The Affair Is Just a Symptom of Deeper Issues “The affair is just a symptom of deeper issues.” I’ve heard that statement about a thousand times, and I’ve only heard it from the unfaithful spouse, never the betrayed spouse. I’ve heard it so many times that when I’m working with a couple now and I hear the unfaithful say it, I almost laugh out loud at it, as I know what’s coming before they finish the sentence. The reality is it just may be that: a symptom of deeper issues. The problem is, it’s more times than not, far deeper issues within the unfaithful spouse, not the betrayed spouse or the marriage. We have affairs because we are unhealthy and do not handle our marital or personal issues the right way, and give ourselves to another person (or one night stands, or porn, or strip clubs, etc.) in an effort to escape or cope, rather than doing what is right, healthy and appropriate. The addiction, or the affair, is a symptom of a deeper dysfunction inside us, the unfaithful, that must be addressed by an expert or it’s only going to get worse. To say the affair is ‘merely’ a symptom of deeper issues infuriates the betrayed spouse as there is no humility or ownership of the affair, just an excusing away of it and a minimization of its effects upon the betrayed spouse. It’s like what the unfaithful is really saying is “Eh, the marriage has issues, so I did what anyone would do. It’s just an affair. If the marriage wasn’t so difficult, or if you didn’t have so many issues, I wouldn’t have done it. It’s your fault it happened.” Again, the main issue here is blaming the affair on the betrayed spouse’s issues, weaknesses or failures rather than owning up to the fact that we blew it and failed morally. While admitting it doesn’t make it OK, it will give you far more mileage in recovery and in the initial stage of recovery with your spouse. When we blame our spouse for our affairs, or addictive behaviors and the like, we are not safe. Any good therapist, who is an expert in treating these sorts of issues, will tell the betrayed spouse to tread carefully and stay far away from the unfaithful as they are not admitting any responsibility within the affair or betrayal. It will then be very hard to gain any ground and see any substantial transformation to the marriage or darkness inside the unfaithful spouse. Sure, without question the betrayed spouse may have issues. I’m sure both of you do, as no one is perfect in the marriage. However, to say that you going outside the marriage to engage in some form of erotic behavior (either physical and/or emotional) is merely some symptom of deeper issues which then excuses your behavior and infidelity, will only exacerbate the situation further and communicate blame to the betrayed. There is a better way my friends.