Affairs, Flirtations, the Water Cooler Relationship

Has There Been An Affair?

Clinical experience indicates that an affair is a symptom of underlying relationship problems. The affair often begins innocently enough. They meet at work, perhaps at the water cooler. They become familiar, exchange greetings, small talk. Then, one day, they boldly meet outside of work for lunch and explore more personal information leading to an exchange of their marital state. They become very attentive listeners to each other and feel a growing anticipation to meet again. The understanding and empathy they display grows into fondness for each other which often turns into physical attraction, etc, etc.

The Emotional Affair

Some clients defend themselves by saying they never had sex with their liaison. “We are just friends.” The problem with extramarital friendships is that the time spent with the liaison leads to the revealing of personal details of the marriage and the deepening of compassion and empathy felt for one another. All of these things completely betrays your partner as the fidelity and loyalty expected to be given to the spouse is given to another.

The foundation of the marriage is trust and the whole marital house sits on the foundation. When you have an affair, whether emotional or sexual, the foundation crumbles. The arguing, lying, and suspiciousness further poisons the relationship. The couple is stuck in the “attack and defend mode” and they are experiencing marital death. With the loss of fondness and admiration, the marital friendship crumbles. How do you come back from this?  Some couples do make a come-back, but they need help understanding the underlying reasons for the collapse of the relationship.