Extramarital Affairs



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Are affairs the root cause of divorce?

"In most cases it's the other way around. Problems in the marriage that send the couple on a trajectory to divorce also send one (or both) of them looking for intimate connection outside the marriage. Most marital therapists who write about extramarital affairs find that these trysts are usually not about sex but about seeking friendship, support, understanding, respect, attention, caring, and concern — the kind of things that marriage is supposed to offer....

"Only 20 to 27 percent of couples said an extramarital affair was even partially to blame."

— John M. Gottman, Ph.D.
The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work


Adultery is a sign of immaturity, lack of effort

"The easiest thing in the world to do is cheat. It doesn't take any imagination, it doesn't take any maturity. It doesn't take anything. It doesn't take any discipline."

— Dr. Joy Browne
Radio program, AM 800 CKLW, April 10, 2002


"Infidelity is an addiction"

"Infidelity is an addition to a lover. The highest priority of an unfaithful spouse is being with the lover.

"...marital recovery after an affair cannot begin until their is no further contact with the source of the addiction — the lover. As long as a lover is seen or spoken to by the unfaithful spouse, hope for marital recovery is almost zero. When a betrayed spouse asks what to do while the affair is still active ... express willingness to create a fulfilling marriage after the addiction has ended, then separate with as little contact as possible."

It's a mistake "...to let someone else meet [your spouse's] most important emotional needs. By making another woman his best friend, he was setting up ... to eventually trigger his feeling of love."

— Willard F. Harley, Jr., Ph.D.
Love Busters


Can a marriage survive infidelity?

"Marriages can certainly survive adultery, sometimes with new insights and deeper intimacy. Are you and your spouse willing to make the effort? Is there something worth fighting for — stability for your children, perhaps, or common interests or the possibility of mature companionship in the future? If so, fight hard. A marriage and family therapist can help...."

— Robert Epstein, Ph.D.
"Ask Dr. E: Answers to your questions about trust, assertiveness, marriage and more," Psychology Today, March/April 2002


How does a couple restore trust after an affair?

"After an affair, or an equally disturbing revelation, most of us don't want the truth.

"We ask for reassurances from the very person who was dishonest with us. We demand details that are often torturous. We may 'police' them, looking for signs of straightforwardness.

"They way back to trust is counterintuitive: The issue is whether we can trust ourselves to make wise decisions. We can ask, 'Can I, and do I, want to be with this person? Will I be honest about my thoughts and feelings? Will I take the risk to further this relationship, knowing I cannot control the other? What would I do if my partner chose to, once again, be dishonest with me?'"

— Mary Hotvedt, C.M.F.T., Ph.D., President,
American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy
"How can you learn to trust again?" Psychology Today, March/April 2002


► List of all Divorce Peers resources: Issues

Apologize and make amends
Care taking and rescuers
Divorce Statistics - Infidelity, Adultery, Cheating, Affairs, ...
Divorce Statistics - Sexually Transmitted Disease (STDs, AIDS)
Divorce Statistics - Why Did You Get Divorced?
The Waitress Test


► List of all Post-Divorce Relationships resources

Active Listening -- Tips
Apologize and make amends
Asking Questions
Camps for Kids
Care taking and rescuers
Child Health
Children and "Friendly Divorce"
Daters' Bill of Rights - Boundaries after Divorce
Divorce Risks: Children
Evaluating Child Care
Explaining Your Divorce to Your Children
Four Basic Elements of Successful After-Divorce Relationships
Listening Habits
Listening Problems
Marital Attachment - "Unhooking" after Divorce
Not Divorcing - for the Sake of the Children
Parenting Classes
Parenting Time Coordination via Internet-Based Scheduler
Personality tests: Jung-Myers-Briggs
Photo Albums On-Line
Reasons to Listen Better
Relationship tests
Step Couples - 10 Steps for Success in Remarriage after Divorce
Step families - 10 Steps for Successful Step-Grandparenting
Step families - 10 Steps for Successful Stepfamilies, Stepchild Parenting
Stepparents - So You Want to be a Stepmother?
The Waitress Test
Why Not Date During Divorce?
Why Wait to Date after divorce?


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