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Why do affairs begin?

Why Do People Have Affairs? By Peggy Vaughn

1. Who Has Affairs?

We tend to think that only bad people have affairs or only people in bad relationships. But no one is immune from an affair.
Monogamy is something most people say they believe in and want for themselves.

Every survey ever done on this question shows a high percentage of people think monogamy is important to marriage and that affairs are wrong. But a belief in monogamy as an ideal doesn’t prevent large numbers of people from having extramarital affairs. Most people don’t intend to have an affair and most people don’t think it will happen to them—but it does.

Bottom Line: No one is immune from having affairs disrupt their lives or the lives of those they care about; they happen to all kinds of people, in all walks of life.

2. Why Do People Have Affairs?

The first question most people ask when they learn of their partner’s affair is, “Why?” And the answers they come up with are usually based on personal blame. They blame themselves, their partner, their relationship, or the third party. They see it strictly as a personal problem, a personal failure of the people involved. This is a very simple explanation for a very complex question.

Usually there are three different kinds of forces that are working together:
•    Forces within the individual that pull them toward affairs
•    Forces within the individual that push them toward affairs
•    Societal factors

Forces within the individual that pull them toward affairs:
•    Attraction: sex, companionship, admiration, power
•    Novelty
•    Excitement, risk, or challenge
•    Curiosity
•    Enhanced self-image
•    Falling in love

Forces within the individual that push them toward affairs:
•    Desire to escape or find relief from a painful relationship
•    Boredom
•    Desire to fill gaps in an existing relationship
•    Desire to punish one’s partner
•    Need to prove one’s attractiveness or worth
•    Desire for attention

Societal factors
Affairs are glamorized in movies, soap operas, romance novels, and TV shows of all kinds. Public disclosure of public figures having affairs is headline news because we are fascinated and titillated by hearing of others’ affairs.

People are bombarded with images of women as sex objects in advertising and marketing campaigns. Over and over, the message to men is that the good life includes a parade of sexy women in their lives. Women inadvertently buy into this image and strive to achieve it.

The lack of good sex education and the existence of sexual taboos combine to make it difficult for most partners to talk honestly about sex.
As teenagers we get conditioned in deception when it comes to sex—engaging in sexual activity while hiding it from our parents.

The code of secrecy is a major factor in affairs because it provides protection for the person having affairs and leads them to believe they won’t get caught.

Bottom Line: There is no ONE single reason a person has an affair. There are usually many reasons, including some of the forces that pull them toward affairs and some of the forces that push them toward affairs, combined with the influence of the general factors in society that contribute to affairs.

3. How Prevalent are Affairs?

Conservative estimates are that 60 percent of men and 40 percent of women will have an extramarital affair. These figures are even more significant when we consider the total number of marriages involved—since it’s unlikely that all the men and women having affairs happen to be married to each other. If even half of the women having affairs (or 20 percent) are married to men not included in the 60 percent having affairs, then at least one partner will have an affair in approximately 80 percent of all marriages.

But we need to take a closer look at the statistics on affairs to determine what they can contribute to an understanding of our sexual patterns. While affairs happen in non-marital, “committed” relationships as well as within marriage, most of the statistics deal only with “extramarital” affairs. These statistics began with Kinsey’s reports in the 1940’s and early 1950’s. Kinsey’s samples included 5,000 men and showed that by age 40, 50 percent of the men had experienced extramarital sexual intercourse. Kinsey’s original samples of 6,000 women showed that by age 40, 26 percent of the women had experienced extramarital sexual intercourse.

Later studies dealing exclusively with men indicate a continuous increase in the number of men having extramarital affairs. The increase for women having affairs has been even more significant. Some of the statistics, both for men and for women, are extremely high and legitimately debated, but many people question any statistics on extramarital affairs, arguing that statistics are unreliable and confusing and that no one knows precisely how prevalent affairs are. While there are slight differences in the estimates based on clinical studies and questionnaires, the bottom line is compelling in showing an extremely high (and rising) incidence of extramarital affairs.

Why it helps to know about the prevalence of affairs:
For the person who knows their spouse has had an affair and is still trying to understand why, acknowledging the prevalence of affairs in our society can help them put it in a more realistic perspective. Understanding just how many others face the same situation (regardless of who they are or who they’re married to) can help break the sense of being so alone, isolated, or “singled out” for this experience. It can help overcome the feeling of “why me?”

People who have not yet faced this issue, either in their own lives or with their friends or family, would do well to start with a realistic picture of the frequency of affairs in society as a whole. It’s not that the sheer frequency means it will happen to any specific person, but it does say a lot about the kind of support to expect from society for remaining monogamous vs. having affairs. We need to make a commitment to face the reality of affairs and address the issue in a more responsible way, both individually and as a society.

Bottom Line: Most of us expect monogamy to be a normal part of marriage or any committed relationship. The reality is that monogamy is not the norm.

4. Is Monogamy “Natural?”

People often get caught up in a debate over whether people are naturally monogamous or naturally have affairs. That’s a useless debate, as was clearly expressed by Jessie Bernard in her classic work, The Future of Marriage:
•    “Millions of words have been used to document both the naturalness and the unnaturalness of monogamy. The question…is, actually, unanswerable. We will never know if there is anything intrinsic in human nature that limits the ways the sexes can relate to one another because no one has ever survived outside of any culture long enough to teach us. Human nature seems to be able to take almost any form of marriage—or unable to take any form.”

Below is an excerpt from my book The Monogamy Myth where I expand on this point.
We can only understand monogamy and affairs in a societal context, in terms of the attitudes of society as a whole. Normally, when we try to understand why affairs happen we look only at the reasons why a person might want to have an affair, such as the excitement of sexual variety. But this doesn’t explain why affairs happen. People may want to have affairs for a wide range of reasons, but their decision to act on those desires is affected by the values and actions of those around them.

Affairs happen in so many marriages that it’s unreasonable to think they’re due solely to factors within each marriage. Whatever the personal factors involved in affairs, they are more than outweighed by the significant, powerful, and pervasive societal factors. We have a responsibility to learn more about our role, individually and as a whole, in supporting the societal factors that contribute to affairs.

Bottom Line: Debating the “naturalness” or “unnaturalness” of monogamy is a way of avoiding dealing directly with this issue. Regardless of whether or not it’s “natural,” it’s happening; so starting from there, there is much to learn.

5. How Can Affairs be Prevented?

Prevention is possible only through a commitment to Honesty, not a “promise” to be monogamous.

Definition of Honesty: not withholding relevant information.

What won’t work:
Couples can’t avoid affairs by assuming monogamy or even by promising monogamy without discussing the issue. And they can’t avoid affairs by making threats as to what they would do if it happened. Either of these paths creates a cycle of dishonesty. In either case, people don’t feel free to admit being attracted to someone else. If they don’t admit these attractions, then they won’t admit being tempted. If they don’t admit being tempted, then they certainly won’t admit it if and when they finally act on the attraction. The effect on the relationship is to cause it to be filled with jealousy and suspicion, as well as making it less likely that it will be monogamous.

What will work:
On the other hand, by specifically making a commitment to honesty, both partners realize that attractions to others are likely, indeed inevitable, no matter how much they love each other. So they engage in ongoing honest communication about the reality of the temptations and how to avoid the consequences of acting on those temptations. The effect on the relationship is to create a sense of closeness and a knowledge of each other that replaces suspicion with trust, making it more likely that it will be monogamous.

Why honesty works:
The process of discussing attractions actually decreases the likelihood of acting on them, because it focuses on the potential problems of acting on them; whereas when a person is tempted to have an affair, their private thoughts usually dwell only on the potential pleasures. There’s an added fascination and excitement about feelings that are kept secret as compared to those that are acknowledged and discussed. Shedding the cold light of day on secret desires goes a long way toward diminishing their power.

Who can use this process?
This process of acknowledging attractions and discussing how they are to be handled is one that both married and unmarried couples need to address prior to any problem with affairs. Constantly wondering and worrying about this issue creates a strain between partners that may prevent their developing a sense of trust in each other. They need to talk through their feelings about monogamy and attractions to other people on an ongoing basis as their relationship develops.

Bottom Line: There are no guarantees. The issue of monogamy is never settled once and for all. It requires ongoing honest discussion of the issue. This makes it possible for a couple to feel they really know each other, making it more likely they can trust that they won’t deceive each other, thus preventing affairs.

(Adapted from The Monogamy Myth by Peggy Vaughn)

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Why getting in shape isn’t enough to make him love you . . .


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You’ve been a “good girl” busting your butt in the gym.

You’re weight is dropping… you’re starting to feel a bit sexy.

When you look in the mirror… you’re starting to feel less insecure about your body.

Since you’re feeling a bit more… voluptuous… you might have an itch to be a bit naughty.

And by naughty I don’t mean having a “cheat day” with some chocolate.

No… I the naughty I’m referring to is the “cardio” that involves toe curling… sheet ripping… powerful passionate connection that leaves you exhausted and satisfied.

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P.S. The reason so many men “pull away” from women is because women don’t understand this naughty secret about men…

Your children deserve Two Parents… Try not divorce because of the affair

Let me introduce myself. I’m Savannah Ellis. I was born and raised in Sydney Australia, and was a child from a family torn apart by my Fathers affair. It breaks my heart to talk about this with you right now, even though my fathers affair happened when I was 16 years old. I loved my Father dearly.

To cut along story short, the affair devastated my family. I went into survival mode, and “just got on with life.” My Mother has never recovered from the betrayal, and has not been able to move on, even 26 years later.

My father, married the “Other Women” and she was the most evil person you could ever imagine. The stress she brought to my fathers life, killed him. My Father died at the age of 56 years old. The extended network of family and friends were shocked. They could never imagine my father being anything other than a “family man.” At his funeral, the church was so full of people who had come to pay their respect, that they stood around the side walls of the church, and out the church doors, continuing down the church stairs.

Stress killed him. The guilt of what he had done to his life and the family. A true tragedy.

I started studying Psychology at Monash University a few years prior. Originally, I  wanted to work with Schizophrenic patients. My brother, had been diagnosed with Schizophrenia a few years after the destruction of the family. Schizophrenia can be brought on in several ways, and a traumatic life event is one of these ways. However, I quickly learned that a life time of working with Schizophrenics may just send me to the crazy farm too!

I was also preoccupied with having my own family. I was married young. On reflection, this is another fallout of the affair, my loss of my fathers guidance, day to day in my life at an age where I could easily make poor decisions. My husband and I had 3 wonderful children: Sara, Jacob, and Hannah.

I continued my post education while raising my young family, with degrees including: Masters in Clinical Psychology, Masters In Business Administration, and a Doctorate in Business Administration. I worked for large corporations, before starting a variety of businesses from Medical Clinics to Day Spas, and a medium sized Business Coaching & Accounting Firm.

In my clinic, what was clear from all this education, and practical application of theory, was that typical therapy does not help couples over come their relationship challenges. The training I had received could not help the couples I was treating.  There had to be a better way, and as an entrepreneur and business women, I was determined to find a systematic way to solve this problem.

By this time, I had moved to the USA. I started my first Infidelity Recovery Clinic in Las Vegas in 2011, and my second in Santa Monica in 2012. At the same time, I began teach my method to other coaches, therapists, and psychologists, through my newly founded company, The Infidelity Recovery Institute. Our motto at the Infidelity Recovery Institute is:

Saving the Fabric of Society, One Relationship at a Time

What I am about to teach you, is the system I set up to help couples overcome the exact problem you are facing right now.

It works.

It has been tested.IRI ICON LOGO

And it is much “cheaper” than a divorce or a divorce lawyer.

But more seriously, I want to help save your family.

You don’t have to have the same unnecessary ending.

Where to Start?

Each Step of the program needs to be completed. It is a tough program. Initially it is tough on the infidel, however as we move along, you will discover that both people will need re-education and training for their own self-improvement.

This program does work best when you have the support and encouragement from a Certified Infidelity Recovery Specialist. However, for reasons you feel comfortable with, you have chosen to take this course online. This is why your first Step is Commitment.

I will be guiding you through the program, every step of the way, with videos, audio recordings from clinical sessions with clients, JUST LIKE YOU (all couples have consented to the recordings, just so long as you never find out who they are), and exercises and activities that MUST be completed.

EXCLUSIVE TO THIS PROGRAM: Included in This Program

Infidelity Recovery Guru

I understand that you may get stuck, or may not understand why I am asking you to complete a specific task. Or maybe you  just need to chat to me.

I am here and available for you both. I am not here to judge you. The damage is done, and now we just need to move through this tough period as quickly as possible. This is the only way you can both come out of this black tunnel without significant baggage.

You will be given my personal contact details: Phone, email and Skype, for VIP Coaching.

After each Step, you are both to contact me. Once we all agree the step is complete, you will move onto the next step.

There is no extra charge for this personalized care. I am here for you! I know what you are going through.

 

For more information on the 7 Step Infidelity Recovery Program CLICK HERE

Cheating Myth #4

 

Myth #4

I’ll never be able to trust my partner again.

Many of us have heard people flatly say that a spouse who cheats can never be trusted again. It’s a common statement that has the power to convince a person to adopt a 9 position before the incident even occurs.

We can train ourselves to succeed or fail, and deciding that a situation is hopeless before it even happens is a sure way to guarantee failure. Perspective is difficult to achieve, and it is nearly impossible to develop an accurate one from outside the situation.

People learn to trust in stages. As time goes by, and your spouse can see that your actions demonstrate trustworthiness, your relationship can improve if both you and your partner put a concerted effort into it. However, no effort you make will be great enough if your spouse has already decided that there can never be a resolution.

Affair Recovery Advice For When You Have Been Unfaithful

The process of healing takes time. It is not a course that can be rushed or forced. Resolution and restoration take an active, concerted effort from both sides. Beginning this process under false pretenses is a sure way to inhibit success. Part of being open and honest involves not making assumptions and not coming to conclusions prematurely.

If you have experienced infidelity in your relationship, and would like to have some professional help in recovering ASAP, download I CheatedAffair RecoveryAdvice.”  Savannah Ellis works with couples who are experiencing this challenge from her clinics in Las Vegas, Nevada and Santa Monica, California, and with couples across the globe via Online Counseling.

How Can You Rebuild Trust After Infidelity?

Author: Infidelity Recovery Coach, Savannah Ellis


In my clinic yesterday I seen a couple who were going through the infidelity recovery program. Both of them had made amazing progress. But one of the major challenges of recovery is restoring the trust.


“How do I stop thinking he is always doing something wrong?”, she asks.

Trusting someone isn’t easy after they’ve betrayed you. You want to believe what they say, but can you really ever know if they are telling the truth, once they have lied to you? The answer may be “Probably not.” 

But the good news is: there is a way you can learn to trust again. However it will take time. This is probably not the answer you wanted to hear. However, let me explain how trust is built in the first place.

Dr Gottman is a leading expert in the field of communication, and talks about the science of trust.
Science now tells us that trust grows from how each of us treats our partners. In each situation when our needs compete with those of our partner’s, no matter how small or large, we each chose to act in our self-interest or in the interest of our partner. Trust springs from the choice to take care of our partner at our own expense.

For example, you come home after a stressful day and want to connect. But your partner had an equally hard day. You say, “Wow, what a hard day I’ve had.” By saying that, you make a bid for your partner’s attention and connection. Trust builds when your partner decides not to counter your bid, but instead, accepts your needs at his or her expense. You might hear “I did too, but tell me what happened in your day. You seem so stressed.” When this pattern happens over and over, each of you giving to the other at your own expense, trust builds.


Trust is not about wishing and hoping that your partner wont cheat or wont talk to their ex. Trust is about learning to once again trust your own intuition. You probably started to doubt your inner voice once you found out that they lied to you or hid their affair. Now, you are wondering if you can really ever trust your gut instinct about anything again.

Trust is about learning to listen to your own intuition once again. Trust is not about learning to trust your partner. The truth is that they are human and another human can always let you down. Let’s face it, you never really know if anyone is telling you the truth, unless you feel it in your gut.

Only your own intuition tells you the truth. Learning to trust your own instincts is the only and most important way to know if your partner is cheating or being honest about their outside relationships. In order to be in a relationship and always feel safe, you have to learn to trust your inner voice. Your intuition will never lie to you. Once you learn to listen to it, you can always trust your inner voice.

The challenge is learning the difference between your intuitive voice and the sometimes louder voice of fear. Fear and intuition are two different things. Fear tells you what you don’t want to know. Intuition tells you the truth. Intuition is real and always authentic. Your fear can be real sometimes but often, it can be a fantasy or an illusion.

Trust your inner voice and you can learn to get past the affair, and always know if your partner is telling you the truth. 
When it comes to Infidelity Recovery, you MUST judge your partner by their current actions, not on their habits and behaviors from the past.

NOTE: I understand this advice rarely feels helpful when you are in the middle of recovery. This advice works best when you are also working on the other areas of your relationship that needed repair. If recovery becomes overwhelming – seek a coach to guide you through this stressful period.

I CHEATED:
 Affair Recovery Advice For When You Have Been Unfaithful

I CHEATED:Affair Recovery Advice For When You Have Been Unfaithful

by Savannah Ellis
DBA, MBA, BBSc, MPsych (Clin)

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Has infidelity eroded not only your relationship with another, but your connection to yourself? Do guilt and deceit threaten to engulf you like so much quicksand?

There is hope—and a strategy for profound change.

If you cheated in your relationship, this book could be the best gift you’ve ever given yourself…and your hurting partner. Infidelity doesn’t have to mean the end of your relationship, if you can learn to understand why you cheated in the first place and how to keep it from happening again. Using the affair recovery strategy offered in I Cheated, you and your partner can move from trauma to empathy, recovering the friendship and passion that brought you together in the first place, while also dealing with the annoyances that can erode the best relationships. Savannah Ellis looks at the myths of infidelity and the mistakes couples make post-affair, then provides exercises and templates so that you and your partner can become proactive in understanding and rebooting your relationship.

The help offered to struggling couples in this book is based on the author’s two decades of experience researching infidelity and counseling thousands of couples, feedback from couples coaches she has trained, the latest scientific findings in neurobiology, and research from other leaders in the field of infidelity and affair recovery.

You cheated. Now what are you going to do about it?

You can give yourself and your partner a new, better life.