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europe 2014 150I have to admit that the title, "Uncomfortable Affair Dynamics" is quite a mouthful. It may leave you wondering what is the upcoming post all about. Suffice to say, the title is also a form of warning since today's post is one of those that may have you squirming and feeling uncomfortable. Perhaps a better title may have been, "the designated cheater".

The "uncomfortable" dynamic I am referring to is the selection of the cheater. In many marriages, cheating does not 'just happen'. Although the movies and popular media may leave you thinking that the affair was more about happenstance than planning. Although the happenstance makes the affair sound accidental. In most cases, there is actually very little that is accidental.

Very often, and in some cases, without you realizing it, you and your spouse reach an impasse in your relationship. Couples often reach impasses in their marriage. What makes this situation different is that on reaching that point, rather than working through the issues by talking about it, the decision is made that one of you will be the designated cheater.

You may not recall the exact moment that you and your spouse voted on it and made that decision. Bear with me, and this will soon make more sense.

On reaching the impasse, choices are made. At that point, some of you may go to your default. In this case, it is your family of origin. When you go to that default, and start behaving toward each other the way you saw couples treat each other, without stopping to think about what you were doing, you went to the default.

When couples go to that way of doing things, they often become passive and find themselves just reacting rather than thinking through things. While in that frame of mind, you may find yourself making the same choices you saw made in your 'family of origin'.  At that point, the decision is made to 'repeat a pattern' rather than change what is going on.

If, you happen to have grown up in a family where there were affairs, this default decision making amounts to selecting a designated cheater.

Another way the designated cheater is selected is when in the midst of a fight, harsh words are said that start the programming. Statements like "Find someone who will put up with you and your ...." or snide remarks like "who are you sleeping with now?"

Perhaps it was a seemingly innocent comment like "Don't you go sleeping with your secretary!" Although you meant it as a warning, the way it was phrased amounts to telling your spouse's brain, "Go sleep with your secretary!" I would go into the impact of operative phrases on brain programming, but I would need another day to explain it.

Such comments are often said in anger or sniped at the target with sarcasm. Although it provided you with a release, it also planted the seed of an affair along with designating them 'the cheater'.

Then there are the situations where instead of 'an affair' with a lover, the cheater instead makes their job or profession their lover. In such cases, you will still have affair-like dynamics, yet there is no physical lover. You get all the pain of cheating without the mistress to show for it.

Few couples bother seriously considering all the selecting and subtle choices made prior to the affair. Even thinking about such issues is uncomfortable.

Rest assured, that even if you have started such patterns, they can be changed. You can change the dynamics of your marriage. Rather than falling back onto the default, you and your spouse can actively make changes in your marriage that actually improve communication and strengthen your relationship.

Best Regards,

Jeff Murrah