Everyone has their own personal beliefs about affairs. These beliefs can stem from how we saw adults around us behaving with each other during our childhood. They can stem from how our parents and other relatives talked about and regarded affairs, from the particular culture you grew up in, and your religious upbringing and beliefs. Sometimes beliefs about affairs are really rationalizations that allow the affair to go on. If you really believe these things, than you don’t feel that you should have to apologize and you may be truly shocked at how traumatized your partner is upon discovery. Janis Abrahms Spring lists some beliefs that justify affairs (and I’ve added a few of my own):
It’s okay if I truly love the other person.
It’s okay if it’s just for sex and my partner remains the most important person to me.
It’s okay as long as we don’t actually have sex.
What my partner doesn’t know won’t hurt him or her.
A one-night stand doesn’t change anything.
I deserve to be happy and since my partner isn’t meeting all of my needs, it’s okay to go outside of the relationship to get them met.
My lover makes me happier and enables me to be a better spouse.
My affair allows me to stay married. I’m doing it for the children.
People aren’t meant to be monogamous.
All men do it.
I’m entitled to privacy in my marriage.
People shouldn’t have to sacrifice what they need to make their partner feel secure.
Men are different than women, they have a stronger sex drive and shouldn’t be sexually frustrated.
Sex is not the most important thing in a marriage so it’s okay.
I’m a good provider, therefore, I’m a good husband; having an affair won’t change that.
Does one or more of these describe your attitude? If so, how did you come to believe this? Do you still truly believe it? How are these beliefs effecting your life and the lives around you? If you are having trouble sorting all of this out, therapy can play a crucial role in helping resolve such inner conflicts.