By Chandrama Anderson
E-mail Chandrama Anderson
About this blog: About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and grief and have lived in Silicon Valley since 1969. I'm the president of Connect2 Marriage Counseling. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in ... (More)
About this blog: About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and grief and have lived in Silicon Valley since 1969. I'm the president of Connect2 Marriage Counseling. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in Silicon Valley for 15 years before becoming a therapist. My background in high-tech is helpful in understanding local couples' dynamics and the pressures of living here. I am a wife, mom, sister, friend, author, and lifelong advocate for causes I believe in (such as marriage equality). My parents are both deceased. My son graduated culinary school and is heading toward a degree in Sociology. I enjoy reading, hiking, water fitness, movies, 49ers and Stanford football, Giants baseball, and riding a tandem bike with my husband. I love the beach and mountains; nature is my place of restoration. In my work with couples, and in this blog, I combine knowledge from many fields to bring you my best ideas, tips, tools and skills, plus book and movie reviews, and musings to help you be your genuine self, find your own voice, and have a happy and healthy relationship. Don't be surprised to hear about brain research and business skills, self-soothing techniques from all walks of life, suggestions and experiments, and anything that lights my passion for couples. (Author and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Calif. Lic # MFC 45204.) (Hide)
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In her book NOT "Just Friends" Shirley Glass, Ph.D. writes about the research she has conducted about affairs. One result blows away an old myth: That the person having the affair wasn't getting enough at home. The truth is that the person having an affair wasn't GIVING enough at home.
When you are giving to your partner, you can't help but be more involved, present, and attuned. Being attuned is a very important part of a secure attachment. It's what "good enough" parents do for their children much of the time. A good enough parent is aware of the child's moods and needs, and verbalizes what s/he sees in the child (e.g., "You seem a little sad, did something happen at school today?") This is how children learn the language of feelings.
Many adults never learned to be attuned to their own feelings, body sensations, and thoughts as they were growing up. There can be many reasons for that. One that I see a fair amount is that the child was busy taking care of a parent (emotionally, if not physically) in order to feel (or be) safe at home.
How do you feel safe with your partner? How do you let down your guard and tolerate feeling vulnerable as you are building trust and intimacy? Sometimes it seems easier just to have an affair, especially if you're "just friends" with someone you're not married to and you begin to share your innermost thoughts and feelings with him/her. Over time, you may share less with your partner and more with the friend. The balance of intimacy is shifting outside the marriage.
Try giving more at home and less away from home. Remember, you're the one giving either way.