To many people, affairs seem to come as a result of sudden horniness – or just plain wickedness.
However, that is most often than not, a false assumption. In reality, affairs are born out of an incredibly fiddly aspect of our romantic psychology.
When it comes to our romantic relationships, we are all in need of carefully sorted mixtures of a couple of vital ingredients. We have a need for closeness as well as a need for distance.
One part of us needs closeness where we can touch, hug, be intimate, and be comfy at home with a special person. We want them to know us deeply and we want the same of them. However, we also need to have some time away from each other so we won’t start feeling submerged, subsumed, or owned by the other.
We all need to have a sense of freedom and a private area to which only we have access.
Any imbalances in closeness and distance will produce a rotten fruit if not cared for properly.
In a relationship that threatens to lean dangerously on too much closeness, we can be driven to stray by a strong desire to prove to ourselves that not everything we do comes as a result of our partner’s influence on us; that we still count as an individual and the world sees us that way.
Sleeping with another person might not be simply due to sexual desire: it might be the need for once again feeling like a separate unit. But too much distance can weaken fidelity no less strongly.
Too much distance can be perceived as a sign of rejection…
For example, when we try to be intimate with our partner, they might move away or sigh.
When something personal is brought up, our partner changes the topic. We may end up starting an affair, not because we’re not in love with our long-term partner but precisely because we are – and yet the uncomfortable distance they seem to be imposing on us through their coldness feels painful and degrading.
Ironically, in the end, we’ll be accused of being heartless cheaters, when it was caring too much that might have triggered the whole mess in the first place.
Unfortunately, two people rarely enter a relationship with the same needs for closeness and distance.
This is the reason we always hear that one person is too ‘clingy’ and another is ‘cold’. In reality, these are often unnecessarily harsh words for what are, in truth, just two different ways of feeling comfortable in love.
Hence, it is crucially important for couples to work out what each person’s needs are when it comes to closeness and distance in order to come up with something that works for both. This is the only way we can hope that the differences won’t lead to a hopeless situation where the only worthwhile solution will appear in the form of an affair.
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