Jayson Gaddis examines some very unexpected causes of infidelity, and gives tips on how to prevent and heal from them.
Affairs are pretty common these days.
In my career as a relationship specialist, I’ve worked with a loads of affairs. I’m coming to understand a few things about affairs and infidelity. I figured I share them.
First, some personal experience on the matter…
I’ve never slept with another person while in a committed partnership. However, I have had lame boundaries and an emotional affair.
Years ago, when I “acted out” with whomever I was with, it was always because of something going on on my side. It was never her fault or because of her. Did she have a part? Sure, but blaming her got me nowhere. If I want to move past this type of behavior, which is out of integrity for me, then I need to look within.
For example, I had an emotional affair once, and it happened because a core wound of mine was being triggered—I was feeling unseen/unmet and was very hurt and angry about it. Of course, I was completely unconscious to this at the time. So, my affair was me unconsciously saying “fuck you” to my partner at that time.
Same with my “leaky” energy back then. I had porous boundaries with women for years. On the surface, I blamed my commitment issues. But under “commitment issues” was a deeper fear. But again, I had no connection to this at the time. I was very asleep. My “nice, gentleman” mask hid my shadow of fear, repressed sexual energy, hurt, and anger all directed toward the feminine (mom issues), underneath. I was both afraid to be engulfed by women and I was simultaneously afraid to be left by women. Confusing right? We all have our own version of these “relationship patterns.” They are simply a re-enactment of our childhood wounds that then play out in our adult relationships.
So, my own issues were the biggest contributor to my fuzzy boundaries.
And, in long-term, adult partnerships, many of us are very young developmentally. We don’t learn how to fight properly, our communication resembles a five year old, and we resort to what we did as kids or what our parents did with us. We stuff things, we hide, we blame, we posture, and ultimately we are not willing to be ourselves. All of these prime the pump for behaviors like affairs.
A few more key points to consider about affairs.
First, affairs are a product of fear.
Second, affairs happen when folks are not in the driver seat of their sexuality.
Third, affairs are often a helpful wake up call that cracks an already leaky foundation.
Fourth, it always takes two for an affair to happen. I’m not taking about the third party. I’m talking about in the primary relationship; both people contribute equally to an affair happening (hard pill to swallow for some).
Fifth, affairs are a symptom trying to help each party get to a deeper wound that needs healing.
Sixth, and perhaps the most interesting—when affairs happen, there is always (100% of the time in my experience) a lineage component. Meaning, people who have affairs, at least one party, and often both, come from a family where one or more of their parents had some kind of an affair or breach in their marriage boundary. Fascinating and true. Just goes to show how critical lineage work is if we want to get to the bottom of patterns. Many of our relational patterns are handed down generation after generation. And, until one person “wakes up” and gets that pattern to zero, it will keep being passed down, largely unconsciously.
And, getting the affair, and all of our hurt feelings about it, to zero is a fairly straightforward protocol with the right support team.
Believe it or not, we don’t need to stay hurt, angry, and feeling betrayed for years on end. It can be different. And yes, we can even learn to be genuinely grateful for the betrayal. But that takes a special kind of warrior to be grateful for an affair happening, no matter what side you are on.
Read more by Jayson on his blog.