Cultivating an Affair: A Risky Choice - Infidelity Counseling NYC, New York

Therapy: Affairs & Infidelity

Cultivating an Affair: A Risky Choice

Affairs are complex endeavors that can be passionate, blissful and islands of pleasure in an otherwise stressful or deadened existence. They can offer novel and exciting experience. Often seemingly thrilling in their forbidden and clandestine quality, participants can find that not only sex but overall emotions can become enlivened, at times thrilling and all consuming. An obsessive quality can emerge regarding the partner with great room for fantasy. Perhaps the sensuality is not as strong, but the perceived reliability and comfort is needed and fulfilling.

Often unconscious or at least not processed, affairs can develop from a wide array of motivation. For example, they can involve feelings of abandonment, rejection, conflict with the original partner. Affairs may emerge as a reaction to frustrating impasses in communication resulting in alienation, boredom and loneliness. The non-coupled partner in an affair, historically and pejoratively referred to as “the other woman” but of course including "the other man" may feel socially isolated, needing affirmation or desirability. Perhaps, affairs are the preferred style of coping with a reticence to commit to one person. Both partners in an affair can be struggling with similar needs. Affairs can be culturally supported especially for men as their right of manhood. Spouses can be aware of the affair but are reticent to confront due to fear of loss or being in a state of denial.

Despite the highs and “magic” of affairs as well as the fantasies of perhaps “running away together” and living a happy life together, it is highly unlikely this outcome will occur. It is estimated that the majority of affairs do not lead to ending marriages or to new ones that will thrive and endure. In fact, the divorce rate in marriages emanating from affairs is higher than those that are not.

The emotional investment involved in having an affair poses many risks. Consequences can be disruptive and, at times, disastrous, not only to one’s self but spouses, children, employment and finances. Trust is shattered and can take years to heal. If a marriage or a once committed relationship is really struggling, it often helps to have a forum through therapy to identify hurt, disappointment, ways to improve sexuality, build communication skills and, if necessary, consider the possibility of ending the relationship or marriage in a compassionate and fair manner rather than yield to betrayal. The uncoupled partner can also explore the reality of becoming attached to one who is not fully available and can only give them partial and constricted attention. Affairs can be traumatic for all involved and may represent patterns that make intimacy difficult within any form of relationship.

Ending an affair can be a painful and prolonged process often triggering memories and feeling states of past losses, emotional injuries and fear of being alone. But without exploring the “why’s” it is very difficult to emotionally examine what to do about the affair that potentially can impact the rest of one’s life.

Affairs and Infidelity Therapy