The Affair- Prone Marriage


One of the more traumatic experiences in marriages is infidelity and I don't us the word "traumatic" lightly. Healing and forgiveness are possible, but it will take time and commitment.
Research points to certain characteristics that are most often linked to infidelity. Some of these factors have to do with the individual. Being raised in a family where having affairs is considered normal is one example.
Having the type of personality that values excitement and risk taking over marital stability is another.
Your social environment also has a big impact. If you're surrounded by coworkers and friends who believe that affairs are OK, you're less likely to stay true to your partner.
The nature of you marriage is an important factor as well. People who feel angry and emotionally distant from their spouses are more likely to look outside the marriage for a sense of closeness.
In her book "Not Just Friends," Shirley Glass presents a compelling description of the way many happily married people unwittingly make their marriages vulnerable to affairs. The problem often starts when coworkers form secret emotional attachment to each other by crossing small boundaries that are needed to protect their marriages. Glass asserts that in a committed relationship, ca couple constructs a wall that shields them from any outside forces that have the power to split them up.l
Couples in conflict-avoiding marriages may especially be prone to affairs, according to Glass's analysis. This is because when something occurs in a conflict avoiding couple's life that raises new issues (a baby is born, or one spouse is stressed at work) the partner avoids expressing difficult feelings or stating new needs in order to "keep the peace." But this lack of sharing can cause one or both partners to fee lonely.
Meanwhile, the lonely partner may happen to have an intense conversation with somebody outside the marriage. This partner may know on a gut level that they should let their spouse in on this development and the feelings it brings up. They could say something like "I have the most intense conversation with Chris at the office today. And it made me realize that you and I haven't talked like that in a long time and that worried me. But as we know, a revelation like this may lead to a heated argument--so the lonely partner puts off discussing the situation. And as a result he or she now has a secret.
Couples who want to heal the damage that affairs created usually benefit from working with a marriage counselor. Several studies have shown that marital therapy can be quite effective in helping couples to recover from an affair. My own work has shown that shared therapy can create a safe space for the betrayed partner to express pain and get the answers he or she needs. At the same time a trained therapist can steer that partner away from expression of rage that would he harmful to their relationship. Instead the couple focuses on communication that helps to rebuild feelings of fondness, admiration and therefore, renewed and deepened emotional connection.

For further inquiries:

Check out Jim Covington, marriage counselor, at

Phone: (917) 656- 4363