Relationship Threats: Jane & Jerry

"There are so many different ways to cheat. People think infidelity is the way to cheat. I think it's sometimes far worse to emotionally cheat on somebody."  -- Sandra Bullock

I wanted to use this week to talk about the threats to modern relationships, the most obvious being infidelity.

There is a lot of speculation about what percent of intimate relationships are damaged by affairs surveys report a low of 25% to a high of 70%. We consider an affair to be a relationship that takes resources, time, energy, money, or sex, away from the primary relationship.

There are different types of infidelity ranging sex affairs (just for the fun of it) to all-consuming love affairs.

Jane and Jerry has been together 28 years and their kids were in college. Life is good for them. They have a good sex life, enough money, friends, and they enjoy spending time together playing tennis, playing cards with friends, and hiking.

Jane had an uneasy feeling about Sarah and Jerry the first time she saw them together. It wasn't anything they said or did, it was just a niggly feeling. A few weeks later, Jerry asked Jane if they could invite Sarah and her husband over for dinner. Jane surprised herself when she asked Jerry, "Are you having an affair with Sarah?" Jerry, also surprised by the question, said, "Of course not."

Sarah and her husband came to dinner and Jerry was different.  It was hard for Jane to put her finger on, but she was sure there was something between Sarah and Jerry that she has never noticed before. He seemed more of an "entertainer" than usual, laughing a little too much, being very attentive to both Sarah and her husband. Of course this was hardly proof of anything. Maybe she was imagining it.

But she could not put it out of her mind, so the next time he went to play tennis with a "guy' friend, she followed him. She thought Sarah would be the one he was playing tennis with, but what she did not expect was to see Sarah bop out of her car, fall into Jerry's car, and embrace in a kiss that seemed to last forever.

For more relationship advice, check out the book I wrote with Dr. Pepper Schwartz, Snap Strategies for Couples: 40 Fast Fixes for Everyday Relationship Pitfalls.  And check out the second half of the story tomorrow!