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This is one of a
of articles in self-improvement Lesson 4 -
optimize your relationships. This subseries focuses on
improving primary relationships.
This brief YouTube video previews the key ideas in this article.
The video mentions eiight self-improvement lessons in this site. I've since
reduced that to seven.
Stories abound in all ages and cultures about married women and men
having romantic and sexual liaisons ("affairs") with other partners.
Headlines and gossipers question why people risk their integrities,
reputations, families, and self esteem to have secret trysts and illicit
relationships. A common reaction is to sympathize with the betrayed mate,
and fault the betrayer and the "other wo/man."
This article offers a different perspective on...
typical affairs occur,
how to judge people who choose them,
and the article encourages you to...
understand the implications of these
ideas, and how to...
benefit from affairs in your
home, family, and family tree.
Do you know anyone who has had an affair? Have
you had one? History and headlines endlessly hint or trumpet ordinary and famous
people breaking vows of marital fidelity. Most (all?) religions and ancestral values proclaim that having an affair is
How were you
taught to judge men and women who "cheat" on their mates? How about
judging professionals who become romantically and/or sexually involved
with a client, student, or patient? Typical opinions are that such people are
weak, shameful, immoral, despicable, sick, selfish, pitiful,
criminal, and irresponsible. What are your favorite
adjectives? How would each of the adults who raised you describe
someone involved in an affair? Did any of themor their ancestors
write this brief perspective because many of my ~1,000 therapy clients
have described being affected directly or indirectly by affairs. These men
and women usually focused on
(a) their reactions to the affair/s, and/or (b)
judging the persons involved - not what caused them.
I have never met one person who tried
to compassionately understand the primary
all the adults affected by an affair. Failure to do this blocks
the chance to identify and correct the personal and marital reasons for an affair, and increases family
See how you feelabout these ideas...
adults and kids act (behave) to fillneeds -
i.e. toreducecurrentemotional, physical, and spiritual
discomforts - and to experience short-term pleasure.
most adults and all kids are unaware
of the underlying
primary needs that
usually cause their
conscious (secondary) needs.
learn how to use effective-communication
both mates want to...
help each other identify and fill their respective
primary needs in a mutually-satisfying way.
you disagree with any of these premises, what do you believe?
36 years' clinical experience working with hundreds
of typical Midwestern-US. persons and couples,
under ~5% of them knew how to problem-solve
effectively. This was usually because they were
(a) unaware of significant psychological
wounds, and (b)
they didn't know they needed to
learn effective-communication basics.
Could this describe you?
Surface Reasons for
Try completing this sentence out loud: "Typical people choose to have
affairs because ____________.": Then compare your reasons to these premises:
want excitement and adventure, in an otherwise dull or
boring life or marriage;
want to feel desirable and sexually potent with an
hope sexual desire and behavior will fill a desperate
need for love, intimacy, and companionship;
want to (re)experience the "thrill of the chase" and
"succeeding" and/or being seduced;
want sensual pleasure and sexual release they're not
getting from their mate;
act impulsively, rather than making a well-considered decision;
"don't know why"
they choose the affair, do it anyway, and usually regret it;
people choose to have affairs because they...
want to hurt or "make a point with" their partner or
someone else, despite harmful consequences; or they...
want to defy social, religious, parental, and/or ancestral
rules to prove "I am independent!" to someone; and/or they...
feel sorry for the new partner and want to
rescue or help him or her; or they...
want to avoid facing the painful realities of aging and what that
several of these.
(add your own reasons) ...
I propose that
noneof these are the primary reasons for
typical romantic/sexual affairs. If
this is so, then focusing on them
will not fill the primary needs that cause an affair, and may
amplify relationship stresses.
benefit from affairs personally and together (!), mates must want to
PrimaryReasons for Affairs
Surface reasons for romantic-sexual affairs (above) are usually
caused by primary reasons like these:
1) One or
both original partners have been ruled by a
false self, and no one knew it. That means...
their relationship could
never fill their primary needs well enough
after courtship illusions and excitement inevitably fade, and...
increasing psychological and/or sexual dissatisfaction and frustrations are inescapable;
one or both partners
were so psychologically wounded
they could not
their (or any) mate, so they pretended to bond ("pseudo intimacy").
This means that neither partner gets their core
marital needs met. It also means that the mate initiating the affair
may have felt there was no real commitment to betray, and nothing of value
The "betrayed" partner was
(broken bonds), so s/he could not really
bond. So their partner eventually began looking for relationship
satisfaction with another person, because neither mate knew (a) about
psychological woundings or
grief, and (b) how to reduce these via
false-self dominance may have meant...
Either or both of the original partners had psychological and/or organic
malfunctions with their sexual desire or with normal sexual responses.
Once admitted, these are often correctable with
skilled help - specially if the mates are working to
their true selves as empathic teammates.
subselves ruling the mate
who took part in the affair
were burdened with excessive
fears, and could not
risk honesty with their mate about thinking about or
having an affair. Once the affair started, these dominant subselves'
guilt, and fears
to overcome the true Self's wish to be
self-responsible and honest with their mate, so s/he "lied." ("I am
not having an affair!")
other false-self dynamics (e.g. reality distortion and excessive distrust) that can add to these.
The second primary reason for any affair is that the original
(wounded, unaware) couple
doesn't know the seven
Therefore, they couldn't...
problem-solving to help each other fill their
needs as teammates; or...
and resolve their mix of communication
Can you name the seven skills and
when to use each of them? Even if mates they know these skills, If they're
psychologically wounded they'll still have ineffective
communication because their subselves will be distrustful, distort reality,
and act impulsively.
4) For some
mates, a fourth reason for affairs is that if they seek relationship help
affair, the professionals they hire focus on surface problems like
those above, and may also be ruled by a false self .
Bottom line: typical sexual/romantic affairs are really caused by (a)
one or more of the people being controlled by a needy false self and not
knowing it, and (b) the original couple not knowing how to identify and
assert their unfilled primary needs and problem-solve
effectively together. These core factors may have caused one or both mates to
make up to three unwise
reactions to this premise. Does it make sense to you? If not, have you
taken the time to follow the
reading links at
the top of this article and reality-test the ideas they
present? Is your true Self (capital
If these are the real reasons
for affairs, consider...
People choosing an
affair are psychologically wounded,
needy, and in protective denial - notsick, selfish, immoral, weak,
shameful, sinful, irresponsible, etc.
The betrayed partner usually owns half the
problem, vs. charging "It's all my mate's (or the third adult's)
Fighting over who's to blame for an affair is like trying to prove who
caused Winter to happen.
Shaming or scorning a person who chooses an affair and
lies about it is equivalent to saying someone with cancer or Alzheimer's
disease is morally corrupt and despicable.
Adults and kids lie when they feel it's
not safe to tell the truth. Staying safe is a survival reflex, not
"good or bad."
Wounded people still must confront the
results of their
wounds, unawareness, and behaviors...
Striving to "fix" any of the
(i.e. the symptoms of the primary problems)can never
succeed, long term.
The best choice is for both
partners to want to commit to...
Committing to the wrong mate, for the wrong reasons, at
the wrong time can be endured but not "fixed."
Mates who use
pornography to satisfy unfilled primary-relationship needs are
similar to partners who have affairs; and...
Typical mates will need to work patiently
together to (re)gain genuine trust and respect as part of
their healing from an affair.
here proposes how to do that.
A final implication is...
Mates who divorce because of an affair may
miss the opportunity to learn from it and to improve their wholistic health
and their family's nurturance level.
This promotes passing the lethal
[wounds + unawareness]
cycle down their
generations and wounding their descendents.
This Lesson-4 article exists because of...
the universal reality of some mates choosing
to have romantic / sexual affairs,
the personal and family stress that causes, and...
the common reaction to blame such
people rather than to understand ...
the psychological wounds +
unawareness + unfilled needs that cause
typical affairs, and
how to reduce the wounds,
gain awareness, and fill these needs in healthy ways.
The article's basic premise is that adults who participate in affairs are
needy, wounded, and unaware, not bad, self-centered, selfish, immoral, weak,
or sinful. They made
courtship decisions, and are not getting some important needs met in their primary
relationship. This does not excuse them from owning responsibility for the
hurtful effects of their behavior on themselves, family members, and
Major implications of this premise include (a) the betrayed mate is always one
of the problem, and (b) typical
romantic and sexual affairs are an opportunity to learn and heal,
rather than whine, complain, rage, scorn, punish, blame, divorce, and deny their
To accept and apply
all affected adults must want to
take responsibility for (a) keeping their true Selves
in charge of their
other personality subselves, and for (b) reducing any
ignorance and false-self
wounds. Often that doesn't occur until wounded men and women have hit true
in midlife or later.
Pause, breathe, and recall why you read this article. Did you get what
you needed? If so, what do you need now? If not - what
you need? Is there anyone you want to
discuss these ideas with? Who's
questions - your wise resident
true Self or
something about yourself with this one-question anonymous