Love and family
14 October 2021, Anna
Rationalization works hand in hand with denial to alter our sense of reality and make us less and less able to recognize that we are heading for a fall.
There are twelve common stages that usually occur in sequence as a relationship progresses towards an adulterous affair. These stages often occur over a long period of time, but a man and a woman can go through several stages of a relationship during the same evening. By being aware of these stages, it will help us recognize what might be going on with us so that we can stop the process before we get stuck over the head.
Our two enemies here are rationalization and denial. We rationalize when we give acceptable reasons for unacceptable behaviors, thoughts and feelings. Denial is often our intense refusal to acknowledge the truth about our behaviors, thoughts and feelings.
A brother shared with me how far rationalization can be from reason.
A woman thought that God understood and accepted her many adventures because, after all, he was the one who created her with this need to have other men.
One man said, “That’s okay, because every time we have sex we end with prayer together.”
Rationalization works hand in hand with denial to alter our sense of reality and make us less and less able to recognize that we are heading for a fall. It is amazing how far we can explain and justify our sinful behavior. Rationalization and denial play a role at every step of the process of involvement.
1. The open state
The first stage is emotional opening. When we detect a slight inclination to distance ourselves from the relationship with the woman we love, we can take action to protect ourselves during this time of vulnerability. We can strive to understand what is happening to us and focus our energy on regaining full health in our relationship.
2. The state of vigilance
This second stage in an adventure in process is the growing awareness of a particular person in the field of our relationships. We just start by thinking about her occasionally. Innocent thoughts can turn into fantasies about her. As it becomes more present in our conscious thoughts, it begins to appear in our dreams as well. Dreams are often filled with sexual fantasies. Sometimes a man at this stage will take photographs of groups where this woman is present at a reception or a family reunion or on vacation. The man will often come back to contemplate the photos. It is not unusual for the man at this point to try to mentally capture the woman who is emerging as a strong center of interest. Masturbation is common during fantasies about this woman. The rationalization developed at this point is that there is nothing wrong with fantasizing. It is very human.
3. Innocent encounters
During the time of the other woman's awakened consciousness, there can be some truly innocent, unexpected encounters, often legitimate business contacts that can potentially build a relationship. At this point there may be a bit of flirtation developing, prolonged eye contact, seemingly harmless exchange of sexual allusions, seductive body language. The two people involved at this point would deny any real interest in each other.
4. Intentional encounters
Meetings happen frequently and seem to happen by accident when in reality a person acts in a way that increases the chances of contact. This stage is illustrated in a humorous way in the movies. A man is shown waiting for hours on a street corner. When the woman appears, he walks over to her and feigns surprise as if she is the last person in the world he expected to see. In real life this stage could be humorous if it wasn't so sad. A teenager takes particular pleasure in this kind of game. It proves that the excitement produced by the attraction of the opposite sex can subjugate our rational side. Sexual attraction can easily make us crazy. At this point a person enters a real danger zone.
5. The lasting time spent together in public places
The man and woman now spend time together when they are in groups. They tend to shut themselves off from others by turning away from the group and avoiding eye contact with others. There is a growing common interest at this point. Topics of conversation include personal history, interests in sports, politics, and business. Observant people might notice something unusual about the relationship at this point. I had the experience of trying to get into a conversation between a man and a woman at this point and was treated like an unwanted intruder. But the man and woman will continue to deny any suggestion that what is going on between them is more than any normal adult relationship. The man thinks, “It's okay to focus my attention on her. Nothing can happen. We are with other people.”
6. The lasting time spent alone together in public places
The man and woman quickly realize that they are still together long after the others are gone. There is now a growing excitement being the two of them alone together. It's an attractive, seductive feeling. The conversation changes the subject, we move from ideas to feelings. The loving care is shared by both. By means of conversation there is an entrance into private and personal areas. The man and woman still feel okay about their relationship because the dating started in public.
7. Intentional isolation
Now the man and woman are beginning to plan alone times for “legitimate” purposes. The man asks the woman if she can meet with him to help him sort out his marital problems. Or the woman asks the man to stay after office hours to lend her expertise on a certain project that she is trying to finalize. The couple will again deny any suggestion that their relationship isn't completely appropriate. At home, this man's wife may be able to notice a decline in verbal and non-verbal communication. He is suddenly more detached, cold, and almost formal in his relationship with her. There are incomplete phone calls.
I stayed with a couple recently while doing some sort of work at their church. The husband arrived at the home on Friday exhausted from his work. He went straight to bed and slept about an hour and a half. Then he would get up, take a quick bite and go back to work. He also worked on Saturday afternoons and he also had to work on Sunday. When he was at home I felt he was deeply disturbed. He was distant and did not get involved in conversations around him. His wife was worried for him to see him working so hard at night and seeing the stress he imposed on himself. She often talked to him about finding another job that wouldn't take so much of her time. She worried about her health. I was not surprised to learn from her a few months later that her husband had been involved in a secret affair and had left home.
8. Isolation for fun
Now the man and woman are planning time alone for the simple joy of being together. The relationship becomes like a youthful euphoria. They share an exciting and adventurous experience together. There is more privacy. The man and the woman touch each other. There is a warm touch on the hand, the arm or the hand sliding around the waist. During this stage the bride will realize that there are large portions of time that are not warranted. There will be a marked drop in the pleasant times spent in marriage. The man and woman will continue to rationalize their relationship by saying that adults need good friends of the opposite sex. There is nothing wrong with having good friends.
9. Affectionate hugs
Secret desires for each other become intense. The hugs drag on. There are more and more touches and caresses for pleasure. Childish games like tickling and wrestling often occur at this stage to increase physical contact.
The rationalization here is that there is nothing wrong with physically expressing support for each other. At the same time with their spouse, there will be a decline in affectionate hugs and physical contact.
10. Passionate hugs
Affectionate touches and embraces lead to passionate discussions. When alcohol kicks in, a couple moves quickly through these stages. Anything that reduces inhibition helps to increase physical desire and its expression. The couple will further rationalize by saying it is okay to let yourself be stimulated by the other because it's innocent and unplanned. “On the other hand, my wife doesn't make me feel like that anymore,” the man will think.
The couple engages in sexual relations. Denial is eliminated at this point. There is no way they can deny the reality of what is happening between them.
Here, the man and the woman admit to themselves and to each other that they really have an affair together. If they continue their relationship from this point, it is the result of mutual consent. Here the emotional investment in adventure is at its peak, and the emotional investment in marriage is at its lowest point. At this point, the wife is almost always aware of it. Her husband is no longer at home. He frequently left all night without explaining himself. He may even find a creative way to allow his wife to experience adventure. The strain of leading a double life is usually too great for a person to take it for long.
Is this the end of the story? Will the man and the woman live happily to the end? No. The story of an adventure is not a comedy, it is a tragedy.
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