This Article is About
emotional affair
personal reason
defensiveness
lack of trust
emotional cheating
misstep
infidelity
root cause
companionship
Consider Your Needs - Before And After The Affair Advice
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After stepping outside of their marriage for fulfillment, be it an emotional affair or physical infidelity, the offending spouse usually has a difficult time explaining why they did it. Some of this difficulty stems from not having a clear personal reason for doing so. Whereas one spouse finds it difficult to clearly explain, let alone take responsibility for their actions, the injured partner is looking for cause and details. Understandably, this dichotomy of "not knowing" and "wanting to know" proves to be a least one of the various factors making rebuilding after an affair so difficult.

When a person is caught doing something they know is wrong, defensiveness is the most frequent response – especially when the reasons for performing the unwanted act are not personally understood. In many cases this takes the form of justifying actions based on past behaviors of their partner (not themselves), spelling out all the evils of the non-offending spouse. Whether statements made in such circumstances are true in part or in full, stepping outside of the marriage and cheating is still not justified. Worse, these accusations shift focus from the offending party, sometimes making it difficult for friends and family to be in the same room with either individual.

Despite the allegations from either party, the root cause in very nearly always the topic of "needs." The need for love, the need for companionship, and the need for intimacy. In relationships where these needs are fulfilled, the potential for infidelity and cheating outside of the marriage is significantly reduced.

The Roots of Physical and Emotional Cheating – Unfulfilled Needs

Look-back studies indicate a common initial misstep along the road to full-blown affairs. The offending spouse felt that difficulties and problems could be mitigated by seeking fulfillment outside of the marriage. Unfortunately, taking this step exposes (often unknowingly) a lack of trust and transparency, with the after effects eventually becoming heartbreak and devastation.

While the need for love, companionship, and intimacy is immediately recognizable, the need to communicate regularly, openly, and honestly is often forgotten. These factors are what build a foundation of trust in a relationship, making it possible for the other needs within a relationship to be successfully fulfilled. An unfortunate circumstance of life is that circumstances out of immediate control tend to compete with the finer details of marriage. Hectic work schedules, children’s activities, errands, and the like all tend to chip away leaving little time and energy left to focus on maintaining a sound relationship – let alone fostering positive and long-lasting reinforcement of a marriage. Although normal, when such circumstances are left unchecked, two detrimental symptoms can arise. Neglect and exploit.

Neglect occurs when assumptions of what the other spouse is doing take hold, as opposed to genuine interest in their day-to-day activities and schedule. Note the weight of the words “always” and “never” in the following examples:

• "This deadline always comes up on Thursdays"

• "I'm always text messaging about work"

• "Dinner meetings with this vendor never get done before 10pm"

When communication is assumed and begins to grind to a halt, the spouse not in the know becomes a victim. Continuing down this path can lead to the victim exploring opportunities for fulfillment outside of the marriage – in both terms of a physical and emotional affair. Exploit, on the other hand, occurs when the offending spouse begins to rely on the fact that the other spouse assumes or simply "understands" their whereabouts. In short, they take the unknowing spouse's trust for granted, and proceed to take advantage of the situation. This allows an opening to engage in emotional and physical infidelity.

Conclusion

Among the many potential causes of an affair, one of the more common is neglect of the need for emotional connection and healthy communication. Whether a couple has already ensured an affair, is in the midst of one, or is on the path of decline, the topic of needs is something to develop at every opportunity. Consider the following questions that commonly are used for help on how to survive the affair:

• What are your needs?

• What are your spouse's needs?

• What needs can you and your spouse both work on fulfilling going forward?


Street Talk

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