Outside influences

August 20, 1993

The reasons people engage in extramarital affairs fall into three main categories, says Peggy Vaughan, author of "The Monogamy Myth" and "Beyond Affairs":

* They are pushed into affairs by boredom in their marriage or the wish to escape a relationship that is not fulfilling.

* They are pulled into affairs by the lure of excitement, novelty, physical attraction or by falling in love.

* Society glorifies and is fascinated by affairs. Sex is used to sell everything from cars to clothes, Ms. Vaughan says.

Society also fosters a code of secrecy associated with affairs that allows people to think that they won't get caught and no one will get hurt.

"You can't understand what happened by just looking at yourself and your partner," Ms. Vaughan says. "There is more than just a personal failure or failure of a marriage at work."

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