Extramarital emotional affair. Three words that might derail your marriage. Of all the classifications of affairs this one is the most dangerous. Read on to find out why.
What is an extramarital emotional affair?
Can you stop your husband or wife’s extramarital emotional affair?
Hello everyone, Orlando here again, taking another in-depth look at traumatic marriage wrecking topic. Today let’s dive into the dangers an extramarital emotional affair wreaks on your marriage.
Extramarital Emotional Affair: When your husband or wife develops an intense, romantic emotional connection with someone outside your marriage, but never it turns sexual.
Petrified married men everywhere suspicious of their wives reading this celebrate and scream, “Thank god. They’re not having sex,” while married women panic.
Sure this kind of affair does not involve sex (at least not at first), HOWEVER, an extramarital emotional affair (or even between boyfriend and girlfriend) devastate relationships worse than sexual affairs my friends. This post shares why.
You know what? I’ll jump to why emotional affairs are the most dangerous kind right now!
You don’t feel like you are cheating at first.
Then before you know it your new “friend” transforms into an addictive, instant-gratification, cure-all-sadness-and-depression pill that you can take at anytime with the help of today’s modern era of digital infidelity or “Facebook cheating”.
How do I know this?
Because I did it.
I’ll write a post on that and let you all know when it’s done. But today’s post refers to my “innocent” side of infidelity as the betrayed spouse.
The In-depth Dive into an Extramarital Emotional Affair
Today we will look at the following points which include digging deeper to reveal the underlying problems that cause these affairs to blossom.
Objectives for this Post
- Reasons why emotional infidelity is so dangerous to your relationship.
- the Signs of an Emotional Affair
- How an extramarital emotional affair starts
- Facebook cheating and digital technology’s role in cheating
- How poor marriage conflict resolution could lead to straying outside your marriage
- And finally some ways to stop an extramarital emotional affair and affair recovery techniques.
Bookmark this post if you have to finish later. I’ve crammed a fairly overwhelming glance at the topic so please feel free to bookmark this post to finish later.
As always I combine the experience from my own infidelity story that wreaked havoc on my marriage combined with research and a few unique twists sprinkled on top.
What are the Signs of an Emotional Affair?
Extramarital emotional affair or friendship? Which one explains your husband or wife’s relationship with the other person?
The workplace transforms from a place we dread to step foot into to an emotional refuge. People at work wants to help. Someone will lend a therapeutic ear and listen to your spouse’s sob story.
The friend goes from “therapist” to friend to an attraction. Eventually your spouse’s jabbering about her daily frustrations turns into sexual innuendos, flirting and even sexting. Of course our place of employment is only one of numerous other places emotional infidelity starts, however, office affairs lead the pack of physical encounters that lead to cheating (as opposed to digital meet ups like Facebook).
7 Signs this is NOT a Friendship
These emotional affair “red flag” indications come from both spouses- the one participating in the affair and the betrayed spouse.
- Pattern of sharing frustrations about your spouse to someone other than your spouse who you potentially find attractive (physically or in any way). One time sharing intimate details about your relationship runs the risk of temptation to do it again, but the second time starts the routine.
- The Other Person shows more empathy, sympathy and seems to understand your worries and frustrations better than your spouse. Let’s face it. The man that never deals with you and your wife’s daily obstacles will ALWAYS have more patience to listen and the unfair advantage.
- Contacting each other outside of work and discussing personal matters unrelated to your job. Conversation with someone you even remotely could become attracted to should not include your personal marriage matters. Once I started texting my eventual married girlfriend, things began to spiral out of control.
- You constantly think about the Other Person when apart. I remember the feeling during my involvement with a married person. This is the ultimate red flag you crossed the line and need to abandon ship immediately and seek help.
- The Other Person suggests or implies you deserve someone else other than your spouse. The next step is they become the “go-to” person to soothe your pain.
- Gift giving or receiving. I actively started to seek ideas for gifts I knew the office “friend” would like just to see her smile and appreciate me.
- The #1 Sign: Ask yourself this question, “If my husband or wife were here right now, would they feel uncomfortable about this conversation?” This essential becomes the ultimate test to determine if the relationship crossed the line from friendship to extramarital emotional affair.
Check out this article from WebMD that illustrates how the “work husband” turns into both an extramarital emotional affair and results in sexual encounters. I discovered a new angle I had not seen anywhere how Gail Saltz, MD, associate professor of psychiatry at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell School of Medicine explains that the ultimate result is emotionally painful either ending your marriage or letting the Other Person go.
So just how dangerous is emotional bonding between you and someone other than your spouse (or between your spouse and someone else)?
Dangers of Emotional Affairs
Let’s take a brief step away from affairs for one second and allow me to ask you an interesting question. How clearly would a drunk person think and make decisions?
Well, *Dr. Athena Staik suggests that an extramarital emotional affair is a sort of love addiction. She explains how addiction to a person, much like to a substance, releases neurochemicals which place the brain under a trance that provides a quick-fix temporary solution.
This soothing pleasure numbs the stress or guilt we experience in our marriage which further impedes our chances to unearth and resolve the underlying relationship issues. Of course this avoidance of marriage conflict resolution increases the chance of failure.
Many men believe that no sex means he’s not cheating instead he’s just engaged in an amusing game which satisfies something missing in their lives
I came across this interesting take from a fellow blogger on his opinion of a post he read regarding a * wife living in the UK who discovers her husband got involved in an extramarital emotional affair with a younger woman across the ocean in the US. The blogger points out his opinion of the difference between a men and women falling into an emotional affair and how men run a higher risk of leaving their wives for the other woman due to misunderstanding of the rules of love.
Many men believe that no sex means he’s not cheating instead he’s just engaged in an amusing game which satisfies something missing in their lives. Women who pick up on this male naive trait prey on the mislead man and proceed to manipulate him into obsessing over her until he becomes infatuated with the fantasy of participating in sexual contact with her.
Another Opinion of Extramarital Emotional Affairs from Someone Who lived One…
Check out DearPeggy.com. You’ll expose yourself to one of the best extramarital affair online resources I’ve come across. Peggy Vaughan co-authored the book, “Beyond Affairs” (free online copy) experienced affairs first hand as a betrayed spouse. Both she and her husband Dr. James Vaughan discussed how they dealt with the affairs on several television appearances.
In one of her articles on her site Peggy explains that the danger of extramarital emotional affairs is the damage to the trust between a couple. In fact, she survived polled visitors online and discovered that when asked what hurt the most from the affair 72% of women respondents claimed, “that their husband deceived them” compared to 28% claiming that their husband had sex with the other woman. And contrary to what you might believe 70% of the male respondents also mirrored the same response that the breaking of trust hurt more than the sexual affair (28% respondents).
Peggy further writes that emotional affairs do one of two things: they either end or escalate.
And my take on this through experience from both sides of an affair, as a participant and betrayed spouse, combined with my vast research from creating my website InfidelityFirstAidKit.com is that often times the emotional affair turns from platonic attraction into an all-out, “can’t get enough of the other person” affair including sexual relations and not limited to divorce, unless you end it early.
My Own Personal Trauma After Her Affair
I believe I have experienced some symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from my wife’s affair like loss of trust in others. I can’t tell you how many times I look at married women and wonder if they cheat on their husbands. I look at all my family members and friends who have someone. They seem happy.
Relationships are so important to me. I prioritize them over most of the other things in my life. It’s difficult to fight off feelings of helplessness and loss of hope that you will ever find someone again, especially since like most of you I have already entered middle age.
One of my best remedies is writing these posts for you. I recently finished a post on how blogging can help heal the emotional trauma of midlife divorce recovery. I often feel confused between wanting my ex back, but then come back to my senses when I remind myself how she cheated, then abandoned me. Inexplicably a tidal wave of emotions sweeps over me and abducts my senses induces me to want to cry. Sometimes I cry alone.
Inexplicably a tidal wave of emotions sweeps over me and abducts my senses induces me to want to cry. Sometimes I cry alone.
How did this all begin?
How Extramarital Emotional Affairs Begin
To identify how emotional affairs begin requires lifting up the hood and looking inside the engine to find what piece of your soul might have broken. As we all found out marriage often times easily shifts into dull, daily routines. Once we start to fear that this routine could turn permanent we dread the thought of committing the rest of our lives to boredom basically surviving life, not living it.
Who wants to live like a squirrel? No fun, just work, survive and get by?
No one of course, but unless we search to solve what bothers us we become vulnerable to someone other than our spouse fulfilling those needs. Most emotional affairs, or affairs in general, start innocently and fly under our radar. I mean no one really intends to hurt their spouse.
I came across this interesting article where the writer cites how a book he read, “Surfing for God” (man’s struggle with online porn addiction ) by Michael John Cusick identifies man’s 7 core desires for the human soul: attention, affection, affirmation, acceptance, satisfaction, significance and security.
Once we cross the line from friendship to romantic escape the curious temptation to find out just how far down the blissful and pleasurable rabbit hole goes with the female or male office worker intensifies
Sounds like a reasonable assessment of a man’s emotional needs. So when a co-worker provides the attention or affection that’s been missing at home for a while it doesn’t take much to cross the line. Once we cross the line from friendship to romantic escape the curious temptation to find out just how far down the blissful and pleasurable rabbit hole goes with the female or male office worker intensifies.
And quite naturally this gratifying experience impedes all reasoning to stop this seemingly harmless interaction in its tracks before it derails your relationship with your husband or wife. Before you realize it, BAM!- you engaged yourself in an extramarital emotional affair, an addiction to the feelings your new fling feeds you.
Key to Preventing Friendship Turning to Extramarital Emotional Affair
The key to stop the temptation to travel further down the tracks before derailing into an emotional affair is first identifying the problem that resolving your emotional pain outside your marriage will only create a new, additional problem and not fix the one at hand. Then to approach your husband or wife in order to address what bothers and to present ideas how to begin to resolve your differences.
And here’s where most of us, including myself during my first marriage, slam smack into a wall. We lack healthy family conflict resolution skills. Despite the fact I believe I married my first wife too quickly, if I had learned better conflict resolution skills I wouldn’t have feared the outcome with my ex-wife.
Her low self-esteem affected her fear of abandonment which propelled her into vicious outbursts in order to gain control of our disputes. Looking back she displayed an avoidance attachment style which intimidated me. I hated conflict. Now I see it’s just a healthy way to overcome differences.
Without knowing how to approach a potentially angry wife I chose to internalize my frustrations and hope that time would heal. It didn’t. I’ll get back to the topic of marriage conflict resolution skills in a moment. Let’s take a brief look at discussion that itches all our curiosities- Facebook’s role in cheating.
You have to check out this post about this man’s wife’s *Facebook extramarital emotional affair I ran into while surfing for material for this post at facebookcheating.com. So this poor heartbroken guy senses a change in his wife (weight loss, starts wearing make up again, dressing up but displaying emotional indifference to him). At the time he had no idea what Facebook was, but found it while investigating her online activity.
Digging deeper he captures her his Facebook cheating spouse engaged in reuniting an old high school romantic flame with someone she hadn’t even seen in 18 years! Get this. They saw each other at their 20th high school reunion anniversary. Yes, the quick math says that makes her around 56 years old. Facebook cheating and digital cheating does not age discriminate.
According to my divorce lawyer Facebook has facilitated record-breaking cheating which leads to divorce. So imagine the shock on this guy’s face when he uncovers her following search history of browsing lingerie sites, horoscopes (hers and someone’s who wasn’t his) and DIVORCE LAWS! The divorce laws is where I would lose it. He says she never even discussed any of these topics with him.
Now keep in mind the 700 miles divided the two Facebook cheating spouses entangled in this online extramarital emotional affair. So when he hypothesizes that their already existent problems and his work schedule leading him to work away from home Monday through Friday it points to some type of lack of emotional connection in the relationship on the wife’s part.
But again this conflict resolution avoidance highlights a major problem in igniting emotional affairs. Regardless of what the couple here discussed in fights she avoided revealing the details of the emotional black cloud that hovered over her.
Of course he catches her in the act of her online extramarital emotional affair, so by now it’s too late to prevent the relationship from starting which results in him not trusting her despite the fact that she ended things with the Other Guy.
This lack of emotional connection and implementing healthy marriage conflict resolution techniques heads the next section in this post. I strongly suspect learning strong interpersonal skills and conflict resolution skills can both stop extramarital emotional affairs or prevent them from starting.
So instead of fixing what’s broken under the hood it’s easier for some people to just start over.
Want the good news or the bad news first?
The good news?
Facebook cheaters leave trails of evidence and new modern tools place the Jason-Bourne-James-Bond skills in the palm of your hands to catch your cheating spouse like a spy.
Yes, that’s right! A guaranteed solution to stop extramarital emotional affairs (or ANY kind) right in their tracks!
So the bad news besides that this solution is quasi-illegal?
Your digital cheating husband or wife can cheat practically anywhere, anytime, even with you laying right next to them in bed while watching TV or while driving your kids to soccer practice! Yes, your lovely princess has the “ballz” to do just that. Read about it in my ebook “Top Cheating Spouse Report“.
“So how did Facebook make cheating easier?”
Facebook didn’t change cheating. It just made it easier and more convenient.
And not just for Facebook, any form of digital cheating. If you haven’t already read my infidelity story check out how my cheating ex-wife had the audacity to text her lover while my 2-year-old niece slept on her shoulder in the middle of my sister’s living room surrounded by my extended family.
Now that’s BALLZ!
Playing off the notion that cheaters love reignite old flames, I ran across this super interesting article that suggests a large number of Facebook cheaters secretly maintain contact with ex-partners in order to reunite just in case their current relationship fails. Creepy, right? A real-life Plan B to sneakily engage in a top secret extramarital emotional affair. Hey, just like the guy’s story above in the previous section of this post.
When your wife feels down in the dumps, frustrated or bored from her mundane daily life she whips out her phone and casts out a call for help. She hopes for an emotional boost that her “friend” gladly, quickly and conveniently provides. “Sorry to hear that. You deserve happiness. Life is to live, not survive.”
This instant gratification remedy becomes addictive and that is what makes an extramarital emotional affair more dangerous than just a sexual affair.
Seems harmless to her. He’s just a friend. But soon after she sees this “friend” as the go-to savior. This instant gratification remedy becomes addictive and that is what makes an extramarital emotional affair more dangerous than just a sexual affair. Asking your wife to stop the emotional affair with her boyfriend to her means asking her to stop taking the medicine that guarantees an instant-feel-good cure every time.
Not an easy “pill to swallow”.
I was there my friends. I felt it when I cheated on my first wife. When I needed an quick escape from reality I simply sent a text to my “friend”. She cheered me up. She injected new life into me.
Why would I say “no” to that? It looked harmless- at least at first.
Digital infidelity helps to fuel the intense emotional connection between your cheating husband or wife and their lover.
But still I desired to understand why would you seek some else to lift you up instead of confront your spouse with the problem that bothers you in order to find a solution?
Do Poor Marital Conflict Resolution Skills Lead to Extramarital Emotional Affairs?
One of the most prominent marriage researchers in the U.S. Dr. John Gottman discusses how after he observed thousands of couples he concluded that the key to healthy relationships is earning trust.
Lack of mutual trust in a relationship increases the likelihood of betrayal. We tend to betray others in order to save ourselves. Trust opens the door to couples successfully implementing healthy marriage conflict resolution strategies on their own.
The idea that our husband or wife would sabotage our belief of our how healthy marriages should work flat out scares us. Building trust eliminates that fear.
If we trust that our partner will always do the right thing then we can live in peace. An extramarital emotional affair serves as a sign that the relationships lacked trust.
The fear that our partner might betray us leads us to ask ourselves questions like:
- Can I trust that you will listen to me when I am upset?
- Can I trust that you will prioritize me over your mother, family and friends when I need you?
- Can I trust you to help with the household chores?
- Can I trust that you will not become addicted to drugs or alcohol?
- Can I trust that you will not betray me by cheating on me or lying to me?
- Can I trust that you will work to achieve both our mutual and individual goals?
- Will you spend time with our children and set a good example for them to follow?
How Do Couples Build Trust?
Dr. John Gottman suggests a surprising way in which to build trust that you wouldn’t believe.
During small interactions.
Couples build mutual trust in numerous small opportunistic interactions over time. During these small windows of opportunity you choose to connect or turn away from your spouse.
When these trust building moments happen what will you do?
What do they look like?
He shares one of his own personal moments while reading an exciting mystery novel. Ever read a book that you just can’t put down? One of those kind.
As he read page after page enthralled in the plot he decided to take a brief break. He placed the book down and walked into the bathroom. That’s when he noticed his sad-looking wife brushing her hair.
The Moment of Truth
So he thought to himself: “Should I ask her what is wrong or sneak out and go back to my book?”
He chose to ask what bothered her and by doing so he connected with her and made her feel cared for.
Dr. Gottman believes that over time taking advantage of moments like these where you could sacrifice your own interests in exchange for providing a boost to your partner will promote long-term goodwill.
Your spouse will gain the confidence he or she needs to believe that you have their best interests in mind thus confirming that you make a good fit as husband or wife for them.
Formula for Building Trust
For many of us building trust with our partner is difficult. Building trust creates an ideal environment for healthy marriage conflict resolution. Instead of working harder against each other to overcome differences, you could work side-by-side in order to find a solution.
How helpful would you find a trust building guide?
One of Dr. Gottman’s graduate students invented a guide to building trust based on the acronym attunement. His student Dan Yoshimoto sees attunement (to bring into harmony) as the key driver to cultivate a strong bond of trust between a couple.
The mindset the two people in a relationship should seek is to understand and care for each other’s needs. The first step is to identify when their partner struggles (like when Dr. Gottman noticed his wife experienced sadness while brushing her hair), next attempt to understand their feelings from their viewpoint and then respond with words that confirm you understand what your partner is feeling.
Here is Dan Yoshimoto’s ATTUNE acronym from Dr. Gottman’s on trust building marriage conflict resolution strategies:
Awareness of your partner’s emotion
Turning toward the emotion
Tolerance of two different viewpoints
trying to Understand your partner
Non-defensive responses to your partner
and responding with Empathy
Building trust boils down to empathy. Empathy is the ability to understand and show your partner that you make an effort to interpret how they feel from their viewpoint. In fact lack of empathy is a dangerous character flaw that can lead to the destruction of marriages, especially if your partner blames relationship problems on outside elements and never accepts responsibility.
Poor marriage conflict resolution skills with my ex led me to compose my blog’s most popular post regarding 9 traits of a serial cheater. I thought about my ex’s character flaws as I wrote the piece.
A serial cheater sits on the opposite end of the healthy conflict resolution skills spectrum. They fail to take responsibility of their own thoughts and actions that lead to their unhappiness. Instead they blame their partner for causing them to feel unhappy.
So they out to exchange you for something better and thus jump from partner to partner hoping the next one will be the person who makes them feel good.
But marital conflict could actually be a good thing.
Let me explain.
Why Marital Conflict is Inevitable, but MUST Happen to Grow
The existence of conflict means that you care about each other enough to fight to keep the marriage. Let’s face it, no two people share the same exact beliefs, values and goals.
Couples will ALWAYS engage in marital conflict, negotiating and renegotiating their stance on these beliefs, values and goals. UNLESS one of them just gives in and accepts whatever the their partner demands according to a Dr. Mary Ogechi Esere’s paper on Resolving Conflicts in Marriages.
HOWEVER, if we as couples do not learn to join forces and learn how to respond to this conflict through effective marriage emotional conflict strategies then we will not successfully reduce or repair the damage that ongoing conflict produces.
I strongly believe that poor marital conflict resolution leaves your relationship vulnerable to suffer from an extramarital emotional affair.
But why do we fight?
How can we nip these fights in the butt before they spin out of control?
Let’s take a look.
4 Reasons We Fight…and how to resolve them!
FIRST STEP to Resolve Marital Fights: Dr. Ogechi Esere insists that in order to resolve marital conflict in a healthy way we must first understand what causes us to fight to begin with so we can identify the real problems.
In her paper she highlights 5 main causes of marriage conflict.
- Individual Differences. When two people with different personalities, two different sets of values and needs interact in a relationship it creates the possibility for conflict. While these elements do not guarantee conflict research shows that the bigger the gap in difference between two people the more challenging to coexist as a couple.
- Emotional Closeness. Two people in a close relationship will experience both positive and negative feelings. Feelings between spouses are more intense than between two friends because of the closeness of the relationship and due to their involvement with each other on every aspect of their lives.
- Expectations and Norms. We all carry an inherited set of beliefs regarding marriage roles. Often times our expectations of how a husband or wife should act or the role they should play conflict with our spouse’s expectations. Even in my own experience I believe my ex Japanese wife’s idea of the husband’s role and my viewpoint of the responsibilities of a wife hit an impasse. This resulted in emotional anguish and confusion for both of us and helped lead her into an extramarital emotional affair.
- Irrational Thinking. You’ve heard the expression, “You are your own worst enemy.” We often sabotage our own efforts in marriage to get along with one another due to our self-defeating thoughts. Two self-defeating ways of thinking take the following forms.
- Absolute Statements.
- “If my husband doesn’t help clean the kitchen then it means he doesn’t love me.”
- “My husband should not want to hang out with his buddies, instead he should want to cuddle with me on the couch and watch movies.”
- All-or-Nothing Statements.
- “Either she loves me unconditionally or she doesn’t really love me.”
- “I shouldn’t have to ask him to tell me he loves me. He should say it.”
- Absolute Statements.
Everyone has their own way of expressing love. Telling someone how to act or how they should feel sets up a recipe for discontent and mistrust. Differences left unresolved for a long period of time sow the seeds of betrayal. And as I found out could lead one spouse to stray away from the relationship and trap themselves in an extramarital emotional affair with someone that seems perfect and understands their needs completely.
When you experience strife and conflict in your relationship a man or woman outside the marriage who appears to listen and care about your problems seems to make the better fit for you. The temptation to view them as the savior becomes hard to resist.
Successful Marital Conflict Resolution Technique
How to Stop the Fight and Live Happily Together
Let’ first take a look at what how most marriages manage their conflicts that end in extramarital emotional affairs.
We never shouted at each other, but you could sense it. She was scared. She was lost. Her dealt with emotional internal strife and interpersonal conflict with others the only way she knew how. Avoid it.
When she no longer wished to deal with her bosses tip policy she first wrote a letter. The outcome didn’t satisfy her so she quit. JUST STOPPED SHOWING UP. When the managers at her next job started to push back to allow her yet another set of days of for her numerous trips to NY she told me they stopped giving her shifts.
I found out later she simply stopped giving them her availability.
Whenever I attempted to ask her what bothered her she remained silent.
In all facets of her life my ex cheating wife implemented the same conflict resolution tactic- run away from problems.
It’s no surprise she played the same run-away card when it came to our marriage.
Maybe this conflict resolution technique came down to her upbringing in a culture that didn’t support expressing your emotions as a form of dealing with your problems.
Maybe she never felt supported by her parents and felt a need to hide.
Whatever the cause for her run-and-hide approach to interpersonal conflict resolution, or lack of an approach, she employed the technique in every facet of her life.
It serves as no surprise to me that she decided to abandon all attempts to work through the issues with me to find a win-win solution (one where both sides receive something they want).
Instead she confided in someone else to make her feel better.
I believe that ALL cheating spouses end up choosing conflict avoidance to deal with their marital problems.
Conflict resolution strategy is a mindset for dealing with all interpersonal conflict in your life. It is not a one time event.
Let’s think about why your spouse would decide to avoid to interact with you to arrive at a mutually accepting solution.
Simple. They predict they will not get what they want. They do not trust the outcome will provide favorable results.
Causes for People to Avoid Conflict and Just Run from their Problems
If you know what causes someone to run from conflict it could help you to find a way to make them feel more comfortable to talk with you. Let’s take a peek at some of the reasons avoid talking out their problems.
- Do not know effective conflict resolution techniques exist.
- Fear of making the other person more upset. Fear of their aggression.
- Uneasy to feel the discomfort of arguing.
- Tired of arguing.
- Afraid there is no resolution.
- Believe time will heal the problem on its own.
When someone chooses to avoid conflict they either do not trust themselves or the other person to be able to find a favorable solution.
Dr. Ogechi Esere suggests to adopt a form of conflict resolution that attempts to arrive at a Win-Win Solution.
Both people get what they want.
Think about it. If you and your spouse have a pattern of finding what you both want you will always enter arguments believing you will both end up happy.
As a result you will NOT avoid resolving your differences instead you will embrace the opportunity to resolve them.
This mindset should help protect your marriage against extramarital emotional affairs.
Win-Win Conflict Resolution Techniques
While avoiding problems will not make them go away neither will constantly fighting. Win-win outcomes occur when couples engage in constructive approaches in which both partners seek ways to end up happy with the results.
Objectives of Mutually Acceptable Outcomes
Each party should set out employ cooperative bargaining methods in which to achieve the following objectives. Here are some examples:
- Understanding their partner’s wants and fears
- Be prepared to have an open mind
- Not act greedy and look to gain so much that it causes pain to their partner
- Understand their partner’s unique viewpoint
- Learn to understand their partner has different beliefs and values
- Realize each person comes from a different background
If couples do not learn to work through their problems and differences on a regular basis I don’t see how even with professional outside help their marriage will succeed. Couples marriage counselors can provide guidance how to work resolve conflict- they can’t do it for you!
One such technique is through behavior contracting according to Dr. Ogechi Esere points out a mutual bargaining technique can set up acceptable and non-acceptable behavior to allow a couple to maintain boundaries.
She refers to this technique as behavior contracting.
You agreed to unity when you married. This technique calls for the couple to outline and commit to a set of guidelines. She claims in her marriage conflict resolution strategy paper that the purpose of behavior contracts aims to increase desirable outcomes while decreasing or eliminating the number of occurrences of undesirable outcomes in marriages.
She suggests that many counselors recommend this approach which promotes the practice of couples negotiating with each other. This technique consists of 5 steps.
5 Steps of Behavior Contracting
- Identify the couple’s needs and wants
- Prioritizing self-awareness
- Practices to empathize with each other
- Setting costs to provide gains to others
- Bargaining and compromising
Once couples learn to effectively apply this technique of conflict resolution then they will work past whatever pushes them apart to bring them closer again by supplying each other’s needs.
Weavers and Uberman (1975) outline the 4 guidelines to make this work.
The 4 Guidelines to Behavior Contracting
- Create an open and honest contract free of one-sided manipulation where one pushes the other against their will to get only what the pushy partner wants.
- Write simple and explicit terms in clearly understood language.
- Create an advantage for both sides.
- Ask for reasonable behaviors that the other person could actually follow through on. Do not ask for the impossible.
And here are the steps to write out the contract.
The 4 Steps to Write the Behavior Contract
- Identify the problem. If the couple does not identify a problem then they cannot start to resolve their differences.
- Describe the problem in details. In order to pinpoint the exact problem the couple must describe the issue with as many details as possible. If they fight about finances then what specifically starts the fight? Is it one spouse wasting the money? Or is it they do not have enough money saved in an emergency fund? Lack of a expense tracking system?
- Choose reward or punishment as contingency. Which system will motivate both to follow through on their actions to fulfill the contract terms: reward or punishment?
- Create terms of contract. Outline specific and clear terms. Here’s what to include in the behavior contract.
- Date agreement ends or when to discuss renegotiating the terms.
- The identified problem to change
- The specific reward or punishment for breaking or following through on the terms
- Schedule dates for reviewing the outcome or effectiveness of the contract terms
- Who rewards or punishes
- Signatures of both.
Observe and collect data from the results and display them on a graph. Troubleshoot for lack of behavioral improvement. Monitor progress and rewrite terms as needed. Continue to adjust contract until you reach your objective.
Behavior contracts serve as an extremely effective marriage conflict resolution strategy because it clearly states what the couple wishes to fix in their relationship and eliminates the possibility of confusion.
How Others (including myself) Learned to Stop their Spouse’s Extramarital Emotional Affair
…or Why they Decided to Move on Without Them
Only the strong survive an affair. Time alone will not heal you. My best friend’s dad became the victim of an affair and still struggles from the pain. He has not moved on. His wife is gone forever.
I believe that is his choice. Fight or let yourself believe marriage is not meant for you.
I choose a different path.
Do you ask yourself these questions?
- Will the affair end?
- What is wrong with me?
- What did I do to make him/her cheat?
- Does the Other Person make her happy? They must be better than me.
- What does the Other Person have that I do not?
- What do I plan to do next?
- How will I stop your husband’s or wife’s extramarital emotional affair?
- How will I decide to stay in the marriage or leave it?
Predict the Future of the Affair…the Ebook that Advised Me How to Handle His/Her Extramarital Emotional Affair
Right after I discovered my wife’s first affair I decided I wanted to take control of my life. Her decision to cheat pushed me to the edge of a cliff that could have sent me spiraling down. I felt out of control. For a moment.
Feel out of control when you discovered her affair?
I searched for answers. I needed empowerment. I needed the truth. I didn’t know what to think or feel. I felt so alone. I didn’t know whether to fight for the marriage or to move on.
Luckily I found an experienced online marriage therapist’s ebook that helped me decide what to do next.
I needed guidance from someone on the outside. My family and friend’s advice did not help solve anything. I wanted to stop the confusion, emotional pain and fear of what would happen next.
I wanted proven-to-work advice and this affair recovery ebook seemed to help thousands of others.
I read it cover-to-cover and I gained these benefits from it.
Benefits I Received from this Affair Recovery Ebook
- No longer felt like it was my fault. Started to believe it was HER choice to cheat.
- Learned how to communicate assertively without looking and feeling weak.
- Gained a better understanding of why she cheated.
- Stayed patient without falling apart emotionally while deciding what to do next.
- ULTIMATELY DETERMINED if it made sense to stay in the marriage or leave based on the type of affair she committed and the ebooks unique “Will Your Spouse’s Affair End Rating Scale”.
7 Types of Affairs
How would you feel if you knew that your husband or wife’s extramarital emotional affair with their lover happened because of his or her own deep internal issues? That it was not your fault they chose to cheat?
Dr. Huizenga showed me how affairs happen for different reasons and that if I was going to make a choice whether to stay or go then I needed to know what type of affair she committed.
- “My Marriage Made Me Do It.”
- “I Can’t Say No”
- “I Don’t Want to Say NO”
- “I Fell Out of Love (and just love being in love)”
- “I Want to Get Back at Him/Her”
- “I Need to Prove My Desirability”
- “I Want to Be Close to Someone (which means I can’t stand intimacy)”
Knowing which affair she committed would prevent me from making one of the 12 Unattractive, Ugly, Typical Tactics Most People Use to Prolong the Affair and Guarantee Their Own Misery (page 76).