Infidelity in All Relationships
Jasbina Ahluwalia asks Dr. Pat Love, author of The Truth About Love: Yes. It is interesting. I think there is an element of us that recognizes that. People come to me and want someone who is happy to begin with. That sets everyone up for success when we find someone who is happy to begin with.
I want to switch gears and talk about infidelity. I’m sure you’ve seen it in your practice. What do you think are some of the most common reasons for infidelity?
Dr. Pat Love
Infidelity in All Relationships: The Myth
First, let me dispel a myth.
This is not true.
Infidelity in All Relationships: Prediction
What predicts infidelity? The answer is proximity.
It’s about being face to face with someone with whom you have chemistry and not understanding that, “If I follow that chemistry then the pleasure and reward part of my brain is going to take over. The rational part of my brain is not going to be in charge anymore.”
Infidelity in All Relationships: The Why
Why do people do it? It feels good. For the most part, that’s why people do it. They underestimate the power of that chemistry to move you in a direction you would never go if you were in your “rational” mind.
Infidelity in All Relationships: The Science
There was a study that came out of Rutgers University. It shows that people who are infatuated, under the influence of chemistry, the pleasure and reward system of the brain is running the show.
There is little or no blood flow going to the neocortex. This means that you’re not making rational decisions.
Infidelity in All Relationships: Work Life
One of the major reasons for infidelity is that you’re with someone at work.
You did a project together. It felt good. This person compliments you. They understand you. You’re texting at work. The next thing you know, you’re texting after work. Then you’re sharing the best part of your day.
All of a sudden, you’re looking forward to those texts more than your partner’s texts. You get caught up in the euphoria of it.
You think there’s nothing wrong with it because nothing physical has happened.
We can show the physical with a functional MRI. Your brain has changed.
My definition of an affair is where there is secrecy and chemistry. There you will find infidelity.
Infidelity in All Relationships: Define Infidelity
Openness, honesty and sharing takes away the excitement of it.
Infidelity in All Relationships: Good Relationships
Infidelity can happen in good relationships.
There is accidental infidelity.
There is repeated infidelity.
There are people for whom monogamy is a lot more difficult because it’s not their natural inclination.
I’m not saying that they can’t be monogamous. Some of us are so monogamous. We have one date and we can’t date anyone else until we let this one run its course.
Infidelity in All Relationships: Monogamy Gene
We know that there is DNA genetic predisposition towards monogamy. It’s not called the monogamy gene.
The researchers stopped short before they named it that. This was a Swedish study. We know that, for some people, it’s easier than others.
That’s why you should look at someone’s track record.
If monogamy is important to you, that exciting man or woman who has had many partners might make you think, “They’re great for a date but would I want him or her for a mate?” You have to take that into consideration.
Infidelity in All Relationships: Sex Life
There are people who can be compulsive about sex because they use it to lower their stress. They use it to get a high. It’s about the chase. It’s about finding the perfect partner.
That is a compulsive process for some people who have more of that addictive personality.
Infidelity in All Relationships: Compulsive
Some people can drink a glass of wine or two with no problem. For others, they know one glass leads to four.
We do have personalities that are more prone to compulsivity. There are many reasons for infidelity.
Infidelity in All Relationships: Recreation
For some, it’s just fun. It’s recreation. The idea of having many partners is part of the pleasure of life. There are so many reasons.
Infidelity in All Relationships: Safe Haven
The problem with infidelity is, when you make a commitment to someone and you get attached to that person, that person becomes your safe haven.
When your partner has been unfaithful, the very person who is supposed to be there to comfort you is now the enemy.
Now, the person is part of the hurt and not the healing. That’s what makes it so difficult to recover.
Remember, we are designed to be in relationship. You don’t have to be in a committed love relationship, but we need friends. We are kin people. We’re tribe people.
Our security is based upon having these attachment figures throughout our lives. That’s connected to our survival.
One man alone out on the Kalahari didn’t last very long. Our survival is connected to relationship.
Infidelity in All Relationships: We Belong in Pairs
When you threaten that primary relationship, the person feels like, “I’m going to die.” That’s why, if your partner is unfaithful, you feel like you’re going to die.
In your brain, you are going to die. That part of your brain connected to survival is atemporal. It’s without the concept of time. It doesn’t know you’ve grown up. This is why there are no small issues when it comes to your survival partner.
It feels better when you’re having the affair than when your partner is being unfaithful. I know that’s an understatement.
Do you observes infidelity in all relationships, or do you still think it is a result of a bad one? Drop us a line in the comments section below.
The above is an excerpt from Jasbina’s interview with Dr. Pat Love.
The entire interview transcript is at: Dr. Pat Love Interview – Love: The Highs, the Lows, and How You Can Make It Last Forever
Listen to the entire interview on: Intersections Match Talk Radio – Jasbina’s Lifestyle Show
Listen to the entire interview on Blog Talk Radio: Love: The Highs, the Lows, and How You Can Make It Last Forever – Dr. Pat Love
Listen to the entire interview on iTunes