Infidelity and Secrets
December 2009

Lately a number of female clients have been educating me in the effects of conducting affairs behind a partner's back. Coincidentally, all of the people having affairs were men, but women also cheat on their partners of course and the content of this article can refer equally to either sex, or same sex relationships. Although multiple concurrent partners are not necessarily bad for a relationship, they cause conflict if there is no prior agreement between all parties to do this. The negative impacts can be many. You may be familiar with these.

The "mistress" can effectively live a secret life. If she is ashamed of the affair, and/or if she understands that no one is to know, she may cut off her relationhips with her family and friends. She becomes isolated, and becomes dependent on her lover for most of her social interaction. Of course this will only be when her partner can spare time for her, so loneliness can be a problem. She is also effectively the "second best" woman, and her self esteem suffers because she is not good enough to be the official partner. In extreme cases, the woman can become almost emotionally and physically immobilised, and can resort to punishing behaviours toward her lover and herself to express her frustration. She may attempt to finish the affair, only to have him beg her not to. Keeping someone else's secret can be toxic to her health.

The wife or official partner can be the last person to know about the affair. When she finds out, she feels foolish and betrayed. She realises that there have been many lies and she will no longer trust him. She feels inadequate because he needed another woman. Usually she seeks to end the relationhip but can find this extremely difficult.  He may refuse to sign divorce papers, he may be unwilling for assets to be divided and use many tactics to retain them. He may become antagonistic toward her and treat her badly whenever he can, making it very difficult for her to communicate with him. He may use the children to punish her in any way he can. She may have to come to terms with the fact that her life would have not be in such disarray if she had stayed in the relationship. The woman can become very bitter and depression, substance abuse and anxiety can take over her life.  She may need help to improve her ability to cope

Men have many reasons for having affairs, an important one being a need for emotional connection and approval. However there is a group of men who commonly have affairs and are also jealous of their partners. Such a man may behave as follows. He will be very romantic and attentive in the initial stages of the relationship. The woman will be swept off her feet.and flattered by his jealousy. However the jealousy soon becomes a difficulty as her social circle becomes restricted by him. She is not encouraged to have friends, to have a life outside the home. Before long there is a high possibility of violence. This becomes her guilty secret. She may become fearful of his reaction to her not fulfilling his expectations in terms of housework, food, child care, and try to avoid this by being extremely conscientious. He may take control of finances, driving, phone calls, making decisions, taking away much of the control she might have had in her life.

These men may have experienced rejection of some kind by their mother, or other important women in their early lives. They may have grown up in violent and/or emotionally abusive families, or their mother or their father has had a history of having affairs. As a result, they can develop a distrust of all women, a subconscious hatred of women. Something they have little conscious control of. Most women naturally avoid relationships with such men, but some women gravitate to them and will end up in more than one relationship of this type. These women are familiar with the behaviour of their partners for they have a similar family history. It helps both men and women to take steps to overcome their traumatic history using  an effective technique, such as NLP/hypnosis, so that they can develop a loving, appreciative relationship with their partners.