Affairs – It’s all in the mind | Rebecca Jane column

Having spent 9 years investigating hundreds, if not thousands of affairs. The psychology and science behind them has always fascinated me. I watch destruction created all around, the worst types of betrayal imaginable and yet, some people are serial offenders.

By Rebecca Jane
Wednesday, 26th January 2022, 3:45 pm
Rebecca Jane
Rebecca Jane

One phrase that rang true for me is that we need to stop thinking of romance, love and affection as ‘emotions’.

These words aren’t just ‘a feeling’, they are drivers of human behaviour. Built deep in to the core of our souls, propelling us forward.

Our brains are scientifically wired to see love and affection as rewards.

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Imagine ‘love’ is one million pounds. All you have to do to get the million pounds is put in a bit of effort, reciprocate a feeling or two and boom, the money is in your account.

Love is the ultimate goal, and some people will do anything to get it. Some people will cross mountains and oceans for a million pounds, some people wouldn’t go over a bridge in front of them. Those people are already millionaires, they don’t need to cross the bridge.

What if you’ve been a millionaire, you’ve experienced the highs it brings but lately, your account is dwindling. You see the million pounds over that bridge, it’s staring you in the face, you just have to make a move.

It’s the same with relationships. You think the grass is greener, so you may as well give it a go. Right? Problem is, the million pounds over the bridge could be monopoly money, or it could be everything you ever wanted. The chance of infinite happiness is a driver many find too hard to turn down.

Temptation is a hard thing to turn down, but then we throw chemicals into the mix.

Epinephrine is making your heart race, dopamine is kicking in by already rewarding you with the sight of the million pounds, serotonin is fired up and ready to go, it is making you feel GREAT, it’s making you obsess over the million pounds and you’re basically salivating at the mouth by now!

Then chemical PEA takes over the show, flooding your brain with information at high speed, triggering even higher amounts of attraction and won’t give you any respite until you act on the impulse to take the cash and run.

You start by toying with the idea. Then you take £10, £100, £1000 and you’ve thoroughly enjoyed the use of money you haven’t even worked for, you’re ready to take the whole million. It’s a game, you’re constantly being rewarded and you’re constantly on your toes.

Affairs are literally a whirlwind of chemicals, flooding the brain with the most incredible amount of feelings and for a lot of people, that’s pretty hard to fight back.

Next up, we have a new round called, ‘the mind battle’. Are you happy in your relationship? Could this be everything you’ve been waiting your whole life for? Is this person ‘the one’? Are you being tricked by all the chemicals flooding your mind right now, or were you tricked with chemicals when you met your first partner? The truth is, there is no right or wrong to any of those questions. It’s literally anyone’s guess.

The beginning, middle or end of any affair is nothing short of a mental assault course. There are epic highs, but there are also epic lows.

An ‘affair’ is just not a simple act.

Very few people have one off occurrences, or impulsive events. They’re often highly thought out, planned - for years in advance and the risks - well, immense!

Anyone who risks their home, family, children, finances, cars, businesses, reputations and more importantly the feelings of someone they once committed to, has to be doing so for some seriously impactful reasons!

I took the judgement out of people having affairs many years ago. I heard and saw so many stories, some were entirely inexcusable and some just made sense.

When I entered the world of law, many divorcing couples used to go to extreme lengths in divorce papers to prove infidelity on one side. They believed it would have financial repercussions on the guilty party, it doesn’t.

Courts take the view that two people cause a marriage to break down and therefore, when it comes to affairs in divorce, there is no judgement.

We’re human. We get things wrong, and we get things very right.

On a personal note, I’ve had unfaithful partners and whilst it was deeply traumatic at the time, I’m nothing but grateful. They did me a favour. They weren’t right for me, and why would anyone want to shackle themselves to a lifetime of upset and under appreciation.

If you’re in an ‘affair predicament’ - I get it. The chemicals are in overdrive and the bridge over there, it might take you somewhere astounding.

Truly incredible, amazing, the best thing you’ve ever felt, that person may very well be your soul mate and the universe is leading you to one incredible life.

Although. That bridge over there, by the time you get there, your million pounds may already be gone.

Was it a risk worth taking?