What’s Done in the Dark:
Affair-Proofing and Recovery from Infidelity
A Self-Help Guide for Couples

Engagement Affairs

May 4, 2017

Engagement Affairs


D Charles Williams, PhD

 An excerpt from……WHAT’S DONE IN THE DARK: Affair-Proofing and Recovery from Infidelity-A Self Help Guide for Couples (2017)

Sid and Leslie had dated while in college. Sid graduated first and took a job in another city while Leslie finished her degree. It was difficult being away from each other, but they tried to see one another monthly. During her last year of college, they became engaged and were planning to get married upon graduating. On two occasions during her last semester of school, she was out with friends at a club, having wine and socializing, and ended up kissing different guys who were flirting with her.

 Engagement affairs often happen with younger people in their twenties or thirties and generally represent a fear of commitment. This type of affair may reflect ambivalence and doubt about getting married or the person they are marrying. Sometimes it involves regret about the prospect of never being with another person again besides their future spouse. These affairs sometimes occur during bachelor or bachelorette weekends, or they may involve a final fling with an old ex.

On occasion, it might result from the reaction of a secret admirer who feels they have one last chance to express their unrequited love. It may also be the result of someone coveting the relationship someone else has and wanting it for themselves. This is often referred to as partner poaching. If the encounter is discovered, the engagement could be off. These incidents always damage the young couple’s first year of marriage, whether detected or not, because of the doubt they generate within the cheating party.

Tom and Carol had dated for two years and were engaged to be married in ten months. Over the holidays, Tom went home to visit his parents and ran into an old girlfriend he had broken up with in college while out with some buddies. She had heard he was engaged, but she still had feelings for him. After a few drinks, they went to her apartment and slept together. Tom immediately regretted his actions but rationalized that it was just one final fling before he was with one person forever. After Tom’s return, Carol found a text on Tom’s phone from the other woman that said, “I’ll never forget that night together.”


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