3 posts categorized "Dating" Feed

The Subtle Stages of an Affair

Unfortunately, in my line of work I see a lot of people who have affairs.  I see people on all parts of parts of the spectrum as they move toward an affair.
Many people think they can engage in activity that moves them toward an affair and not be effected. This is nearly impossible.

 

The following list is adopted from a list that my pastor shared in a talk he gave this weekend.  I've added a few of my own thoughts. They are found in blue.

The Subtle Stages of An Affair:
1. Feeling like you’re under-appreciated and overlooked
    --->A person here will tend to start to complain loudly about their spouse. image from c2.staticflickr.com
2. Sensing a dissatisfaction or an emotional vulnerability
    --->The complaining intensifies and their becomes no way for the other person to do much right.
3. Loss of verbal communication and sexual connection 
    --->A quiet peace will often descend over the couple at this point as they disengage from each other. The absence of conlict becomes the goal, rather than goal of a healthy relationship.
4. Fantasizing about relational or romantic encounters with others
    --->The person begins to lie to themselves about how much happier they'll be and why they "deserve" what they are seeking.
5. Overly friendly (flirtatious) behavior around opposite sex
    --->Say hello to dopamine and other brain "happy" drugs.
6. Seeking out attention and affirmation from the opposite sex
    --->Say hello to dopamine and other brain "happy" drugs.
7. Sharing with them disappointment with your current marriage
    --->Blatant gossip and complaining commences. This often comes with an added feeling of having found a "confidant." The "happy" drugs in the brain begin to flow like a fire hydrant on a hot summer day that has been opened for kids to play in.
8. Getting specific with them about unmet needs and nagging frustrations.
9. Feeling like they listen to and relate to you…they understand and care
    --->At this point the spouse is "competing" with someone they don't even know exists in a game they can't possibly win. The object of the affair lust doesn't have to deal with real life. The relationship feels real, but it is not.
10. Going out of your way to have more contact with them
    --->Chasing what feels good, the person racing down the affair path begins to think about what they'll wear to work, can they go left when normally they would go right so that they can see the person who triggers their happy drugs? They are fully in the infatuation stage of the destruction. They rarely stop to think about what real life would be like, and when they do, they only see fantasy life. They discount anything the other person does that they dislike, while simultaneously magnifying the thing their spouse does that they dislike.
11. Letting them know that they make you feel special and valued.
    --->Initial blatant overtures about romantic activity are beginning to occur.
12. (Waiting to see if they reciprocate emotional attraction)
    --->The fake dance continues.
13. If they do, making a bold move either physically or verbally.
    --->The fake dance culminates quickly moving toward climax.
14. Playfully talking about what you wish could happen with them
    --->Justification for moving beyond the "next" line begins to be verbalized.
15. Setting up times to get together outside normal rhythms of life
    --->"She's just helping me be a better husband." "He's just helping me to better understand my husband." Lies begin to be told inward and outwardly.
16. The romance moves from emotional to verbal to physical to sexual.
    --->People here talk about how they would have never had sex or done whatever the next step would have been while ignoring that they have already done things that they said they would never have done. The most powerful lies are the ones we tell ourselves.
17. The physical act of sex occurs and the last of a thousand lines is crossed.
 
Few people are actually chasing an affair at first, they are often chasing other things that lead to the affair. But few people, if they are honest with the themselves, will deny that they knew where it was heading when they jumped on the path.
If you saw yourself in any of these steps, I can't encourage you enough to seek counseling.
Affairs are terrible storms that leave dark and deep swaths of destruction in their wake.
Counseling can help.
 

It's not what happens, it's how we attach meaning that matters

I was talking to a seasoned couple the other day. They were relaying a story that had happened to them in their everyday life. 

Argument-238529_1280
They were laughing about it.

I asked them if they understood how many couples would have been fighting over the very same thing that they were laughing about.

The husband looked at me very seriously and said, "Yes, I know. My brother and his wife got divorced largely over issues that my wife and I laugh about."

One of the most important things that we can consider is the fact that often what happens is less important than the meaning that we attach to that event.

This is most easily seen with couples when someone does something that they believe will be important to their partner and yet the partner does not view it that way.

The event happens but both partners view it differently.

This can also be seen by couples who have something happen and one person interprets it as bad, while the other sees it as just normal, everyday life.

Last night my wife was frustrated. Our two year old had lost her phone, while one of our older children had allowed him to play with it. Understandably, her sentences were shorter than normal.

I can get this way around payroll time. If you own a small business, you know that payroll can always be a stressful time. The question though is, does my wife apply special meaning to my general malaise?

Let's break this down.

  1. Something happens.
  2. We interpret and assign meaning to what happened.
  3. We have feelings based on what we do in step #2.

This is why most fights are unproductive. Couples spend time trying to dismiss why theother person feels the way that they do. They use energy to destroy the other person's position instead of trying to understand how they came to that position. It's not what happened but what you believe about what happened that matters most. 

Let's say that Ruby comes home from a long day of work stressed and grumpy because it was a long day. She says to Ricardo, "Did you take the trash out?" in a voice that he interprets to mean that she is mad at him. 

So he has an entire conversation in his head with her where he ends up yelling or shutting down.

Then he takes that conversation out of his head and puts it into the real world. Ruby is shocked and hurt that he would be so angry with her when she isn't angry at all. She just wanted to know if he took out the trash or if she should take out the trash. 

And now the fight is on.

The whole thing could have been avoided if he had simply clarified where she was at and where she was coming from.

If he had said, "You seem angry to me, are you angry with me?" he probably could have defused most of the situation because he would have realized that the meaning he was assigning to what was going on was vastly different than the meaning that she was assigning to what was going on.

They could have lived in the uncomfortable space of knowing that she was mad, but that it would be OK.
No emotions needed to be plundered.
I'm going to continue to explore the principles around this in the upcoming days and weeks.


Are You in Danger of Being Abused?

Are you dating an abuser?

 

Research by F. Scott Reyburn PhD

 

When a woman’s assailant is an intimate partner or ex-partner, the injury rate is about 52%, when it is a stranger, only 20%.  More women are murdered by one of these men than any other type.

 

Guys don’t come with warning labels, but they do come with behavioral preferences that signal the potential for and probability of abuse.

 

  1. Dating situation: he pushes too far, too fast, planning your future together shortly after you have had a few dates. Before you catch on to his real intent for you. This takes the initial form of showering you with attention, which is initially flattering, but is merely a method of setting the hook.
  2. He wants: your undivided attention
  3. He needs: to always be in charge
  4. He always: has to win, even when he says he does not.
  5. He breaks: promises most of the time
  6. He can’t: take criticism and always justifies his actions (often with lies)
  7. He blames: someone else anytime something goes wrong
  8. He is jealous: of your close friends, family members, and all other men
  9. He demands to know: where you went and whom you saw
  10. Demonstrates: mood changes that are unpredictable, often between extreme highs and low lows – often to intimidate and keep you off balance emotionally.
  11. His temper: is mean, often of a conscious-free, righteous indignation type
  12. He often: says you don’t know what you are talking about.
  13. He belittles: your ideas, makes you feel you are not good enough
  14. He withdraws approval or love: as punishment
  15. He pushes you: to do things that make you feel uneasy, like taking a day off of work or even breaking the law
  16. He hates his mother, is nasty to her and has a history of contempt for her and brings that attitude towards women into the relationship.

 

The main overall goal of these people is to isolate you from your support group as quickly as possible, take gradual control of your life, and eventually totally own you. It parallels many characteristic of the Borderline personality disorder: his fear of abandonment, devaluation of partner, identity disturbance, impulsivity, latent suicidal ideation.  ( the murder-suicide extreme version).

 

Women are wiser today and, if they have a strong identity and clear sense of their “mate-value” (how they deserve to be treated – respectfully and honorably), they tend to abandon these relationships. Those who remain in them take on a vacant, hollow, numb, abused look and eventually, many slowly lose their minds.