Studies show that 50% of married couples admit to having an affair. This means that the probability that you might have to deal with the outcome of an affair is equally high. It is important to know what makes individuals and couples vulnerable to cheating and how to heal after an affair has occurred.
It is important to be aware of some of the reasons why a person might cheat on their partner; “major stressors and major life transitions like a job change or relocation, pregnancy, difficulties with in-laws and hormone levels play a role. People involved in high –risk professions are frequently vulnerable to affairs. They may also want to experience themselves differently then they do in their primary relationship. 90% of those who stray, report that the affair was based on emotional needs not sexually motivated needs.
Not all affairs are the same. There is the sexual addiction affair, the non-sexual affair, the intimacy avoidance affair, the conflict avoidance affair, the exit affair and the the disillusion and resentment affair when passion expectations have decreased. There can also be the self-medicating affair to cope with depression. The online affair adds a new element. It provides anonymity and a unique opportunity for romantic interactions.
There are many feelings and emotions that must be dealt with and addressed after the disclosure of the affair. An individual may feel angry, betrayed, devastated, blindsided, grief-stricken, violated, hopeless, powerless, without control, emasculated, degraded, and abandoned. The individual may also feel that the offending partner is selfish, unfair, hurtful, and not trustworthy.
Forgiveness is the central issue in the healing process after a traumatic personal event has occurred. In the first stage it is premature to expect forgiveness. The injured party usually withdraws and becomes self-protective. In the next stage there is a search for understanding and a search for meaning as to why the affair occurred. In the Recovery stage negative feelings decrease. Forgiveness does not involve forgetting or excusing the offending behavior. Ideally, however, the participating partner has asked for forgiveness.
Patricia Frank is a Licensed Psychotherapist. She can be reached at 305-788-4864, Psychotherapy.firstname.lastname@example.org.