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    Affairs - A Shot in the Heart

    By Allie Ochs

    While fantasizing about being with someone else doesn't mean people will act upon it, it nevertheless sets the stage for an affair should the opportunity arise. Some have long-term affairs with the same person, others have affairs with several partners, and some may cheat just once.

    Sadly, the commandment, Thou shall not commit adultery has been twisted into Thou shall not admit adultery. There are those who never cheat but keep the fantasy alive. Almost 50 percent of married people have affairs. Slightly over 70 percent are dissatisfied with their sex life, and 85 percent wish for more romance.

    Far too many married people entertain thoughts of someone else, and some even believe this to be normal. Others think that being dissatisfied in their relationships is a sufficient reason to have an affair. Even though dissatisfying sex lives appear to be a main reason for affairs among couples, the underlying cause is mostly friction and conflict in other areas.

    Some straying lovers actually claimed that an affair revived their relationship, such as in the case of Darby and Roger.

    A frustrated Darby stated Roger's inconsiderate five-minute sex routine as the reason for their problems. When she met Mel, she felt justified to get what she was missing in her marriage. The affair lasted over a year and Darby felt sexually fulfilled. Mel ended their affair when Roger discovered his wife's infidelity.

    Ironically, Darby and Roger both reported an improved sex life after the affair. Now their sexual interludes extended from five minutes to ten and are an act of two emotionally beaten people instead of lovemaking.

    Roger's pride had been attacked. Yet, he decided to forgive Darby, who did not care about the consequences of her affair. Instead, she felt deserted by Mel who had ended the affair. It didn't take long for Darby to seek another affair, only this time she was more careful about not getting caught.

    Roger and Darby still live their lives with lies and deception and are only tied together through habit and fear of change. Both avoid the real issue in their relationship, which is the lack of emotional connectedness. As a result, they are not in tune with each other.

    Being unfaithful is morally irresponsible and never a solution to relationship problems. As a matter of fact, it is the ultimate betrayal and the devastating consequences can almost never be erased. Some may point to relationships that have continued after an affair.

    People can forgive and even rationalize affairs, but they can never make them go away. Seemingly forgiven affairs will always be the one cracked brick making the house crumble, even if all the other bricks have weathered the storm. Like a weak link, overcome affairs will snap the chain when someone rattles it.

    Many relationship experts argue that relationships can be mended and even improved after an affair. However, the pain and distrust can never be erased. Often, when a couple stays together after an affair, it is for reasons that have very little to do with love, and sooner or later they split up anyway.

    Still, it is a personal choice whether to forgive an affair or to end the relationship. In all cases professional help should be sought.

    If a relationship is to survive an affair (as few do) the purest and surest way to starting over is through sexual abstinence. Respect and trust cannot be established in bed. Leaving sex out of the equation for a while allows you to connect honestly as human beings again. Sexual abstinence empowers partners, re-builds self-respect and helps you realize that sex is not just about gratification; rather it is the ultimate gift to each other.

    BIO - (c) Allie Ochs is a speaker, relationship coach and author of: Are You Fit To Love? Her book has received the honorable mention at the USA 2004 Best Book Awards. She has appeared on TV, Radio and is published in numerous magazines and newsletters. To order her book or take the Fit 2 Love! For Free Relationship/Dating Advice e-mail: askallie@fit2love.com

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