Couples: "When Good People Have Affairs" by Mira Kirshenbaum | Couple's Net | Chandrama Anderson | |

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By Chandrama Anderson

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About this blog: About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and grief and have lived in Silicon Valley since 1969. I'm the president of Connect2 Marriage Counseling. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in ...  (More)

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Couples: "When Good People Have Affairs" by Mira Kirshenbaum

Uploaded: Jan 11, 2019
Affairs are so painful for couples (I know that's a huge understatement). The desire to understand and the internal pressure of deciding what to do in the wake of an affair is tremendous. The strain and stress on couples can not be overestimated.

Overall, I think Kirshenbaum's book is a very good one for couples struggling with an affair. What's missing from my perspective is the foundation of "secure attachment" (you can read about it in many of my blog postings as it is the basis from which I work). Secure attachment is the antidote or insurance to prevent affairs.

What I find useful in When Good People Have Affairs:

1. Understanding that good people have affairs, and this doesn't make them bad people.
2. Kirshenbaum's tone of voice is caring, experienced, and practical.
3. The list of 17 different types of affairs, why they happen, what it means, and how to deal with it (although lack of secure attachment underlies all of the 17 types).
4. How the affair came about and what might need attending to in your relationship.
5. There's a long section about how to decide which partner (or neither) is right for you (if you dropped your affair like a hot potato when your partner found out, this section may not pertain to your current needs).
6. This book is a great tool for those who need it. If you do need it, please know that your need for self-care and self-soothing is very high right now. Your emotional (limbic) brain is triggered and on "high/overload."

Practice simple acts of kindness for yourselves:

Drink lots of water (alcohol is a depressant)
Exercise, or at least go for walks
Reach out for support from those you trust
Eat healthy foods
Breathe deeply from your belly
Listen to music
Be in nature
Notice your feelings and bodily sensations
Take breaks from dealing with the affair
Think of things you normally like to do, and do them (even if your heart isn't in it right now)

Couples do recover from affairs; it's up to you to work through everything and then decide whether you still want to be with your partner. Seek help if you need it (most affair situations do need help).

Best of luck (and work) to you both.
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Posted by Sunny Storm, a resident of Woodside: other,
on Jan 17, 2019 at 1:55 pm

Sunny Storm is a registered user.

I would argue that good people DON'T have affairs. They certainly do have relationship issues, but having an affair (or one night stand) means violating the promises you made to your partner, and requires lying, another no-no for "good people". There's a big difference between thinking about something and doing it, and that choice reflects your character.

My ex used to disappear at all hours of the day and night and always had shady excuses. Relationships are built on trust and connection, and once someone starts lying, there has to be a recognition of damaging behavior, sincere attempt to resolve, and forgiveness for the relationship to continue.

Posted by adamschule85, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Jan 17, 2019 at 10:23 pm

adamschule85 is a registered user.

Affair is still an affair so it's not should tolerated.

Posted by Chandrama Anderson, a blogger,
on Jan 18, 2019 at 7:38 am

Chandrama Anderson is a registered user.

Hi Lawn, Sunny and Adam, thanks for adding your thoughts. Monogamy is a choice YOU make every day. The idea is to keep the "windows and doors" closed to your relationship, meaning to spend time with people who are friends of your marriage/relationship; if you're having trouble in your relationship you talk with your partner about it, not someone who might not have the best interests of your marriage in mind (and especially not someone you are or might be attracted to).

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