July 23, 2009

Understanding Affairs

Understanding Affairs: What You Need to Know About Affairs

Five Myths:
1. Affairs are the result of poor moral character.
2. Men are all alike and so are affairs - it’s just about.
3. Affairs can be avoided by using reason and will
power. (They happen because of he lack of will
power.)4. Our culture hates affairs.
5. There is nothing which can be done about affairs,
    it’s better not to talk about it.

Five Important Facts:
1. Affairs are the symptom of an emotional or
relational problem. They are not about moral failing or
lack of character. (Remember the way we used to think
of alcoholism.)

2. All affairs are not alike.  Affairs have different causes. (Just like a headache or sore throat)
For example:     A.  Sexual addiction – compulsive behavior.  - Bill Clinton
     B.  Personality disorders - i.e. inability to control impulses or set boundaries. - Gov. Mark  Sanford.
     C. Indirect expressions of marital strife or conflict. (Nothing says I hate you like an affair.)  
     D. Stress Relief   -  Sex feels good and takes your mind off your troubles – just like alcohol.   
     E. Convenience - Affairs are easier than divorce

3. Affairs are driven by powerful and highly
addictive neuro-chemicals PEA and dopamine.
Further, at least one of the persons in the affair is in a
vulnerable emotional state.

4. Despite denouncing infidelity, our culture is fascinated with sexual intrigue.  Mark Sanford’s “apology” for his affair was the
quintessential expression of our culture’s conflicted attitude about affairs, i.e. Affairs are wrong but they feels so good. Imbedded in this attitude is the myth
that one’s true love is not the one you’re married to.

5. What can be done to prevent affairs :
        A. Grow up and become less squeamish talking
about sex.
        B. End the denial and have realistic expectations about affairs and know the factors which increase vulnerability.
        C. Consciously evaluate and be pro-active to reduce the factors which reduce the likelihood of affairs happening.
        D. Agree to seek professional help when emotional or marital problems develop.      

These comment were written by the Rev. Michael Heath, LMHC , for Bridge Street 7 21 2009
 

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