Editor’s Note: On Friday, Central Intelligence Agency Director David Petraeus shockingly resigned, citing an extramarital affair that demonstrated "extremely poor judgment."
The 60-year-old Petraeus is certainly not the first high-profile figure to have been tempted into commiting infidelity. Here’s a list from the Huffington Post of 13 celebrities over age 50 who have admitted to having strayed from their significant other.
According to statistics at Infideltyfacts.com, one or both spouses admit to infidelity, either physical or emotional, in 41 percent of marriages in the United States. Here at Midtown Patch, Local Voices contributor Carolyn Tucker, recently wrote about "How to Cope With Fear of Infidelity and the Anxiety it Brings."
And of course, there’s no shortage of professionals offering marriage counseling services in and around Midtown. See here for a listing of such. And we also offer here the first of a two-part series on how to have an affair from Ben Cathey, the pastor of the Orchard Church in Loganville, Ga.
These columns first appeared on Loganville-Grayson Patch on Nov. 20 & 27, 2011. Part two of the series will run on Midtown Patch on Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012.
No one wakes up in the morning planning to have an affair. No one eats breakfast thinking I’ll start a relationship today that will lead to breaking the 7th commandment, “You must not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14). But we do. Too many of us have dishonored our wedding vows through emotional and physical involvement with a person who is not our spouse.
Affairs don’t happen because of mysterious universal forces that affect some people more than others. The steps into an affair are actually pretty predictable. So if you are eating breakfast and thinking about how to have an affair, here are the steps you need to follow to be successful.
One – Convince Yourself It Won’t Happen To You
You, my friend, are above the temptation to lean on another person emotionally, and you are so in love with your spouse that you would never share your body with another. Don’t even worry about it. You are above all that. You can lean on others emotionally, flirt with them physically, and it’s just fun and games. After all, y’all are just friends, and you are just helping each other through a hard time. Go ahead; take that ring off on girls’ night out. You’re just doing it so you can let loose a little and have some fun. You would never let it go too far even though you really, really enjoy flirting with the edges.
One person put it this way: “The initial decision to be unfaithful is rarely ever a rational choice; instead infidelity is usually driven by circumstances and one’s emotions. In fact, most people are surprised by their own behavior.”
Two – Cross Emotional Boundaries
There are hundreds of things to talk about in social and work situations that do not cross emotional boundaries, but go ahead and push beyond conversations about the weather, the kids, “Dancing with the Stars,” church, or college football and start talking about emotional/personal issues instead. Share your feelings. Lean on the other person emotionally. Tell them that you are sad or depressed or that you feel frantic. Let them know about that frustrating co-worker and draw energy from them. Push it even further and complain a little about your spouse with them. Not big stuff, just little stuff at first. Then reveal secrets about your marriage relationship you know you should really be sharing with someone who is not of the opposite sex. If you really want to cross an emotional boundary and set yourself up for an affair, then tell the other person how you are disappointed or frustrated at some place in your sex life. Talk about frequency, intensity, variety . . . anything that pushes your conversation to a more intimate level.
Three – Flirt with Physical Boundaries
Hand shakes, eye contact, and hugs are all part of normal social interaction, but we all know how to push the boundaries just a little when we are attracted to someone. Make eye contact across a room. Don’t give side hugs; go for the full frontal version . . . often. Hang on to that hug just a couple of seconds later to assure them that you are interested. If you pat them on the back, make sure you give a little rub or squeeze to go along with it. Swing by the office cubicle and give a mini backrub to help with stress and tension. Just ten or fifteen seconds will send the right message. If you really intend to have an affair, touch the other person inside their arm, place you hand on their knee, wipe some food from their face or lips. You intentions will become more clear the more often you cross this boundary.
Four – Compare Your Spouse Negatively
Ignore the fact that you often see this other person at their very best and you often see your spouse at their very worst. Ignore the fact that the reason you often see your spouse at their very worst is because they are working hard to create life with you. They are taking care of your house, your children, your pets, your church, your in-laws, and they are working hard to provide income for the lifestyle that you want to lead. Spend lots of time imagining how great this other person must look first thing in the morning. Let yourself believe that they wear that cute outfit you always see them in at the ball fields 24/7/365. Let your imagination go.
Don’t recognize that you are comparing the worst of your spouse with the best of the other person. Let yourself believe that this other person is really amazing while your spouse is just a old news.
Five – Keep Secrets
Begin dressing for the other person. Anticipate time together. Hide the relationship from your spouse. If you accidentally run into the other person don’t let your spouse know. If you spent thirty extra minutes at the gym because you talked to Susie, make sure you tell your spouse that it was just because you had an extra good workout that day. If you have a work lunch with Heather, make sure you lead your spouse to believe that everyone in the office went out together. Don’t let yourself be held accountable. After all, referring back to number one, it won’t happen to you.
Six – Invent Excuses
Make up excuses to be with the other person. Make sure their child is assigned to your team. Ask them to help you with a project. Make sure go to the gym when they usually attend an aerobics class. Make sure you visit the restaurant when they usually work. Invent excuses to be with them. Make sure you have a good excuse, though. You can let yourself believe that you are eating, working out, or completing a project just to be with the other person because that would never happen.
Seven – Convince Yourself God Brought This Other Person to You for Your Happiness
Pray to God and thank Him for your new relationship. Reinterpret the seventh commandment to mean, “Don’t commit adultery unless things are bad at home, unless your true love has changed since you got married, unless you are more excited by the company of someone else, unless you happen to catch the eye of someone you consider hotter than most, unless . . .”
Convince yourself that you sinned by marrying the wrong person and now God has brought you the right person. The only way you can redeem your life is by admitting your earlier mistake and forming a new relationship with this wonderful new person.
Especially if this new person is an old flame, just admit that you missed them the first time around, and now you are making up for lost time. The kids will be fine; they’ll understand why you have this other woman who is not their mom with you at Christmas, Thanksgiving, graduation, the wedding, and new baby time. Go ahead. God is giving her to you. Jump in and find redemption.
Eight – Just Do It
You are already there in your head and your heart; it’s time to rent a hotel room.
Of course, there is a better way to do things. Tomorrow: How to Have an Affair with Your Spouse.