Affairs are difficult for most people to understand. Knowing the vulnerable periods can help in preventing and dealing with them for men and women alike.
The Hard-Working Steady Course Work Ethic
We value getting up, working hard and long, coming home, dealing with the family, playing with the kids day-after-day. We lose our imaginations because we get stuck in a rut of daily life. We forget how to take time out, have fun, act like kids.
We grind away under an ungrateful boss, spouse, etc., seeming to be trapped for the rest of our life — and then we die feeling. Then, out of the blue we suddenly see life differently, having scary visions, feeling alienated and bleak, and we feel overwhelmed wondering what is happening to us. There are milestones in our lives that generate anxiety that leave us vulnerable to acting out to get our imagination back.
The New Baby/Kids in the House Syndrome
This is always a vulnerable time for men — a time when they can feel stuck because they are responsible and trapped by life. It can be a time of feeling that our youth is over. With a new baby, and the baby taking all the time, the father can feel left out, alone, unappreciated, and unwanted. If anyone has feelings of unresolved sibling rivalry having to share one’s spouse with a child can bring up intense emotions of being left out — just like a child feels when a new baby comes into the family too soon.
The wife can think that the child comes first and romance is last leaving her husband feeling not needed. When one gets the feeling that they are no longer valued, needed, or wanted beyond the paycheck or being the daddy then he may feel that he has been fired from his job AND leave literally.
The New Job Syndrome
Promotions, raises, new titles, all create good feelings of power and achievement. Power can attract others to anyone making us feel special. If the new job, or title, is place ahead of one’s spouse, trouble will happen sooner or later. If one gets promoted, or the career takes over, the other may feel that they are stagnating and not moving forward in life.
When one feels unappreciated and inadequate, one becomes vulnerable to the first smile, pick-up, being chased after, the touch on the arm, leaving one feeling like they are in a trance and overpowered. When one is moving forward, it is important to not forget the other, encourage risks, be available for phone calls, talks, walks, encouragement, and staying in touch with the other’s feelings.
The “I’m Such a Loser” Syndrome
Friends, others at work, subordinates at work, get promoted above you. Such promotions trigger vulnerability and make one feel frail in one’s own identity. When this happens one thinks that life is passing one by and death is close. Younger people can help to make one feel an increase in self-worth.
By not talking about it, one becomes even more vulnerable to affairs. Men are particularly uncomfortable expressing emotions, or anything, that might be seen as a weakness and add to their sense of demoralization.
The Midlife Crisis
This is the classic simple and unavoidable crisis. It is one’s unwanted confrontation with one’s own mortality. It is the time when the body changes and creates a loss to one’s identity. It is a time of thinking that one is starting to look like one’s parents when faced with the mirror. Hair is changing color, coming out, bodies are changing, and one does not look young anymore.
It is a time of examining where one is at, whether needs are being met in the present relationship, and asking how mush time is left phase. It is a time of reexamining one’s values, desires, wants and needs. It is a time when the children are leaving home and the couple looks at each other and asks — ‘who are you’. If the marriage has not been going well up until this point, it is a time when one or the other says there is no reason to stay anymore.
Suddenly we feel more vulnerable, a loss of potency, and a decrease in self-esteem. It is a time of thinking that we are not going to achieve what we had thought would happen in our lives. It is a time when many men are noting the blocks, and wives are just wanting to develop themselves and their careers. The person who is at risk for an affair is the one who is not talking about all the losses and changes that one is experiencing.
Those who are less vulnerable seek reassurance by talking about it. Having talked about it makes one less lightly to jump. Some people feel and act like they are old, no longer taking care of themselves, their relationships, intimacy needs, or time together that can continue to fire the romance fires. Wives, or husbands, quit the relationship a long time ago, with many not even taking care of themselves, or their bodies, anymore.
The Success Syndrome Blues
Whether expected or not, power and rank are aphrodisiacs to the person and others around them. Many people, especially men, who are successful can be overwhelmed by inner fears of being inner frauds. Success can be trigger points that bring up the baggage of childhood when they were called lazy, fat, stupid, and would never be successful.
Men wonder can I live up to it? Will it all come crashing down? I will probably lose it so I will tempt fate and at least have fun. Many of these fears are not conscious to the vulnerable one. The way to know when one is reaching a breaking point is if there is a change in one’s behaviors. If one mate picks on the other more, criticizes, puts down, finds fault, this is a new behavior which says that the one who criticizes is not feeling good about themselves. Sometimes one deals with their stress by picking on others in order to feel good by putting them down.
It is clear that once a person feels insecure, they must find a way to re-inflate themselves. If one responds with denial about their fears, feeling angry, getting down on themselves, by hitting the bottle, etc., then one is ripe for a fall.