When people talk about adultery or cheating on their spouse, many people envision a person of low moral character, slinking in the shadows, meeting an equally low-quality person for taundry sex. The Hollywood version is so engrained that if asked, the vast majority of people would state that they would “NEVER cheat on their spouse.” In fact, most people would not think of themselves as “the kind of person who would do that.” So how is it that more and more and more marriages are ending in divorce due to an affair? How do people who think they would never do that…find themselves cheating on their spouse?
First, most affairs are a result of one spouse looking to someone else (other than their spouse) to meet their emotional needs. Wives do not necessarily cheat with a man who is better looking or more wealthy–they tend to cheat when the other man makes her feel good about herself, takes time to listen to her, and compliments her. Men do not generally cheat with younger, prettier, or more respectable women–then usually cheat with someone who admires him, enjoys his company, and expresses her attraction to him. It’s important to understand that most affairs are not about “sex” but rather about having emotional needs met by someone other than your spouse.
That being said, here are a few clues that you may be on the slippery slope to infidelity:
1. You and your spouse aren’t making the time or the effort to make love; you are looking for arousal elsewhere. When the two of you look at making love as if it’s a chore to be done–when you start to fantasize about someone else or to look to porn for arousal–that is often the first clue that you may be about to cheat. Rather than looking elsewhere, renew your efforts with your spouse.
2. You develop a “friendship” with someone of the opposite sex. Now there is nothing wrong with having a purely professional acquaintance at work or a classmate in your course with whom you are assigned some project. But the difference here is that you talk to this “friend” about personal thoughts and feelings or about problems in your marriage. Rather than investing time in this “friendship”…invest in your marriage and open up to your spouse.
3. You may talk about the “friend” but you keep the extent of the relationship secret. In the course of conversation with your spouse, your new “friend’s” name may come up several times, so that you *think* you are being up-front about it, but you don’t tell your spouse that you spend lunches and breaks together or that you have opened up to someone else with your private thoughts or feelings. You don’t tell your spouse it’s gone from talking about the project to talking about yourselves and your personal lives. Rather than hiding this “friendship” let your spouse know that you may be slipping into temptation and that danger is just around the corner!
4. You are starting to daydream about or have sexual thoughts about someone other than your spouse. We all occassionally look at a celebrity and have a crazy fantasy–but we also know that being with a celebrity will never happen because they are thousands of miles away and don’t even know you exist. On the other hand, this daydreaming is dangerous because of the possibility that it might happen! And don’t excuse the interrupting thoughts just because you met this “friend” over the internet. Your “friend” knows that you exist and the two of you are flirting with the idea that you may both want each other. You are already across the line of forsaking all others, and the time to stop is now!
5. You start telling a couple “little white lies” and have cover stories to spend more time with the “friend.” Have you become an expert at making up excuses, deflecting blame, telling your spouse s/he has a jealousy issue or making sure to have an alibi so that you can spend more and more time with your “friend”? Are you fairly deliberately hiding your phone, laptop, email, and/or facebook from your spouse? Then this is no longer a “friendship.”
6. You start relaxing your moral code just a little, and maybe begin suggesting a threesome or that infidelity “isn’t so bad.” Lines have already been crossed, slowly…gradually…and now you are beginning to try to justify your actions. It’s not infidelity if there’s no physical touch (even if we sext or if we say we love each other). It’s not an affair if we “just kiss.” It’s not adultery as long as there’s not penetration (even if we make out a little, and remove clothing). At this point you are already unfaithful, so STOP NOW!!!
7. Your gut is telling you that this is wrong. You know it’s wrong to tell lies, to hide your phone and laptop, to tell someone else that you have feelings for them. Trust your gut. Put that energy into building up your marriage and stop, today.
©2012 Cindy J. Taylor. You may repost with copyright notice and link back to this original article!
Please feel free to share this article or subscribe to the Portland Infidelity Examiner Channel by clicking on the buttons at the top of this column!
Cindy writes and blogs about infidelity and affair-free marriages on her website www.affaircare.com. You can connect with her via email: email@example.com | on Twitter http://twitter.com/Affaircare | or Facebook http://www.facebook.com/Affaircare|