The 4 Phases of an Affair – Recognize Where His Affair is Today and Possibly Prevent It
Look At the 4 Phases of an Affair: How You Can Recognize an Affair in Progress
Dave Carder is a Christian relationship author. His well-known book, Close Calls: What Adulterers Want You to Know About Protecting Your Marriage, discusses the warning signs and “close calls” that people tend to overlook when they or their spouse has an affair.
One of the topics Carder discusses in Close Calls are the relatively consistent phases of sexual affairs and infidelities. Referring to the phases as a “dangerous sequence,” he explains how things can progress from relatively harmless and innocent to horribly out of control.
According to Carder, there are four phases of close calls regarding infidelity, each one progressively more dangerous and alarming than the last.
Phase 1 is when parties experience a growing mutual attraction for one another. “Most parties don’t start out with an intention to commit adultery,” Carder explains. He states that the more individuals get to know each other, the more the attraction grows. He considers this natural, as he feels that God has instilled a sexual nature in us all. In fact, he believes denying this attraction only “intensifies” the situation, and people are led to subconsciously seek out interactions with those individuals.
Entanglement occurs in Phase 2, and involves sharing the illicit feelings with one another. Any communication with the other party becomes sexually charged and heavily anticipated, whether in person or over the phone and in emails or instant messages.
However, in some lesser aspects, entanglement may be as subtle as dropping hints regarding interest. For example, someone might tell another, “If I weren’t married/engaged/involved, I’d love an opportunity to talk to/sleep with/date/romance you.” Nevertheless, this is usually the phase at which an affair begins, and many times, the parties feel the connection was spontaneous.
Phase 3 is characterized by destabilization. If one or both parties felt their relationship went against their moral code, then there’s potential for them to attempt to stop the relationship. This on-again, off-again quality of the affair dangerously prolongs the relationship and creates unhealthy emotional attachments.
At this point, both partners may feel comfort and security by the presence of the other in their lives, even when they’re not together 24/7. They both desperately feel the need to be desired by someone else, and feel that this is something they no longer get within their primary relationships at home.
When people attempt to separate from each other post-affair and move on with their lives, they still find that they crave the others’ reassurance, and this is what draws them back. Marriages which can adopt this process – the cyclical need and pursuit of each other – can expect to see a healthy change in their relationship.
Termination and Resolution is the 4th and final phase of an affair. Although it feels that trust and security has been built up between affair partners, maintaining the feelings of trust and safety become difficult. The artificial intimacy build by sexual relationships begins to fade and the passion wanes.
All too often, the affair partners may return to their marriage and realize that the passion they had in their affairs was exactly what was missing at home. Sometimes, they may attempt to bring that passion back to their marriages in an effort to rebuild with their partners. (Many times, experts indicate that unusually spontaneous passionate behavior like this is indeed a sign of infidelity in one’s spouse.)