TimT - does that mean that if the WS doesn't know "why" they had their many affairs, that they will do it again? I'm so confused!
No, not necessarily. But if someone doesn't understand the reasons for any particular behavior, they are more vulnerable to repeating it than someone who does understand and knows how to address those causes/influences.
When I help people answer the WHY question, we look at 4 areas that often have affects on why an affair starts, continues, and/or ends:
Historical Influences: What events from your past may have impacted your decision?NOTE: None of these are excuses for having an affair. There are always other choices to be made. But if you want to adequately address those conditions that contributed to vulnerability, you have to look at these things.
For example: What kind of marriage did your parents have? How did they deal with disappointment or disagreement between themselves? How close were they to you? What did you grow up believing about relationships? Did either of your parents have an affair? Did they stay together? Did you know about other affairs in your extended family? Do you know about them now? What about your own relationship history? Have you cheated before (whether it’s known or not)? Have you ever been cheated on? Did your relationship with your spouse start as an affair? Did you have a previous relationship (prior to marriage) with your affair partner?
Personal Influences: What personal values, preferences, or traits may have impacted your decision?
For example: Are you a risk-taker? What kind of person are you socially? Were you struggling with any thoughts or feelings, even if others didn’t know? Are you going through any significant changes? What is your opinion about yourself? How do you think other people see you? Are you a spiritual person? What is most important to you? What do you like/ dislike?
Marital Influences: What was going on in your marriage before and during your affair?
For example: How would you describe the condition of your marriage? Had anything changed in your marriage? Was your spouse satisfied with the marriage? Were you? Did your affair partner fill needs that seemed unmet in your marriage?
Circumstantial Influences: What unique conditions may have contributed to your choice?
For example: Had you been extra busy? Did you have extra free time? Were you around people who might be more accepting (or even encouraging) of affair behavior? Was alcohol involved? Were you on a trip or participating in a special event? Did you meet in a place that made it easier to cross boundaries? Did you work together? Did the availability of technology influence choices?