About Affairs

02 Feb

Why Do I Keep Obsessing Over the Affair?

Obsessing over the affair is an absolutely natural and normal response to the trauma you have experienced.

If you find yourself unable to, at times, stop turning over the lies, snippets of conversation, unanswered questions, things that don’t add up, or visualizing the same devastating images over and over, know that although this can be agonizing, it is actually Continue Reading »

25 Jan

How Can I Stop Obsessing Over the Affair?

In order to help yourself when you can’t stop thinking about the affair, it is important to understand the different functions obsessing can serve in your healing process.

My first and most important piece of advice is to try to stop beating yourself up for those times when you can’t stop going over the details, questions, lies, or things that just don’t add up, over and over again. (For more about lying click here.) It is important to understand that  this is a completely natural and normal response to trauma, something that almost everyone in your situation experiences and that it is also Continue Reading »

03 Jan

The Six “R’s” of Healing an Affair

You might be surprised and overwhelmed at how upset your partner is about your affair.    The amount of rage, and hatred directed at you can seem overwhelming, as well as the depression and withdrawal that your partner might also be experiencing.  Though you both might want to work it out, you find yourselves tossed about in  a turbulent sea of emotions.  You may feel desperate about how to fix things, Continue Reading »

22 Dec

“How Can I Believe Him When He Says He’s Not Having an Affair?”

It can be completely crazy-making to feel like you cannot get at the truth. Something doesn’t feel right between the two of you, he’s not around as much as he used to be, not as interested in you. You suspect he might be seeing someone else. You demand he look you straight in the eye and tell you this isn’t so. He does. Can you be certain you now know?

Not according to Continue Reading »

30 Nov

What Type of Affair is This?

During the traumatic throes of the discovery of an affair, finding the right label, and therefore, singular explanation may feel like a life preserver.

As you read through books and web sites, you’ve probably noticed that almost everyone who writes about affairs has some way of categorizing them. Here are some common examples:

 “intimacy avoiding”, “anger avoiding”, “romantic”, “exit,” “split self”   “availability,” “alcoholic,” “retaliation, “revenge,” “sexual,” “culturally enabled,” “emotional,” “sex addiction,” proving you’re still attractive,” “can’t say no,””….

However, in my experience, this is only a good start, rather than the final word. Most affairs do not have a singular motive, or cause, but are multi-determined, frequently one piece in a complex puzzle. Understanding this enables couples to be more interested in the whole picture, and lessens the need for blame/shame dynamics.

Let’s use John as an example. (This story is not representative of any particular client that I have seen. Rather it is a composite based on my experience with hundreds of individuals and couples.)

John’s affair started months after his wedding and continued for years.

John had secretly been Continue Reading »

30 Nov

“Mad Men” in Affairs

Men weren’t really the enemy – - they were fellow victims suffering from an outmoded masculine mystique that made them feel unnecessarily inadequate when there were no bears to kill  Betty Friedan, Christian Science Monitor, April 1974

“Mad Men” portrays this “mystique” … women as subordinate and submissive, housewives, maybe secretaries, always standing behind their men, and only able to derive status from their husbands’ positions. The women who dared to deviate from this arrangement paid dearly (as did the women who submitted to it).

It appeared that men had it all… power, control, status, in general..superiority.

But Don Draper Continue Reading »

02 Sep

Children of Affairs

Some time ago I received a call from the Dr. Phil Show wanting to know if had any information about children of affairs. I did some research and was shocked to find… Continue Reading »

05 Jul

Questions and More Questions About the Affair

It might seem like the questions will never stop, or that there are no answers that can satisfy.  However, there is a kind of “healing intelligence” behind these questions, and they usually occur in roughly the following sequence.  Although there can be more than one motivation for asking a question, a bit of introspection will reveal the core of what you are searching for.

Shock:  “How could you do this!?”  “How could this have happened!?”  “Do you have any idea what you have done to me?”  These first questions frequently are the emotional equivalent of shaking your partner by the shoulders as Continue Reading »

09 Jun

Forgiving an Affair

You’re all over the place emotionally; enraged, hurt, humiliated, terrified and very confused.  How could this have happened?  It couldn’t have.  But it did!  But it couldn’t have.  This can’t be real.  It happens to other people.  But it did happen.  It happened to us!  But it couldn’t have…

You might start to wonder what you did to cause this.  The answer is you didn’t cause it.  But still…  Continue Reading »

30 Mar

Affair Proof Your Marriage?

Can you?  Is this possible?  Many writers present plans that are supposed to be near fool-proof.  Some are aimed at husbands; some are aimed at wives.  Do this, be that way, and you can prevent your partner from straying.  It’s appealing, and, on the whole, Continue Reading »

© 2014 About Affairs | Entries (RSS) and Comments (RSS) | Phone: (415) 751-6515 - (925) 948-0562
Susan Berger is a Marriage and Family Therapist in San Francisco, CA and Walnut Creek, CA (lic. # MFC21193) | 121 Clement St, San Francisco, CA 94118 | 1415 Oakland Blvd, Ste. 100, Walnut Creek, CA 94596
photography by Bethanie Hines