“Every era has its defining stories, and one of ours may be a new crisis of infidelity” (Shirley P. Glass). The statistics show that at least one or both parties in 50% of all couples, will break their vows of sexual and emotional exclusivity during the time of the relationship. Shirley P. Glass, one of the world’s leading experts on infidelity, concludes that 25% of wives and 44 % of husbands had extramarital intercourse.
When it comes to affairs, we feel we know why they happen. However, “much of the conventional wisdom about what causes affairs and how to repair relationships is misguided” (Glass). Some of the facts, Shirley P. Glass shares in her book “Not ‘Just Friends’” are surprising and thought-provoking:
- ASSUMPTION Affairs happen in unhappy or unloving marriages
FACT Affairs happen in good or bad marriages. Affairs are less about love and more about sliding across boundaries.
- ASSUMPTION Infidelity happens when there is sex
FACT You can have an affair without having sex. Infidelity is any emotional or sexual intimacy that violates trust. Emotional affairs are characterized by secrecy, emotional intimacy, and sexual chemistry. Emotional affairs can be more threatening than a brief sexual fling.
- ASSUMPTION Affairs occur mostly because of sexual attraction
FACT The attraction is more about how the unfaithful partner is mirrored back through the adoring eyes of the affair partner. A positive mirroring occurs. Being admired and adored is often the missing feeling in a long term relationship or marriage when we know our partner’s faults and issues. “We like how we see ourselves reflected in the other person’s eyes. By contrast, in our long-term relationships, our reflection is like a 5x makeup mirror in which our flaws are magnified”(Glass). The affair might also be an opportunity for the unfaithful spouse to bring out different sides or play a different role.
- ASSUMPTION A cheating partner almost always leaves clues
FACT The majority of affairs are never detected. In long-term relationships people develop a “truth bias” in which they are more likely to judge their partners as truthful and less likely to detect deception.
- ASSUMPTION A person having an affair shows less interest in sex at home
FACT That can be the case. However, the excitement of an affair can also increase the passion at home.
- ASSUMPTION The person having an affair isn’t “getting enough” at home
FACT The truth is that the unfaithful partner may not be giving enough. He or she is less invested in the committed relationship.
- ASSUMPTION A straying partner finds fault with everything you do
FACT He or she may be critical but they may also show up as extra attentive out of guilt or to escape detection.
- ASSUMPTION Talking about the affair with the betrayed partner only creates more upset
FACT The opposite is true. Talking about the affair is the only way to rebuild trust. The unfaithful partner needs to be open to answering any questions.
- ASSUMPTION There is no recovering from an affair
FACT If both partners are still committed to their marriage the aftermath of an affair can offer them an opportunity to strengthen their bond. If the couple is willing to work through their difficulties, they can make their marriage even better than before. The motivation often is that they want the pain that they went through to mean something. It is possible to emerge from betrayal and build an even stronger marriage.
- ASSUMPTION Starting over with the affair partner guarantees happiness
FACT 75% of all unfaithful individuals who marry the affair partner or enter into a long term relationship with them end up separated/divorced.
If you found this article interesting watch out for the next two blogs. PART 2 “Lying and Gaslighting” will be posted on Nov. 18, and PART 3 “Boundaries” will be posted on Nov. 19, 2018.
You can also read or listen to my three part article on trust by clicking here.
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