Apr 162014

Why is someone unfaithful? When people speak of infidelity, we usually look at the affects and aftermath of the deed. We assume that all infidelity is created equally. Men are pigs. Women are whores. Men have needs. Women are frigid. Men are overworked. Women need sex, too! All of these have been bandied about like one-size fits all explanations. However, all of these things are just societal labels that aren’t actual etiologies but just pigeon-holes. Now, to be clear, what we will be outlining here are not excuses for behaviors but starting points from which to start the healing.

cheating wesnedsay 300x200 Why Men And Women Cheat

Attachment Theory: This theory proposes that people create an understanding regarding relationships and attachments from their family of origin. If, when we are babies, we fail to attach to our care-givers because they are not present or ill or they do not feel comfortable with attachment, then we develop these cognitive and behavioral patterns where we fail to attach or attach in an unhealthy manner when we get older. People who develop insecure attachment styles, either anxious about attachment (clingy) or they avoid attachment (loner), they tend to have a hard time being faithful. Commitment is not a concept that makes sense to an individual who has very little permanence in their lives. Maybe Daddy or Mommy left them? Maybe they were cold and indifferent? Whatever the origin of their issues, this is something that can be addressed in therapy. Also, it has been found that individuals with attachment issues have a higher propensity for infidelity.

Depression: Sometimes people want to feel better about themselves. However, when an individual is depressed, they tend to make poor decisions with little thought as to the consequences. Infidelity is like a quick fix. It is like a drug. For a brief amount of time, the person feels good. They feel wanted and sexy. Of course, like all drugs, after the high is gone, the depression worsens. This creates that sick cycle of looking for the high again. Like we mentioned on Monday, that first high becomes this unreachable goal. The more they try to recreate it, the worse they feel about themselves which makes them want to feel that high even more.

Research has shown that infidelity is trivialized by those who commit it. This behavior is considered bad by society. People who commit adultery are not sociopaths and tend to feel guilty and are saddened by their behavior. It affects their self-concept. So, that cavalier attitude towards this behavior is really cognitive dissonance in full force.

What to do? Get help. Sex feels good now but the effects of infidelity are long lasting and more painful than being lonely or depressed.

Apr 152014

We can’t lie- we love Facebook. We have made friends, reconnected with old friends and kept in touch with loved ones from all over. Facebook has allowed people to heal old wounds, create a lot of new ones and create a community of support that rivals Hands Across America. Where else can you get 100 prayers in less than a minute? At the same time, we have all experienced trolls and flamers who have tried to make our lives miserable. And yet, many other people have taken these virtual relationships to another level.

sm tuesday 300x225 Cheating, Facebook And The Virtual Relationship

More than 20% of divorces are being blamed on Facebook. Of course, Facebook is not at fault here but it has become an avenue to find that long lost boyfriend from high school that you didn’t quite get over. Instant messages are allowing men and women to communicate all day and night without much chance of getting caught. A simple password or secret Facebook account is all you need to make sure that your significant other is unaware that you are conducting an emotional affair with someone your partner probably has never met.

On-line relationships seem to be the norm and the science behind this is compelling. Daniel Goleman, the same man who gave us Emotional Intelligence, coined the term “Cyber-disinhibition” which is the loss of our natural neural checks and balances when we communicate with others. Normal, face-to-face communication involved much more than words. We are constantly monitoring our tone, editing our words and also watching for cues from the person with which we are communicating. If we say something that has the person with which we are communicating wince or smile, we note this and accommodate this information into our continued communication. A smile allows us to continue. A frown tells us they do not like what we are saying so we stop or even apologize. On-line communication does not have these checks and balances, so we tend to disclose faster, we tend to react faster and meaner, we tend to become vulnerable quicker and thus we develop feelings quicker than in real life.

Of course, the up-side to this is that we can develop very real friendships and relationships that are based on honest communication. What do you have to lose in a virtual relationship? The down-side to adulterous relationships created on Facebook is that they are based on fantasy. In many cases, the person who reaches out to someone and creates an emotionally unfaithful relationship is looking for an outlet; a refuge from their current relationship. Instead of working on their marriage, they spend their time and invest their emotions on a fantasy. It is an outlet for their fears concerning their own relationship. With this fantasy, they can feel loved and cared for without needing to deal with the issues in the real world. This fantasy also allows the person to delude themselves into thinking that this new relationship is so much better than the old one.

We would never meddle in someone’s love life and if you have found ‘the one’, God bless you! However, before you emotionally leave your IRL (in real life) relationship for your Virtual Lover, make sure that you actually leave your IRL relationship. Starting one without leaving the other puts too much pressure on your new one. Fantasies are wonderful. However, they do not always stand the pressure of reality. Invest your energy with the one who is standing in front of you. If it is irreparable then end it in a healthy manner. Then go ahead, reconnect with your high school sweetheart. Who knows what could happen?

Mar 272014

This week we are jumping back into the dysfunctional relationship pool and discussing the common ‘relationship crimes’ people commit to destroy and undermine their relationships. Today’s Relationship Felony is very common and usually has its roots in your family of origin. Lots of kids are being raised by parents who do this and regard this behavior as normal. Statistically, they would be right. Lots of people go around life like victims and this way of thinking is seen in everything from the music we hear to the movies we watch. Heck, even politicians ‘apologize’ by crying about being victimized.

Chalk Outline 300x200 The Victimization Felony

The Relationship Penal Code considers victimhood a Class 1 Felony with special circumstances. The special circumstances come from the fact that both of you are probably behaving in this manner and also committing one or both of the other felonies we have discussed this week. Victimhood is the result of deciding that the world is against you. It is a deeply held belief that you are not responsible for your circumstances. It is a belief that you feed by seeing situations as unfair. Yes, there are situations in life that happen where we have little to no control over them. However, as in everything, how you choose to deal with these situations is where you make the choice to feel put upon by the universe or choose to make the best of a shitty situation.

I have worked with all sorts of individuals that have experienced abuses as children and adults. Childhood sexual abuse, domestic violence, neglect and physical and mental abuses are horrible experiences and yet you still choose how to deal with these circumstances. When we bring this mentality into a relationship, we allow the slights to become scars. The feeling of helplessness and powerlessness allows us to endure being ignored or even, on the contrary, allows us to be abusive as well.

If the Relationship Penal Code teaches you anything, you should learn that the underlying cause for all of these crimes is being irresponsible and not keeping your partner and the relationship as a priority. When you forget about being responsible and blame your spouse for every irritation, annoyance, inequity, unpleasantness, delay, dropped soufflé and wedgie the relationship is doomed to interact in the Victim Triangle (and we all know how that goes).

Relationships are easy. We make them difficult when we forget that we love our partners.