“Imagine the reality of dealing with an affair, a broken marriage, legalities if divorce is a reality, and then AIDS on top of all of that.”
I was asked to write a short article for readers pertaining to the warning signs in a marriage that can lead to an affair. Although I specialize in Infidelity and relational issues, I am always saddened to hear of behaviors that clearly show that a marriage is in trouble, potentially heading toward an affair. Early intervention with the right therapist is important. If these behaviors continue, it is only a matter of time for something significant to happen within the marriage that seals the deal, usually ending in the couple or an individual coming to therapy in crisis.
I have heard many stories about the factors that took place, ending in an affair. I am not condoning checking in on your partner constantly, nor am I writing to stir up trust issues in your relationship. However, if you are reading this because the title of the Blog caught your attention, you need to pay attention to your feelings, and evaluate why you are interested in this submission.
Why be so concerned? My top concerns for couples who are in danger of an affair is the emotional impact it has on the couple, especially if there are children involved. However, my greatest initial concern is the physical danger it places them in. Sexually transmitted diseases, especially AIDS, are not a joking matter, especially for parents. Imagine the reality of dealing with an affair, a broken marriage, legalities if divorce is a reality, and then AIDS on top of all of that.
If you have suspicions about changes in your partner’s behavior, or if any of these issues are taking place within your marriage, you may want to consider coming into therapy before the situation gets out of control. If your suspicions are very strong I would also seriously consider using protection when having sex to protect your health. Please keep in mind that most will deny that an affair is taking place, even in therapy, even if the affair is in full swing. Some get caught and actually try to make their partner feel bad about it and/or continue to deny that they were having an affair.
∙Lack of communication and disconnection within the relationship. Not a good sign. Humans are hard-wired to connect with one another and this is extremely important in a marriage and long term relationship. Without regular healthy communication and connection, it there is a shallow root system, and the relationship will feel hollow or empty. It is very unlikely for this type of relationship to sustain without something happening to stir it up.
∙Gut feeling that something is wrong. Follow your instincts and pay attention.
∙Secretive phone calls or texting. If your partner steps out of the room or stays in the car when they get home to take a call or text, don’t always assume that it is about business. This is a huge warning sign.
∙Your partner goes out for drinks after work with co-workers but does not want you there. Part of therapy for couples who come to see me is “Preventing an affair from happening.” IMPORTANT: If your partner is placing themselves in compromising situations that are not good for your relationship you have something to worry about. If your concerns are discredited and your partner twists the situation around, telling you that you are jealous or controlling, this is not healthy behavior on your partner’s part, and it is emotionally abusive. Your concerns are valid and their behavior is very risky.
∙If your partner is going out and does not invite you to join the fun, is coming home late from work regularly, or is leaving early for work, these are all warning signs that your relationship needs serious attention.
∙Business trips are taken and you are not allowed to come. Invite yourself. If you have children get them a sitter, or arrange for them to come along. If the kids can’t come (which may be understandable) suggest that they are cared for by a trusted sitter or grandparent so you can have quality time with your partner. If you are turned down and it doesn’t make sense, this is not a good sign.
∙Your partner suddenly starts taking better care of their appearance
∙You are not allowed at their work place or social settings
∙You are uninvolved and/or not allowed to see credit card statements, phone bills, etc.
∙Your partner is drinking heavily, or using substances
∙Requests ‘me’ time and/or you feel excluded from their life
∙Pornography is an issue in the marriage
∙Secretive behaviors are part of your relationship
∙You are rarely having sex with your partner
∙Sadly a pregnancy or serious illness does not protect a couple from Infidelity
As I mentioned, this is a short Blog submission for me. Mentioned above are many of the major factors that I determine will bring couples into therapy, which is a good thing if an affair has not taken place. It is extremely painful and much more work for the couple and individuals to overcome these circumstances once an affair has happened. In my line of work, everyone gets caught and how it happens ranges from parfum on the passenger seatbelt to the standard txt that was found.
An affair is often times a cry for help, but it is a twisted, damaging and unhealthy way to get it, especially when children are involved. If your partner is set on having an affair, you may not be able to prevent it, but seeing the signs at least gives you a heads up so you may take action and protect yourself, your family, and know that you gave your relationship your best. If your spouse has had an affair, it is important that you are fully tested fully for Sexually Transmitted Diseases and that you have a viable support system in place. Please contact me if you have any questions about this article or need help in your relationship.
Many Blessings and thank you so much for your time!
Kristy Cepielik is a Marriage & Family Intern Therapist, MFTI #83917. Supervisor Aleta Klein (LMFT). Kristy is the owner of Edyn Family Therapy in Sierra Madre, California. For more information, visit www.myedyn.com – firstname.lastname@example.org – 626.993.5881