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Cascade of Events for Breaking Agreements

Cascade of Events for Breaking Agreements


82% of affairs among monogamous partnerships are not seated in lust, rather they are from hurt or fear. Potential partners are already acquaintances, and are characterized by 


  • Secrecy
  • Emotional intimacy
  • Sexual chemistry. 


For the partner who commits to agreement breaking, there is often a cascade of events that happen before. 


Precursor thoughts


Thoughts that lead to agreement breaking are similar  to:

  • Unfavorably judging a behavior exchange
  • Comparing with real or imagined alternatives
  • “I can do better with somebody else”


Cascading Events

  1. Turning away or against partner’s bids.
  2. Make negative comparisons of partner versus others while turning away or against partner’s bid.
  3. Feel like the partner is not “there for me” (86% turning away, 33% turning toward), increasing emotional distance
  4. More emotional flooding occurs with negative events.
  5. Conflict absorbing state, can’t resolve conflict. Repair attempts do not work or are not attempted.
  6. Cycles of blow ups and conflict avoidance, suppressing negative effects of conflict.
  7. Avoids self disclosure leading to secrets and deceptions.
  8. Bidding for attunement declines.
  9. Invest less in relationships, loneliness increases.
  10. Less dependence on relationships to get needs met. Confiding in others, not partner.
  11. Less sacrificing. Substituting, finding “what’s not there” elsewhere.
  12. Maximizing a partner’s negative traits, defensiveness begins.
  13. Minimizing partner’s positive traits. Criticism begins. Shared meaning erodes. Begin taking less or no responsibility for problems.
  14. Trashing vs. cherishing begins. Shared meaning erodes more.
  15. Trashing partner to others, the story of us goes negative.
  16. Builds resentment. Sees partner as selfish. Stonewalling starts.
  17. More loneliness, beginning vulnerability to other relationships.
  18. Partner refusing sex becomes punishing leading to low sexual desire. Porn use may increase.
  19. Less pro-relationship thoughts, more anti-relationship thoughts 
  20. Starts innocent new secret liaisons.
  21. Reverses walls & windows (Shirley Glass), building a metaphorical fence between self and partner.
  22. Keeping more and more secrets from partner, deception increases.
  23. Actively turning toward others for needs, seeking what’s not in a relationship.
  24. Crossing boundaries. Real betrayal unfolds. Deceptions become a way of life. Risky.

Have any thoughts, questions, suggestions, or comments on this article? Wondering how to this can be applied, modified, or adapted to your polyamorous, swinging, kink/ BDSM, or otherwise interesting relationship? Feel free to reach out to us here.