Windows and Walls: Understanding Affairs in Relationships

‘Windows and walls’ is an insightful metaphor proposed by the highly-regarded psychologist Dr Shirley Glass to understand boundaries within a committed relationship. Her ‘windows and walls’ idea offers an effective method to grasp the emotional borders in relationships and delivers meaningful perspectives on the dynamics of affairs.

What does ‘Windows and Walls’ mean?

Within a healthy, committed relationship, Dr Glass’s metaphor suggests a wall separating the individual in the relationship from the rest of the world. This wall safeguards the sacredness of the partnership. The window between the couple symbolizes an open space for honest communication, transparency, trust, friendship and intimacy.

The wall in this symbolic framework isn’t intended to isolate the partners from the world. But rather protect the unique emotional connection they have cultivated. The wall signifies a mutual agreement between the partners, where they consciously choose not to allow external factors or relationships to infringe upon their emotional intimacy. Respecting this ‘wall’ is recognizing and honouring the exclusivity of their shared emotional space, that they come only to one another to meet their core emotional intimacy needs.

Simultaneously, the window in this metaphor represents open and transparent communication between the partners. This window serves as a crucial portal through which trust, understanding, and intimacy flow freely. It means the mutual willingness of the partners to share their thoughts, feelings, hopes, and fears, thereby seeking emotional connection from one another. Through this ‘window’, partners maintain their emotional proximity, even when physical distance may exist.

Hows does it apply to affairs?

During an affair, these symbolic windows and walls undergo a transformative shift. The protective wall, previously guarding the relationship, is erected between the partners, creating a barrier to communication and shared trust. The window, which formerly facilitated open communication within the relationship, now opens to an outsider involved in the affair.

It’s important to emphasize that affairs do not emerge in isolation. They often culminate in a gradual process involving increasing emotional disconnection in the relationship. This shift in walls and windows often stems from accumulated resentment, feelings of neglect, and dwindling intimacy. When partners start feeling emotionally disconnected from each other, they may seek connections elsewhere, paving the way for an affair.

This metaphorical transition in windows and walls offers valuable insight into the mechanisms of affairs. It serves as a reminder to keep the channels of communication within the relationship transparent and active, put high importance on mutual respect, and strive to prevent emotional disconnection continually. Understanding this metaphor and its implications can empower individuals to make more conscious efforts to uphold the sanctity of their relationships.

I wish you all the best.

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