It's been almost a year since John Edwards revealed to the public that he had had an affair with the woman that produced his videos in preparation for his campaign launch, and now his wife has written a book about the whole thing. He came clean to his family before the scandal broke publicly and they decided to work through things. The book explores their journey through the politics and press, and into Elizabeth's battle with cancer, the fear that it created and the stresses placed on the family.

This affair was likely a result of what I call bio-chemical craving for connection - the theory that people experiencing stress, separation or loss often are inclined toward thrill-seeking behavior and this frequently manifests itself in the form of an affair. It's a way of over-riding true emotions by opting for a “high” instead. It's probably the case that Edwards couldn't handle the idea of losing his wife to cancer and so he sought a way to cancel out that fear by deciding to have an affair. It's a way of acting out – not talking out – extreme feelings in a person's life. It's also possible that, subconsciously, he was finding a “backup” for his wife, in the case that she did pass away.

Stress of course, also plays a factor - though his isn't an excuse for an affair and it certainly isn't relegated to politicians – although there's a reason they have a pretty high instance of marital infidelity. Traditionally, men have a harder time talking about their feelings and therefore seek “comfort” by engaging in risky behavior. Once this behavior is discovered – often in the form of an affair – it doesn't have to signal the end of a relationship. Instead, it can be used as a spring board for honest discussion. I believe that just about any marriage or relationship can be saved, and divorce isn't usually the best option – even in cases of unfaithfulness.

Using this as a springboard to honest discussion is crucial if you want to save a relationship.

The important this is to not let the stress get the better of you and to keep engaging eachother in honest conversation. It's hard not to let these conversations escalate, but it's important to keep a neutral tone so that each person feels comfortable talking about their concerns:

*Echo what you hear and validate your partner's feelings – truly listen to the other person and let them hear you repeat their thoughts and concerns back to them. This assures them that you ARE paying attention and not just continuing with your “agenda.”

*Detach from your emotions – try not to let your responses be emotional, but rather focus on the facts and the truth.

Author's Bio: 

After a fair and productive conversation, remember things that each person need to work on, in order to avoid financial infidelity or a need for thrill-seeking behavior.

Dr. Bonnie Eaker Weil ( is internationally acclaimed and one of America's best-known relationship experts; named by New York Magazine as one of the city's top therapists. Join her for a Sex and Money teleconference, June 30th at 4 pm with fellow relationship expert and author, Tammy Nelson:

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Dr. Bonnie has appeared on the The Today show, CBS Saturday Early Show, Oprah!, A Current Affair, The View, Sally, Ricki Lake, Montel, Maury Povich, and Extra. Her work has also been featured in Good Housekeeping, The New York Times, New York Daily News, USA Today, Cosmopolitan, Ladies Home Journal and many others.