I like the way Dr. Tammy Nelson describes the life phases of a monogamous relationship. Beginning phases are attraction and longing which are usually called ‘falling in love….. then it’s on to attachment and safety –a placid time of low anxiety where partners feel a secure foundation and can blossom individually. But then comes boredom – routine sex, child focused lives and predictability often lays the fertile ground for an affair or an outside attraction. A detachment phase ensues where the marriage and partner are scrutinized and found lacking – usually before they are even aware it is happening and have a chance to respond and perhaps grow. This is the crisis which acts as a wake up call for the marriage and then reassessment that hopefully takes place as much with self examination as criticism of the partner. An affair is not necessarily caused by faults in the relationship or partner – I believe it is more often a matter of individual development and a lack of courage to be honest with another.