question 4

I have found
my Nice Guy husband
of 20 years has had many emotional affairs. He has continually lied about them and
I feel I will never
get to the bottom
of it. I'm wondering
if there is a con-nection between this behavior and being a Nice Guy, always wanting everybody to like him and keeping
up the facade even
in the face of the
acute trauma of
his wife and children?
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James:
You're dealing with a situation that is as complex as it is painful. I can certainly see why you would make a link between your husband's behavior and the concepts that we're writing about. The anxiety that propels Nice People can lead to compulsive behavior in relationships that includes emotional or sexual affairs, and the subsequent secrecy and betrayal can be devastating to spouses, children, and others.
     Nice People have a tremendous need for love and security that make them especially prone to persistent romantic fantasies. Buried in these fantasies is the hope (usually unconscious) that they will find a Goddess or Prince who will finally satisfy their longing and make life worth living. These underground fantasies can be extremely compelling, leading to addiction-like behavior in some cases. The need to be "nice" further muddies the water, making it even more difficult for Nice People to admit what is really going on, to their spouse or themselves.
     One of the biggest challenges for partners of Nice People is to offer compassion while still expecting accountability. This combination creates an environment that is good for both partners, and gives the relationship its best chance of succeeding.

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