Defining An Affair

Defining An Affair

Defining An Affair

By Brooke Skrivanek May 15, 2024 05.15.2024 Share:
Affair Couples Defining Marriage Premarital Problem Solving Reflection
Most people know what affairs are; however, the details of defining an affair are a little more challenging to understand.

Personal Definitions of an Affair

When clients walk into my office and announce that they or their partner have had an affair I seek to understand their personal definitions of an affair and how it might compare to their partner’s definition. The complexities of the details, situations, and emotions involved (or lack thereof) create a vast and diverse collection of definitions that can be different to each individual person.

Why is defining an affair important? 

One might ask “Why is defining an affair so important in couples therapy?” My answer to that would be the definition for the individual and the couple is important to understand to create a shared meaning in the relationship. Conflicts arise when couples are not on the same page or have differing definitions. My suggestion for couples, at any stage of their relationship, is to be curious and create a mutual definition of an affair or even just a betrayal of trust.  Here are some questions to consider when developing a definition of an affair or a betrayal of trust in the relationship.

How would you define an affair?

To you, are there different types or categories of affairs? For example: emotional, physical, or cyber affairs, etc.
Is one category more severe than others? What is the difference between a betrayal of trust and an affair? What is the boundary between friendship and cheating? And how would you know if that boundary has been crossed? Have you ever experienced a boundary being crossed in terms of a betrayal and/or an affair? What was the like for you?

Shared Understanding of the Affair

Creating a shared understanding of affairs is important to the relationship- not so that the couple can tiptoe around an affair without “crossing that line.” Instead, it is important so that they can create a relationship built on understanding, trust, and respect. Just as we can’t expect our partner to read our minds, we can’t expect our partner to share a definition without an open and honest conversation first.
Schedule an appointment with Brooke Skrivanek, here!
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