Book Review: Not “Just Friends” by Shirley P. Glass and Jean Coppock Staeheli

Posted by on Sep 15, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Book Review: Not “Just Friends” by Shirley P. Glass and Jean Coppock Staeheli

Not “Just Friends”: Rebuilding Trust and Recovering Your Sanity After Infidelity, addresses affairs that start with people who are not “just friends.”

Historically, most affairs were thought to involve men who sought sex with partners outside their primary relationship. There’s been a real shift in recent decades, and now men are as likely as a women to have affairs that begin with an emotional connection, and later leads to physical intimacy.

One of the major points of this book is this:

Love alone will not protect your relationship from an emotional affair.

“Most people mistakenly think it is possible to prevent affairs by being loving and dedicated to one’s partner. I call this the Prevention Myth, because there is no evidence to support it…You also have to exercise awareness of the appropriate boundaries at work and in your friendships,” writes Ms. Glass.

According to the book, an affair is defined as “any relationship with someone other than your partner that involves emotional intimacy, secrecy, and sexual chemistry.”

In other words, it doesn’t have to involve physical contact– physical attraction is enough.

Not Just Friends is a guide for couples in committed relationships who genuinely want to recover from the damage that is caused by an affair, and for those who are ready to do that type of work.

  • The first part of the book describes in detail how affairs develop, explaining the transition from a platonic friendship, to a fully-involved extramarital relationship. The authors write about the different stages that take place, as a transition happens.
  • The second part of the book addresses the damage caused by the affairs. The authors conceptualize affairs as a form of trauma. The various chapters in this section present information like how the affair is revealed, dealing with the immediate aftermath, and normal ambivalence. This section also looks at whether to remain in the primary relationship, and how to begin the process of minimizing and repairing damage.
  • The third part of the book involves finding meaning in what happened — especially identifying some of the factors that made the relationship vulnerable.
  • The fourth part of the book is dedicated to healing: How to heal together as a couple and strengthen the relationship, forgiveness, and for those who healing alone is the focus.

The primary benefits of Not Just Friends include the following:

  • The authors provided detailed information based on research. The information is drawn from study. The reader can be secure in the  knowledge presented.
  • The information contained is applicable to relationships of all kinds, regardless of sexual orientation.
  • One of the book’s best features is that it discusses affairs from all perspectives, including the betrayed partner, the involved partner and the affair partner. The impact of the affair, and subsequent recovery, are addressed equally for each person.
  • A ton of resources, case studies, examples, and quizzes are provided to help readers. There is even a quick-use guide at the end for substantive application and reference.
  • Finally, the book offers very specific suggestions for recovery and practical prevention.

There were only a couple of detractions from the book in my view:

  • As the book was published in 2004, the information is a bit dated.
  • Also, it should be understood that recovery from an affair is a lengthy, complicated, and emotional process. Although Glass and Staeheli do the job of describing the comprehensive process of working through affair-related issues, it may be hard for couples who are in that much distress to implement the book’s strategies on their own.

Overall, the book is a great source of information for couples dealing with an affair.

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