Affairs just like life experiences start off in their own unique way with each one feeling entirely different, having it’s own special circumstances. Some affairs start off with one or both parties perception he or she has been abandoned either emotionally, physically, or sexually. There in lies the problem, one party may begin the process of emotionally disconnecting from the other before communicating there is even a problem, making the assumption the other should “know” he or she is unhappy, I am happy with the content of the relationship so I am confident the other party is as well, or if anything was wrong the other spouse would say something. This lack of communication can lead to confusion, sadness, and depression, with one or both parties seeking to resolve the unpleasant feelings by reaching out externally rather than internally. It is vital when these feelings begin to discuss them openly and honestly to ensure the other spouse is aware of the mounting tensions in the relationship. No one has the capacity to know the auspice of the mind of another, therefore, communication should be verbal instead of nonverbal.
A good relationship and marriage should include boundaries that do not allow for much outside influences. Both parties must safe-guard the relationship especially if they desire to preserve and build upon it. Too often affairs begin “harmlessly”, with discussions or “friendships” with another individual that includes intimate conversations (these conversations do not have to be intimate in nature they can include personal conversations that have not been conveyed to your spouse). Contrary to belief emotional affairs can be more damaging to a marriage than a sexual affair. Emotional infidelity is defined when one partner goes outside the primary relationship to get his or her emotional needs met — and it is more common and more damaging than you might imagine. Society places an inordinate amount of importance on sex in a relationship, but it is really the emotional and not the physical connection that is so hard to build. One typically does not have to work too hard to build upon a sexual connection, either it is there or it isn’t. As human beings we actually have a propensity and or innate desire for sex, and it doesn’t take much for us to give in to our impulses. Overwhelming feelings of perceived abandonment and neglect can cause us to become irrational and act out sexually. Married parties should not view intimate acts as just intimate acts, which neither builds or sustains a connection.
Affairs like most things can be prevented, once a party or both parties begin to feel neglected, unsatisfied, or resentful in a relationship it is vital to sit down with your spouse to discuss and explore these feelings. Refrain from seeking opinions about personal issues from another “woman or man”, as you know no one can truly answer how they would respond or the actions they take unless they themselves are in that situation. Avoid “innocent” interactions or conversations with another individual that your spouse does not know about. Last but certainly not least do not discuss your spouse in an unflattering manner with the person you are “attracted to”, have a perceived “emotional connection” with, someone your spouse doesn’t know, or someone you have inflexible boundaries with.
Contributing Author: Terri Allen, Director of Nursing Services.