Emotional Affairs vs. Sexual Affairs

Emotional Affairs vs. Sexual Affairs.  I believe it is a breach of fidelity when inappropriate relationships and behaviors are kept secret from a significant other; such as communicating online, using sexual innuendos, sexting, flirtatious banter, and sharing deeply personal thoughts and feelings.  When two people share personal information it makes them vulnerable, and vulnerability leads to intimacy and emotional connection.

An affair is the act of behaving unfaithfully and cheating on a spouse or significant other.  Sexual intercourse may or may not occur.

People who share their marital and sexual problems with a friend of the opposite sex begin to feel emotionally close to that friend, and sometimes that emotional affair leads to a sexual one.  In Marriage Counseling, I work with couples who are struggling with these challenges.

Victoria Milan, a dating site for people seeking affairs, asked 5,000 of its members how they feel about a sexual affair versus an emotional one.  “Many people are searching for affection, a deep connection that can lead to real feelings, not just sex,” said Victoria Milan, CEO Sigurd Vedal.  “What kind of cheating is more painful?  It totally depends on the individual, and maybe on gender as well.”

As you can see from the results listed below, men and women have very different ideas about what is forgivable and what is not.

Their findings include

  • 72% of men said sexual affairs were worse than emotional affairs.
  • 69% of women said emotional affairs were worse than sexual affairs.
  • 76% of women would forgive their partner for a strictly sexual affair.
  • Only 35% of men would forgive their partner for a strictly sexual affair.
  • 80% of men said they would forgive an emotional affair.
  • Only 30% of women would forgive an emotional affair.

Researchers from the University of Michigan found that women viewed “forming a deep emotional bond” during infidelity a much bigger concern than did men.

Whatever your views on the subject, betrayal never feels good.  As a Marriage and Couples Counselor, I specialize in Affair Recovery and believe that affairs are symptoms of other issues affecting the relationship, not the least of which may be a partner who is inherently promiscuous.  I enjoy helping people learn why they do what they do and how to stop hurting themselves and their relationships.

For more information please contact me at (858) 735-1139

Looking At Infidelity In A Different Light

Looking At Infidelity In A Different Light.  Rethinking Infidelity.  Is it cheating if you sleep with other people after having a discussion about opening up your marriage?  Is talking to people on the internet or dating sites considered a betrayal?  There are many reasons why men cheat and other reasons why women cheat.  Whatever the reason, affairs are less about physical sex than they are about desire and the need to feel desired.  As a Marriage Counselor and Affair Recovery Specialist, I hear compelling stories about why boundaries were crossed and why indiscretions were made.

In Affair Recovery, there are three options discussed with the couples I work with as I guide them through the crisis phase.

Option 1: Status Quo – Do nothing more than what they have been doing.  Internalizing thoughts and feelings and continue to inappropriately act them out through bad behavior.  Never getting the professional help needed to acquire moving forward skills and manage emotions.

Option 2:  Move Forward – With a therapist who specializes in working with couples in affair recovery.  My couples receive a Moving Forward Plan developed specifically for them as every couple has their own set of unique circumstances where they can understand and gain insight into why the affair happened and what is needed to be able to make an informed decision about whether or not they can stay together.

Option 3:  Move On – Separation or Divorce.  I believe you cannot make an informed decision whether to stay together or leave the relationship without undergoing the Affair Recovery process.  Thereby making moving on premature where you may have regrets if you do so.  Divorce makes no room for repair, resilience, and recovery.

In rethinking infidelity, affairs can be a form of self-discovery, a journey for a new or lost identity and a silverling where couples can develop a newfound relationship filled with content and happiness.  Infidelity is likely to be a symptom of a problem.  Exploring the underlying issues can be an experience for the “cheater” to grow, explore, and transform.

Call me at (858) 735-1139 if you want to talk about rethinking and reframing infidelity.  As awful as an affair can be there can be something positive that comes from it.

 

 

 

 

What To Do After An Affair Is Discovered

What To Do After An Affair Is Discovered.  You’ve just discovered your husband or wife is having an affair. You’re flush with a range of emotions and are feeling very vulnerable. You’re overwhelmed because you think your relationship – and life as you know it – is over.

As a Marriage Counselor who specializes in Affair Recovery, I would urge you to slow down, breathe deeply, and not do anything impulsive.  Acknowledge your feelings but don’t act on them.  Try to exercise appropriate behavior as you begin the recovery process.

girl holding a shirt with the imprint of lipstick.

As a Couples Counselor I provide these helpful steps to help you deal with the discovery of an affair:

    1. Normalize your emotions – You will be on an emotional rollercoaster.  Don’t ignore your feelings, don’t be in denial about the seriousness of the situation, and don’t exacerbate the situation by telling everyone that your husband (wife) is a lying, cheating, adulterer. Keep it private.
    2. Give each other space – Don’t get into each other’s face and start judging and criticizing.  This will accomplish nothing and only produce more bad feelings.  Give yourselves the gift of time away from each other to talk to a Couples Counselor; Affair Recovery Specialist, someone who can get you communicating productively and moving forward.
    3. Don’t rush into discussing explicit details – Wait until you get into Marriage Counseling with a Marriage Counselor before airing out the dirty laundry.  A trained Marriage Counselor will guide you through this awkward and difficult process so that you can make emotionally intelligent decisions on the path for recovery.
    4. Tell only select and trusted people in your life –  Empathic support is vital to the healing process.  Don’t isolate yourself.  Good friends create and maintain the momentum needed to through this difficult time.
    5. Seek professional help with a Marriage Counselor – Find a Marriage Counselor who specializes in Infidelity and Affair Recovery.  They have the tools and the training you will need to survive and move forward.
    6. Your children see and hear more than you know.  Remember, your children are under your protection.  They suffer when you speak badly of the other parent, so don’t.
    7. Keep the faith – Your Marriage Counselor may be able to offer more choices than separation or divorce.

Dealing with infidelity can be excruciatingly painful. Focus on understanding where your best interests lie.  As you consider your options, don’t wallow in self-pity; be compassionate toward yourself.

Some partners can overcome an affair and make their relationship work as well, if not better, than ever before.

I specialize in Infidelity and Affair Recovery.  If you want more information about what to do when an affair is discovered, please call me at (858) 735-1139.