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Types of Affairs: Yearning for Youthfulness and Validation (Part 6 of Affairs Series)

The middle-aged man behind the wheel of a shiny new sports car has become comic shorthand for mid-life crisis, and by extension, affairs. But middle aged men aren’t the only ones who have affairs to prove their desirability. Women and men of all ages engage in this behavior as well.

Rationally, a person may know that a new lover, the purchase of an impractical new vehicle, cosmetic procedure, or other outward display of vitality will not restore youth and postpone one’s death. When reacting emotionally through fear of loss, people who are normally rational can become irrational.

Some common reasons affairs begin in search of validation:

FEAR of Aging/Death

Instead of facing the inevitable with maturity, some people seek a partner who makes them feel young. The illusion of youthfulness is difficult to maintain. If the partner serves no further purpose, the affair tends to end quickly.

With the rise in the use of social networking sites such as Facebook, many people get in touch with old classmates to reminisce and to be reminded of their “glory days.” When a couple has little in common beyond their past, they realize there is little to discuss.

Others prefer a younger partner as a way to feel closer to their new partner’s age.

The illusion of youthfulness is difficult to maintain. One only needs to look into the mirror to be reminded of their present condition.

The loss of one’s “good looks”

If one feels their spouse no longer approves of them—particularly their looks—they begin to look for approval from someone else. Even when the spouse provides the acceptance they crave, they may search for more validation of their desirability—particularly if they were accustomed to such attention in their younger days.

It isn’t just aging that makes one fear for the loss of their good looks. Changes in one’s body such as weight gain, weight loss, or pregnancy can change the way a person feels about themselves.

The desire to relive the feelings of attraction and vitality (“I’ve still got IT!”) causes one to behave recklessly, without concern for others they may hurt. Like a youthful rebellion against authority, defiance against social conventions that promote a stable life such as family, church, marriage, commitment are seen as restraints that are wearing them down and aging them; preventing them from getting any “fun” in life.

A Place to Play

Many affairs begin as a playful exchange. One flirts with their target in the hopes that they will “read between the lines” and reciprocate, lowering their chances of rejection—since the one initiating attention has not expressed his or her hopes. This occurs after frequent private exchanges (in person, online, etc.) of thoughts, feelings, and desires in an intimate, playful manner. Adults who feel pressured by stresses in life, or boredom enjoy dispensing with their boring routine to experience giddy, wild abandonment. Persons raised in a strict background will become more susceptible to a fantasy world where deep and provocative emotions are experienced but seldom expressed.

For more help with this issue, contact CrossRoads to make an appointment at 317-842-8881 if you are in the Central Indiana area.