Emil Harker: Why do People Cheat?

Emil Harker.png
Emil Harker.png

(KUTV) Salt Lake City - Anyone who's ever been cheated on has wondered: "Why?" Marriage & Family Therapist, Emil Harker, joined Kari & Brooke on Fresh Living to try to explain how and why people have affairs.

Emil writes:

"The underpinnings of infidelity have to do with two paradoxical characteristics that are fatal flaws in the integrity of the individual that has an affair. The first flaw is insecurity and the second is arrogance. Normally you would think that these two characteristics aren’t shared in the same person. But this is the unique combination of people that have affairs. First, the insecurity is manifest by their seeking out the attention of others. They are trying to fill a void in their lives and open themselves up for the attention of someone else. Second, arrogance. Arrogance is manifest by the idea that they can handle situations where there is the potential for attraction. They use rationalization and minimization to give themselves permission to entertain and even seek the attention of someone other than their spouse. “I can handle this.” “What is wrong with having a friend of the opposite sex?” And so the stories continue.

This is the fatal flaw in the integrity of the individual. For when the opportunity arises, and the stress of the marital commitments ensues, the boundary bends then breaks. Thus the infidelity is the result of weak integrity and poor boundaries.

Seven signs of infidelity:

  1. Odd or unaccounted time spent. Three hours at the gym, running odd errands that take too long. Change in work hours etc. Helping a friend on a project.
  2. Guarding their phone. Keep it with them always.
  3. You don’t know their passcode to their phone or their computer or email.
  4. They leave to send texts, they put their phone down when you walk in the room.
  5. When questioned they get incredulous or defensive.
  6. You aren’t feeling pursued by your spouse.
  7. They have an interest in new friends or spending time with others.

Three rules to prevent an affair:

  1. Work on your marriage. If you are not feeling pursued by your spouse, find out why and then do something about it. The only security I trust as a therapist is the pattern of being pursued.
  2. Good communication and transparency. At all times you should know what the other person is doing and where they are.
  3. Avoid single friendships with people who are: opposite sex and same sexual orientation; Are attractive; within the attractive partner age range."

You can get more advice from Emil by going to EmilHarker.com.