Sunday, January 13, 2013

Not "Just Frends" - a book review

Photo from http://www.shirleyglass.com
I’ll be honest - I had no idea that there were so many books on the subject of infidelity. Of course, unless someone is looking to cover the issue for a work or school project, unless they’ve been touched by infidelity, it is not a subject that I would imagine gets searched for often just on a whim. When my life was touched by infidelity, in an effort to cope first with my emotions, and then second to understand what the hell just happened in my life, I began looking for books on the subject.*

Not "Just Friends": Rebuilding Trust and Recovering Your Sanity After Infidelity is the first book I read on the subject (I’ve read four so far, two more to go). The book is written by Dr. Shirley Glass, a psychologist and is filled with information. The book covers not just affairs, or how they happen, but it covers some danger signs and what I considered very beneficial, the vulnerabilities that even those of us who considered ourselves to be members in a good marriage may face. Dr. Glass then goes a step further and presents a step by step guide for healing.

What I found most interesting as I struggled with my own situation is how easily affairs (sexual and emotional) happen, and contrary to my personal beliefs, they don’t always occur because one person went looking for it. Dr. Glass explains how platonic relationships can progressively become so intense that even good people who are in good marriages make horrible decisions.

As Dr. Glass put it, and it made perfect sense to me, affairs don’t start with a spouse (or partner or significant other) sleeping with someone else; affairs start when your spouse (or partner or significant other) becomes closer to someone else than they are to you. This fact hit me in the face like a brick. Because that is what happened in my own life. And I had no idea how it happened or why. All I knew was that I did not see it coming because I thought we were fine and dandy and boy was I mistaken.

After reading the book, I had a better understanding of how affairs can happen, and in some circumstances, why they happen. Dr. Glass does not excuse the behavior of the betraying spouse in any way, shape or form. But she does offer up information that explains the psychology of relationships and the people in them and as long as a person is willing to look at themselves as well as their partner and their marriage/relationship, they will have a better understanding of what, how and why affairs happen. And how to heal afterward.

While I did not agree with every single aspect of the book, I did understand what Dr. Glass was saying and I did appreciate that she would present controversial issues by stating what most therapists believe and why she disagreed on the issue – which allows the reader to decide which approach he/she best related to.

While the book does lean heavily toward repairing the relationship rather than bailing out completely, it does offer information and steps for healing for both the couple who reconciles as well as the people who ultimately decide to leave the relationship.

In the end, I walked away from this book with a greater understanding of the how and why affairs occur. I also learned affairs really can just happen, without the cheating spouse going looking for an affair (not to say that never happens, because it does).

*I did not purchase this book, I checked it out from the library.
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