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Adultery and betrayal, It’s hard to get accurate reports of adultery. However some research suggests that as many as 40% of men and roughly 25% of women are unfaithful. This suggests an awful lot of pain and betrayal!
When are people likely to stray? Some research supports the idea of the ‘seven year itch’! From my experience this is often the case. At this point many ‘life’ issues arise – perhaps the birth of a child, or adjustment to increased demands of a career and it’s easy to take your partner for granted.
What types of adulterer are there? There are essentially four types. First the ‘Opportunist’. The Opportunist doesn’t necessarily look for opportunities but may stray when one’s presented. Case scenarios like the businessperson away for a conference who bumps into an attractive stranger in a hotel bar actually do happen! When handed on a plate the Opportunist doesn’t have the strength of character to say ‘No’. They don’t ‘mean’ any harm and wouldn’t do it regularly but knowing there’s little chance of getting caught they make this choice. Second there is the ‘Serial Adulterer’. As the name suggests this person constantly looks for a ‘thrill’. They get bored easily and love the risk-taking element. They’re likely to leave clues around just to make the stakes higher. Unlike the Opportunist who’d probably feel guilty and do their utmost not to leave any clues! Serial Adulterer feels ‘alive’ when playing away and can get addicted to having flings just as a drug addict gets addicted – they need their next fix.
Next there is the ‘Life Changer’ who actually believes the person they’ve had an affair with is ‘it’. This is the most difficult adultery to overcome as the Life Changer is looking to change their life – they make an emotional connection with the person they cheat with. Frequently linked to a mid-life crisis where the person has been questioning their whole life. ‘Is this it?’ they ask as they throw away 15 years of marriage! Finally there is the Revenge Adulterer. They may be seeking revenge against their partner who’s had an affair. OR they may be angry at being ‘neglected’ or pushed around by their partner and think,’ I’ll show them!’ Sometimes they hope to cause pain and be found out. Sometimes they’re happy with their own ‘private’ revenge.
What to do if your partner’s unfaithful:
ü Don’t make any rash decisions in the first few days. You may immediately want to throw them out but calm down before you act.
ü Everyone feels differently about these issues. Some people would never take an adulterous partner back – that’s their right. But if you feel there is a chance of getting back then give it a ‘go’.
ü When ready, explore what went wrong between the two of you. The adulterer needs to accept full responsibility for their bad choice but there may be things you both need to tackle to solve your problems.
ü Only ask for the details you can cope with. Sometimes knowing too much about the affair itself makes it harder to heal.
ü Anger, hurt, and guilt are all emotions that won’t disappear over night. be prepared for them to resurface at even unexpected times.
ü If you’re going to move forward you’ll have to stop throwing the affair into every argument. At some point you two must agree you’ve done all your talking and you’re going to move forward.
ü If you’re staying together you’ll need honest exploration as to what went wrong. This is a time to be truly intimate and express concerns and fears.
How to prevent an affair!
ü Don’t take each other for granted.
ü Remind yourself why you originally fell in love – and keep remembering that!
ü Make special time for each other. Have proper ‘dates’ even if only once a month.
ü Small gestures speak volumes – leave some loving notes, little surprises and do things for each other!
ü Communicate difficult feelings before they drive you apart!
ü Continue to develop your lovemaking – don’t let it get into a rut!
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