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xxv

An affair is a symptom of an unresolved problem that can be passed on from generation to generation. In an amazingly high proportion of cases, that childhood wound was inflicted by paren-tal adultery; in others, by the early death of a parent, divorce, or other event that left the grownup child feeling abandoned or be-trayed.

Remember:

PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT IN SOME KIND OF PAIN

DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY.

Hoping to ease the ache of his or her emotional emptiness, the adulterer reaches out to new partners just as others reach for food, alcohol, or drugs. I dedicate this book to them and to you.

If you are the adulterer, you must reconnect to those who have hurt you, those whom you have hurt, in order to become credible again and learn to defeat your dangerous legacy.

If you are the betrayed, youmust reunite with those who have hurt you—including your parents—and stand up for yourself to build a deeper, more satisfying love.

I wrote this book because I believe adultery is always a mistake, but also understandable.

We must put aside our Puritan need for punishment, the stocks, and the Scarlet Letter. Adultery threatens us on a deeper level than punishment can heal. For all of us, infidelity raises the terrifying specter of abandonment, a threat so basic to our sense of stability since childhood that we dare not look it in the face.

One of my major goals is to help eliminate the fear, the shame, and the blame surrounding adultery; only then can we deal with the real reasons it happens and lessen the terrible trauma it inflicts.

With enough love, hard work, understanding, and com-mitment, adulterous patterns can be broken. We can find healthy ways to deal with our emotional pain. We can learn to fight fairly, to forgive, and to achieve a greater intimacy. We can

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