Affairs of the Brain

By Patricia C. Frank….

Patricia Frank

Affairs are extremely complex just like human beings. They are the result of many underlying psychological circumstances. There are some common causes and situations that foster an affair. They are often triggered by the lack of emotional fulfillment within the existing relationship. This is coupled with disillusionment and resentment when the expectations of either partner are not being met. There is often a desire to experience yourself differently than you experience yourself in your primary relationship. You want to express yourself as a different person, with a different manner in a different role. You might want to feel the “high” that an affair creates. This “high” can be addictive. Studies have found that the feel good brain chemicals of Dopamine, Norepinephrine, and Serotonin are intensified during an affair. It is suggested that it might be a form of self-medication for underlying depression.

Some interesting statistics have also been revealed. Highly educated people and those earning more than $30,000 a year are more likely to engage in extra-marital affairs.

“46% of unfaithful wives and 62% of unfaithful husbands had affairs with someone at work. 29% of wives and 16 % of husbands were unfaithful with friends and neighbors.”
34% of women and 56% of the people surveyed reported that their marriage was “happy.”

Affairs are emotional. They create feelings of intense passion and excitement for the participating partner. They feel exhilarated. For the injured partner they can create feelings of enormous pain, loss, anger and even rage. The injured party feels betrayed, threatened and abandoned. There is a decrease in self-esteem. It is not unusual for an affair to destroy or end the primary relationship.  However, it is not unusual for a couple to choose to work through the situation and heal themselves and their relationship. Affairs present the greatest challenge to committed relationships and marriages. It is important to understand the meaning of the affair before you can begin to process the anger, find forgiveness and reestablish trust.

Patricia Frank is a Licensed Psychotherapist. She can be reached at 305-788-4864, 212 308-0309.

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