Part 1 – Affairs and Attractions

Issue 110 –

Part 1 – Affairs and Attractions 


Hal & Sidra Stone

 There  is a most memorable  interchange  in the Kazantzakis novel, Zorba the Greek. Zorba is talking to the narrator  of the book, a rational  writer  who is fearful about getting  into a relationship with the deliciously attractive village widow. He says: “You don’t want any trouble!  And pray, what do you want, then? Life is trouble,  death,  no.”

This  pretty  much  sums up the question  of attractions and affairs in primary  relationship.  If we are alive, we are going  to  be attracted  to people  on many  different  levels. We may be drawn physically,  emotionally,  psychologically, spiritually,  or any combination of the above. How we handle these attractions is one of the most complex issues of primary relationship.

 So, we are bound to agree with Zorba.  Life is trouble;  death  is not.  You will see, however, how a  knowledge of the selves and of bonding patterns  can help you to navigate in these particularly  difficult waters and how these, too, can help you to use your relationships  as teachers.

 To begin with,  our different  selves feel very differently from  one  another  when  it  comes  to  our  attractions  and affairs. Our  sexual and lustful selves are generally not at all monogamous;  they  are frequently  attracted  to other  partners, and they generally want to be sexually involved.

 Our free spirit, in a similar fashion, wants to do whatever it wants to do whenever  it wants  to do it.  It does not  like to feel imprisoned  by the boundaries  of relationship.

Our  selfish side wants  to do what  gives it pleasure.

Our  rational  and “New Age” sides may feel that jealousy is inappropriate,  that personal freedom is everything,  and for this reason anything that anyone does is just fine. For these selves, life should be excitingly spontaneous,  free of constraints,  and unconcerned with consequences.

 On the other  hand,  our inner conservative wants us to have nothing  to  do  with  affairs  and,  depending   on  our background,  might even be judgmental if there is any hint of attractions.

The responsible parts of ourselves will generally reject any kind of feeling or behavior that would even suggest that we might not be behaving responsibly in our primary relationship.

The  good father and good mother  also would have a difficult time with  outside  involvements.

We might also have a strong ethical side that rejects affairs, and possibly even a strong control  side that refuses to allow any kind of attraction  to be experienced.

We have only just begun to see how complicated this can become.  In a wonderful  Catch-22 fashion,  our inner critic may criticize us because we are having affairs or even feeling attractions.  It might,  however, also criticize us because we are not  feeling attractions  or because we do not  have the courage to have affairs.

We can even be drawn  into affairs without  feeling particularly attracted.  Our  pleaser can involve us in an affair for no other reason than the fact that he or she could not say no, because this might mean hurting  the other  person.

The  son or  daughter  side of us  might  get involved to have someone take care of us, and the power side might get involved largely to dominate someone else.

Along with  all of  these  is the  driving  power  of  our  sexuality, amplified and supported  by many of these different  selves.

 On yet another level, we might find ourselves drawn to someone who touches a very deep soul space in us or brings forth intense feelings of love that we have never experienced before.

Our inner child may feel sparked by someone outside of our primary  relationship.  Our magical child may be cued off by  someone  with  a rich  imagination  and  an intuitive nature.  Our  playful child might be met by someone who is capable of bringing out this part of ourselves.

Many of our selves, then, may be powerfully attracted to the  idea of an affair.  However,  one of the most  powerful selves that  needs  to be  considered  in  the  whole  issue of attractions  and affairs is the vulnerable child, and he or she has a whole different  kind of experience of this matter.

A fine kettle of fish! How are any of us even to begin to deal with these intricacies of the human psyche? Where can we possibly turn to try to sort out these complex conflicts and begin to make decisions  that truly  represent  who we are, rather  than  decisions that represent  the automatic  and unconscious responses of the primary  selves who are currently running  the show?

The more aware we are of these different selves, the more direct experience we have of them, the more real choice we have about what we do in life. It is not up to us to tell you how to live your life and what is the right or wrong way to behave. What we can say is that the more awareness and experience you have of who you are, the better off you will be in making these decisions, and the more you will be in control of your life and your environment.

Let us begin our examination of attractions and affairs from the standpoint  of the vulnerable child. We have chosen to start with the child because of its very important  place in relationship in general and primary  relationship  in particular.