How can you love your spouse and be thinking about having an affair? Is that even possible? The whole thing is super confusing.
Well, believe it or not, there may be a logical explanation.
Esther Perel, author of Mating in Captivity, says couples need both closeness and distance to sustain a level of sexual intimacy or gratification.
Many couples have been together 24/7 with very little time apart since the pandemic began. Time apart helps create sexual energy while you think about being with your spouse later in the day.
COVID has taken away a lot of the opportunity for anticipation. With the lowered level of sexual energy, many couples are bored. And they may not feel much attraction toward each other at all.
Since our brains crave novelty and excitement, the lackluster sexual energy at home may open the door to looking elsewhere for that excitement you used to experience with your spouse.
If you love your spouse, but you’re thinking about having an affair, consider these things…
“When you are feeling some emotional impulse, as in entertaining the idea of an affair, you have an opportunity to examine the impulse rationally, says Dr. Scott Haltzman, author of The Secrets to Surviving Infidelity.
“Stop. Consider the consequences. The very same muscle you exercise when you consider the consequences of running a red light—smashing another car, getting a ticket, dying, can be exercised in this instance,” Haltzman says. “Thankfully, we don’t just live on instinct. We can think through the risks of our potential actions.”
Haltzman suggests considering all the things that could happen, such as contracting a disease and giving it to your spouse.
Plus, think about the hurt your spouse will feel when they find out.
“In my experience, most affairs are discovered,” Haltzman says. “Maybe not immediately, but at some point. You need to consider the impact on the person you have an affair with and the impact on your own body because you are keeping a secret from your spouse.”
There’s also the moral and practical issue, according to Haltzman. You made a promise to your spouse and to yourself to be faithful as one of the pillars of your marital relationship. And you promised that when nobody else was vying for your attention.
You have to guard against rationalizing your thought process.
HALTZMAN BELIEVES IT’S POSSIBLE TO BRING THE SEXUAL ENERGY BACK INTO YOUR MARRIAGE, EVEN IF YOU’RE THINKING ABOUT HAVING AN AFFAIR.
He also suggests taking the energy you were putting toward considering cheating and putting that energy back into your marriage.
- Do new things together. When people are exposed to novel situations, exciting things, or new challenges together, it draws them together. New experiences with your spouse will increase your sense of attraction to each other.
- Create space and anticipation. Agree that you’ll spend the day apart—even if it’s on opposite ends of the house. Consider only communicating during the day by cellphone, so you can look forward to seeing each other at the end of the day.
- Play dress up. Staying at home all the time may lead to staying in pajamas or sweats and not caring for ourselves. Do something different. Consider what would be sexy to your spouse.
- Use your imagination for your marriage. Use your imagination to focus on and create sexual energy with your spouse instead of someone else.
- Get back to the basics. Do the things you did when you were apart and looking forward to being back together. Tease each other with text messages. Create adventure through the element of surprise. Laugh together. Write love notes and leave them in unexpected places. 😉
- Be willing to be playful. Go outside and stamp a message in the snow, go camping, or create art together. Make a funny video, create a themed date in your bathroom or somewhere else that’s fun.
While the idea of an affair may seem exhilarating, it’s a pretty risky business with potentially lasting and damaging consequences.
Find out why you might be entertaining these thoughts. Then turn toward your spouse and be intentional about creating something different. These things could be the key to changing the sexual climate in your marriage.
Used with permission from First Things First