6. Private lingering - Soon the man & the woman find that they are still together long after the others have left. Conversation shifts from ideas to feelings. Caring is shared. Conversation drifts into private and personal areas. They still feel fine about the relationship because the meetings begin in public.
7. Purposeful isolating - Now the man & the woman begin to plan times alone for "legitimate" purposes. They may request the other to work on special projects at work that require them being alone or work late together. He may ask her to help him sort out his marital problems. They still deny any suggestions that their relationship is not completely appropriate. At home, his wife notices a decrease in verbal & nonverbal communication. He seems suddenly detached, cool, almost formal in his relating. There may be uncompleted phone calls.
8. Pleasurable isolating - Now the man & the woman are planning times alone with each other for the sheer enjoyment of being together. The relationship takes on a youthful euphoria. There is a shared experience of excitement and adventure with more intimacy occurring. There is more touching. His spouse notices that there are long blocks of time that are unaccounted for. There is a noticeable decrease in pleasurable times in the marriage. The relationship is still rationalized: "It's OK to have good friends of the opposite sex, there is nothing wrong with being close friends. After all, she understands me better than my wife."
9. Affectionate embracing - There is embracing without letting go. There is increased touching and playful caressing. Childish games like tickling and wrestling are often played at this stage to increase physical contact. The rationalization is that there is nothing wrong with physically expressing support for one another. At the same time, affectionate embracing and physical contact decreases with his wife.
10. Passionate embracing - Affectionate touching and embracing lead to passionate interchanges. The couple will still rationalize and say that it is fine to get aroused because it is innocent and unplanned, "Besides, my wife no longer makes me feel this way."
11. Capitulation - The couple gives in to sexual intercourse. Denial is eliminated at this stage. There is no way to deny the reality of what they have done.
12. Acceptance - Here they finally admit to themselves that they are in the throes of an affair. If they continue, it is definitely a conscious choice. The emotional investment in the affair is at its peak and the emotional investment in the marriage is at its lowest. The man may find creative ways for his wife to discover the affair. The tension of living a double life is usually too much for someone to bear for very long.
Is this the end of the story? Do the man and woman live happily ever after? Nope. The story of an affair is not a comedy. It is a huge tragedy with unbelievable fallout and consequences.
Tomorrow, we will discuss some of these consequences.
Much of this information is taken from the book, TEMPTATIONS MEN FACE