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What Happens to the Brain During an Affair?

What Happens to the Brain During an Affair?

Affairs in film and television series are often portrayed as exciting adventures, fun and mischievous; a way of breaking free from oppression… a conduit to a joyful existence. To the person contemplating an affair, it can seem like a solution to depression, boredom or worse in a marriage; desperately needed relief from intense loneliness, and/or a bolster to one’s self esteem. The reality of the experience of an affair is almost always very different. The explosion of brain research in…

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Can Relationships That Start as Affairs Succeed…Revisited

Can Relationships That Start as Affairs Succeed…Revisited

I have just come across clarification on a statistic I cited in “Can Relationships That Start as Affairs Succeed?” In that post I stated that 25% of relationships that start as affairs succeed. I always thought that sounded a bit high. Recently this figure has been clarified by Frank Pittman. In the study he is citing, the divorce rate among those who married their lovers was 75%.  Information is not available about the quality of the 25% of marriages that…

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What is an Emotional Affair?

What is an Emotional Affair?

Emotional affair? I thought affairs meant extramarital sex! He tells me they’re just friends. Am I being too possessive? Can’t I have friends of the opposite sex? Isn’t it better to give him a long leash? Emotional affairs have become a hot topic in the last several years, resulting in much needed clarity for some and complete confusion for others. Conflicts arise in couples where one person’s friendship with someone else leaves their partner feeling neglected and angry , but…

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How Do Affairs Affect Children? Part I

How Do Affairs Affect Children? Part I

In this post I will address how children are effected by their parent’s affairs. In subsequent posts I will discuss the effects on adult children of affairs and offer suggestions for parents involved in affairs on how to best support their children through this difficult time. You may also wish to read about “Children of Affairs”. Unfortunately, it is frequently true that when caught up in an affair you can unintentionally become disconnected from your children and their needs. In…

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The Other Woman (or Man) – A Paradoxical Experience

The Other Woman (or Man) – A Paradoxical Experience

If you are a single woman that has been seeing a married man for some time and reading this, chances are that you have already gone through the initial stages of infatuation and blinding bliss. In these initial stages you are not wanting to think too deeply about the realities you are creating in your life by pursuing this relationship. But as things progress and the honeymoon period wears off you start to have questions, you bring them up to…

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Can Relationships That Start as Affairs Succeed?

Can Relationships That Start as Affairs Succeed?

I came across an interesting statistic recently; 25% of relationships that start as affairs succeed. Actually, I was surprised, if I had to guess, I would have thought the figure to be much lower. (For an update on this statistic go to “Can Relationships That Start as Affairs Succeed? Revisited”) But a statistic is just that, and doesn’t tell you anything about your own individual situation. Feeling torn between two lovers can be an agonizing experience. Besides the guilt, and…

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Should I Tell My Partner About The Affair?

Should I Tell My Partner About The Affair?

Most likely if you are reading this you have been struggling with whether to tell your partner for a while. It’s natural to feel paralyzed, and unable to think deeply about your options. The issues involved can seem endlessly complicated; any route you take resulting in emotional upheaval for everyone involved. Revealing your affair will undoubtedly alter many important relationships in ways that you cannot predict or control. The situation is less difficult if you are clear that you want…

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Torn Between Two Lovers (or a lover and a partner)

Torn Between Two Lovers (or a lover and a partner)

If a tree falls in a forest and no one hears it, has it made a sound? The intrigue this question provokes is related to a central idea in postmodern philosophy, which is; a phenomena cannot be truly perceived apart from the context in which it is situated. A very obvious example of this would occur in a visit to the zoo, where we watch animals and think we are seeing true animal behavior. But what we are seeing are…

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About Conversations That Heal Affairs Part I

About Conversations That Heal Affairs Part I

“We have the same conversations over and over.  She gets triggered and tells me about it.  She’s in a great deal of pain.  I listen and tell her I’m sorry. I am sympathetic.  Sometimes she even lets me hold her.  But we just keep going through the same events, the same emotions, just as intense, again and again. This feels like hell.  Will it never end?  Why isn’t she getting over it?”   This is where many couples who are attempting…

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Why “Being Good” Won’t Heal Your Affair

Why “Being Good” Won’t Heal Your Affair

I don’t know why she can’t get over this. I ended the affair, have been spending much more time at home, doing more around the house, paying more attention to her, being more affectionate. I’ve told her I’m sorry and reassured her over and over that it was a mistake, that I love her and it will never happen again. I’m being so good! I don’t see why she won’t let it go! I’ve heard these bewildered voices countless times….

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Heading Towards an Affair?

Heading Towards an Affair?

Of all of the people who show up for therapy struggling with some aspect of an affair, those in the infatuation, pre-affair (or maybe emotional affair) stage are the least likely to appear. This is such an important decision, you’d think one would seek assistance in reflecting on the implications of taking such a step. In fact, I expect that this post will generate many less readers than others I have written. Why is that?

Difficulties Couples Encounter Trying To Heal From An Affair

Difficulties Couples Encounter Trying To Heal From An Affair

The revelation of an affair is frequently a shocking experience. In long-term relationships the fidelity of one’s partner is, more often than not, taken for granted, providing an emotional foundation for the couple. Trust and a sense of security rest on this foundation. Strength is derived from this secure bond. This strength enables each partner to function relatively smoothly in the world, and to be open to new and growthful experiences that life offers. If either partner has a history…

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Rebuilding Real, Deep Trust After the Affair

Rebuilding Real, Deep Trust After the Affair

“How can I ever trust you again?” “How could I have ever trusted you?” “Trust me, this will never happen again.” “How can I win back your trust?” The sudden loss of trust is shocking. It may seem impossible to imagine ever regaining it. As important as it is, it is also true that before the discovery trust may have been something that was hardly ever spoken of. How often do spouses say something like, “I feel so much trust…

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Asian Americans and Affairs

Asian Americans and Affairs

Over the years I have helped many Asian American couples heal from affairs. Many of the couples involved have been first or second generation Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese or South Korean. These are the Asian countries whose cultures are most organized around Confucian philosophy. Yet, when I ask, invariably, each person in the couple has never read any Confucian philosophy, even as a child. Even though Confucianism functions somewhat like a religion, it isn’t one. A religion has a godhead. Confucius…

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Why Can’t I Get Over My Partner’s Affair?

Why Can’t I Get Over My Partner’s Affair?

By “getting over” I don’t mean forgetting about it, or somehow making it okay. But I am writing to you if you find yourself consumed by pain and anger and obsessive thoughts that feel unrelenting over a long period of time, and if you don’t have a sense that these experiences are part of a healing process. I am writing to you if you feel that your marriage is somehow still worth saving even though an affair has occurred and…

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Affairs and Ultimatums

Affairs and Ultimatums

“Should I give my partner an ultimatum…the other person or me?” This is a question I hear frequently. Discovering your partner’s affair can be traumatic enough. The best chance for healing the marriage is if the affair is relinquished and all of your partner’s energy turns to you and your relationship. But this doesn’t always happen. Some people in affairs are up front about not being willing to end some kind of involvement with the affair partner. Some do end…

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Does an Affair Mean the Marriage is Over?

Does an Affair Mean the Marriage is Over?

It’s definitely what most people believe, and tell their spouses early on.  “If you ever have an affair, it’s over!”  There are many reasons some find it important to take this stand at the outset.  But sometimes, once it happens, it all seems more complicated. For a long time it was commonly believed that affairs were actually the leading cause of divorce.  But now we know that is not true.   The most recent studies show that only about 25% of…

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