Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Why do Affairs Happen?

Recent studies suggest that just over half of both men and women seek intimacy outside of their committed relationships.  The primary undercurrent that creates the climate for an affair is a lack of emotional intimacy and the resulting buildup of contempt.  

Intimacy in a relationship does not run on "auto-pilot".  John Gottman's research revealed that healthy couples daily update their knowledge of their partner's world.  This includes touching base on subjects such as injuries and healings, triumphs and strivings, spirituality, philosophy of life, and the landscape of their partner's friendships, family members and social/sexual needs to name a few.  

Immunity to affairs involves constant awareness, the cultivation of each other's life dreams, and the development of emotional intelligence.  The good news is that couples can learn these skills even if they have struggled in the past.  Couples who recover from affairs are the ones who engage this difficult, yet rewarding work.

Resonate Relationship Clinic exists in part to help couples practice and succeed in this type of work.  Here are three resources that we believe are essential for couples to have on their nightstands that will aid them in developing and maintaining lifelong intimacy with each other.  Of course there are others, but this is a great starting point.        
"Hold Me Tight"  -Sue Johnson
"Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work"  -Gottman
"The Relationship Cure"  -Gottman        


Anonymous said...

Just read your blog and I have a couple of questions. Is immunity from affairs really possible? While there are things couples can do to protect their marriage from an affair, you can't guarantee that it won't ever happen. Have you ever read "Just Friends?" by Shirley Glass? In it she says that even good marriages can fall victim to affairs, especially emotional ones. She uses the idea of windows and walls. Once you put up walls with your spouse and give someone else a window into your self, you are establishing intimacy with that other person.
Also, is putting your marriage back together after an affair so easily reduced to "skills to be learned"? Isn't there much more than that? Not that those skills aren't a part of it, but that would seem to follow a change in heart or perspective.
I'm obviously asking as I'm trying to figure things out in my own life.
Thanks for your imput.

Grant and Emma said...

There's certainly no such thing as immunity, yet I do believe that couples can develop a very strong immune system which involves a high sense of awareness about walls and windows. Affair recovery is very difficult, so no, it's not like a weekend skills workshop will get you back on track. it can take several years to heal the wound, but from John Gottman's research, we do know that succesful marriages share some very important priniciples that if couples work to implement give them a much better chance at making it. Check out "7 principles for making marriage work" Couples also have to choose to "do" love to each other until loving feelings begin to return. They can't always count on a change of heart until they decide to do the work of recovery in our experience.
Thanks for your comments.

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