Why do people have affairs? It’s not what you think.
I really like this video from The School of Life about why people have affairs. It breaks down the science of love and relationship, debunks the myths about why it happens and gives some straight forward advice that everyone can follow and consider.
Why do affairs happen?
It explains that we all have very individual needs for closeness and distance in our relationships. If there is over closeness or clinginess from one partner there is often a powerful urge in the other partner to distance and remain separate. The distancing partner leans out of the relationship because they feel their whole identity is dissolving into the couple. They feel like they are losing themselves.
Equally, as I have seen with many couples over the years, too much distance also undermines fidelity. If one person is too unavailable for the other person in the couple it lands as constant rejection, and often feelings of abandonment can arise. We all need our partners to be there when we really need them and a constant feeling that your partner is not around can result ultimately in you turning to someone who seems much more interested and available for you.
What can you do to avoid affairs?
The solution proposed here is to be able to have a really open and non-defensive discussion about your individual needs for closeness and distance, without just blaming the other person because they are different. It suggests using humour and taking responsibility for your own side in how things may go wrong in your communication about your needs.
If these types of discussions happen early and safely in a relationship I think the navigating of individual needs can be achieved. However, if bad patterns get laid down, and you feel really stuck, you may need some help from someone independent to sort out this out. Your individual needs and differences for closeness and distance with each other may need some deliberate reshaping so that your relationship can change and accommodate these better in the future.
I also strongly recommend the videos on this website The School of Life It is devoted to developing emotional intelligence. I hope this clip is helpful for you.
If you need help dealing with an affair, contact me on 0412533590.
I am a Melbourne relationship counsellor and psychotherapist. I love writing for couples and individuals looking for answers and guidance about relief from their emotional pain. I do this work because I firmly believe that everyone is capable of growth and change. With my professional toolkit, my support and many years of therapeutic experience, it is a privilege to help you achieve greater mental and emotional wellbeing. Take the first step and make contact with me for an initial consultation in my Caulfield Clinic.