One of the key tenants of a solid marriage is trustworthiness. Physical and/or emotional affairs and even flirting (which suggests you are available) create mistrust. All attention to another person outside of the marriage where sharing of our relationship is created is infidelity. Men and women can be jealous over different things. Men certainly get upset when their partners have sex with another man, and women get upset when men involve themselves in emotionally satisfying connections with another woman.
Affairs can start anywhere it seems. The most prevalent area of infidelity in a marriage is in office relationships. And, now that women are working outside the home unfaithful wives are having affairs to a greater degree than they were in the 80’s and 90’s. In Dr. Shirley P. Glass’ clinical sample, 55 percent of husbands and 50 percent of wives who had affairs at the work setting had not had a previous affair. She continues,
“Almost every unfaithful spouse among my clinical couples was involved with someone who was either unmarried or was already detaching from an unhappy relationship.”
The office environment provides an atmosphere for picking up physical cues of desire and connection; we feel understood. However, we can now arrange and sustain affairs over the internet without any physical connection. The internet creates emotional intimacy, sexual chemistry, and secrecy. Infidelity can be maintained with the click of a mouse connecting to a willing participant who’s ready to commit to a new sense of excitement. The flood of neurochemicals is immediate and intense; we’re stoned on possibility. Within the internet you can be anything you want; fantasies abound. We can take on false identities and ride the wave of erotic feelings and excitement; to be and feel desired. Once you establish the deep passion that the fantasy creates you can easily move this to the actual act of sex with both people ready and the passion flowing to individual needs. You get what your heart desires.
The other day a visitor in our home said they were bored and immediately jumped to the internet for connection. Some of us have become impatient to silence. We’ve lost the connection to the benefits of meditation, going for a walk, talking to our partners (Dr. John Gottman recently suggested that partners talk for 36 hours a month but those discussions centred around ‘to do’ lists), connecting to Nature, going to a movie, volunteering, joining a book club or association that supports your hobby. The internet is an enticing chasm of incredible positives as well as extreme negatives. Knowing the difference is important.
Tips for avoiding fatal attractions that could lead to infidelity:
Spend some time each evening talking to your partner about their day.
If possible and accepted, talk to each other over the making of dinner.
Hug for 20 seconds and kiss for 6 seconds leaving and entering the relationship.
If you have children spend some quality time with them away from the television.
We are attracted to other people but that doesn’t mean we need to act on that attraction. Keep friends as friends. Keep work relationships strictly for work.
Ignore the pull to fantasize about the other person.
If you flirt, just stop it. Flirting is a direct signal that you are available and receptive to advances.
Avoid getting into situations which could become compromising. Reject such invitations.
If a friend is suffering with a poor marriage or relationship direct them for counselling. Your emotional involvement is simply too risky.
For more information on this subject I recommend Dr. Shirley P. Glass’ book: Not “Just Friends” rebuilding trust and recovering your sanity after infidelity.
Are you concerned about infidelity within your relationship? Contact Dennis Paget today for guidance with rebuilding trust in your relationship.