back.” She seemed more direct on Sept. 23, when she tweeted a quote from Greek philosopher Epictetus, writing, “When we are offended at any man’s fault, turn to yourself & study your own failings. Then you will forget your anger.”
On Monday, she wrote “I see through you….” and linked to a photo of herself lying down with her eyes closed, her mouth drawn in a line.”
These may be cryptic messages with the intent to spur the other, yet presenting them via public tweets says nothing about mature communication.
When I read the title “Four naked women, vodka on tap and a hot tub”, my first thought is Fun! Juicy!
Our society places such high standards on marital fidelity and how one ‘should’ behave while married; it seems near impossible to fulfill such standards particularly in our sex infused, adrenaline focused, immediate need gratification culture.
The society of the double edged sword: like it, want it, be it….oops we ‘caught’ you.
Life is full of temptations.
Resisting some of these temptations can be beneficial to ourselves and our partners.
Yet what temptations to resist and which to partake is to be defined within your relationship and not based upon societal/cultural/religious expectations placed upon you or your relationship.
Maybe Ashton and Demi support a purely monogamous relationship where nudity and sex with others is not supported.
What about more permeable marital boundaries,  enjoy the hot tub, the vodka, the beauty of the naked women with a policy of look but don’t touch, or even touch safely and with open communication.
Creating an open style marriage does not fully protect the other from betrayal or boundaries crossing yet it allows the opportunity for us to explore whether commitment and fidelity are synonymous and if its necessary to maintain fidelity to maintain a committed marriage.
Monogamy is nearly unattainable in the mind and can be difficult to practice.   This challenge is trumped up when one adds fame and fortune. 
Statistics show the significant amounts of infidelity that occur in marriages- anywhere between 30% to 50%, yet we continue to hold fidelity as the proof of a strong and successful marriage.
In the Demi/Ashton scenario,  I would suggest engaging in effective communication,  maintaining privacy and working to define what does and does not work for their marriage.
The rest of us could benefit from doing the same.
You and your partner decide if nudity, vodka and hot tubing work for you…..it does sound fun.

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