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When is It An Affair?

Today’s guest post is by James E. Walton, Ph.D.

WHEN IS IT AN AFFAIR?

By James E. Walton, Ph.D.

For something to be called a sexual affair, it requires three conditions and all three must be present.

1. There’s more intimacy than in the primary relationship
2. There’s sex involved
3. It’s kept a secret

Men consider it an affair when sex is involved. An affair does not have to be physical for women to consider it cheating. It just has to be emotional.

The Internet has brought on a new issue for people who had no intention of cheating. They innocently cross the line as they divulge more and more of themselves to each other and find themselves involved in an emotional affair.

For an emotional affair, it requires all three conditions to be present:

1. Greater emotional intimacy than in the primary relationship,
2. Secrecy and deception from the spouse
3. Sexual chemistry

Emotional affairs can cause a good deal of marital strife. However, the affair that includes sexual intercourse typically does the most damage to the couple.

Affairs are an indication that there are problems in the dynamics of the marriage. And they bring with them an opportunity to rediscover the intimacy and closeness that was either lost or was never present in the primary relationship if the couple is willing to work through the violation.

How can you avoid all of this? Simply don’t have the affair. If you feel the temptation, get yourselves into couples counseling immediately. Open up to better communication skills and greater intimacy. The earlier you get yourself into counseling the better. Most people wait to enter into counseling until it’s too late. It’s much easier and more effective to deal with issues and have a great outcome when you enter into therapy at the very first sign of trouble.  It’s economical too.  After all, it’s a lot cheaper than a divorce.

Ultimately, affairs don’t cause divorces; poor communication and lack of intimacy within the couple do.

Dr. James E. Walton, Ph.D. is a licensed Marriage & Family Therapist with a private practice in Sherman Oaks. Log onto his website at LAtherapist.com or call 818-753-4865.