Q&A What is he Addicted to?

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Hi Rick,

My husband had a brief emotional and physical affair earlier this year. D-day was about 3 months ago. He is working hard to save our marriage and he has identified some contributing factors that he feels made him vulnerable to the affair. They are the ability to compartmentalize along with something of an adrenaline rush when he meets someone that piques his interest. These are often people that he has described as, “un-tethered“ or having an uninhibited, wilder side. He sees me as a stable, down to earth person. Although I believe this is the only affair he’s had, he does have a pattern of justifying potentially harmful and often immature behaviors in order to indulge these urges for adrenaline. He has said, he may know something he wants to do is wrong, but want to do it anyway. In that moment, risks of losing things he cares about are not in the forefront of his mind. He also often minimizes things such as filtering facts (says he’s doing it to protect me, but I suspect this may be a F.O.B.A.D issue), being flirtatious, or putting himself in situations that he knows may cause me angst. To me, these things are characteristic of an addiction, but of what? Would you agree and if so, more importantly, what approaches are most helpful in working on them? Or is something else at the root of these behaviors? He says he has learned from this experience and does not want to put us through anything like this again. He says from what he's learned, he can make better choices, but I feel changes need to occur at a deeper level to change old patterns. I think I will feel safer when I see that he is truly working on these things and not just "muscling through" these urges.



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