Infidelity – Not about Sex – Unless it Is

When a man or woman chooses to step outside the marriage, it is not for sex – unless the person is a sex addict.   That being said, I am choosing to write about regular cheating or infidelity as there are plenty of articles on the web about pornography, cyber sex, and prostitution.

Infidelity means a few things 1. No communication in marriage, 2. Bored with relationship, 3. Bad marriage overall or 4. We are both getting old and I want someone younger, so I can feel young again.  None of these have anything to do with wanting better sex.  Since the 60’s we have done the trial and error thing prior to marriage, so we do know what we are getting when we say “I Do.”  I am sure there are cases where one partner isn’t interested in sex any more and one is.  I’ve also seen movies about “My wife is dying of cancer” which leads to sex with another too.  Lots of reasons why we become intimate with someone outside the marriage. Even these last two reasons aren’t really about sex but emotional connection.  Someone who helps them feel alive once again.

Why not just leave the partner first and then chase another?  It doesn’t work that way.  In most circumstances the relationship has grown into a state of affairs that is beyond repair (or is it?).  Meanwhile, you are used to what you have.  So the person in the relationship isn’t considering therapy but they don’t feel like leaving either.  Its not easy to walk away from a daily routine that feels comfortable even though it is exhausting. Lets just say this is a stage of denial.  We will pretend it isn’t happening as we get further and further apart.

One partner takes a mild flirtation at the office to the next level.  It is fun and takes your mind off of stress at work and home.  There is something exotic about this and no one will know anyway.  Or you are hanging out with friends and get a little drunk and the next thing you know you are gyrating with some stranger on the dance floor.  Its Vegas anyway, so who will know?  There are so many stories that I could share.  Whether the affair is a one night stand a few nights, or several years takes on different meanings about your relationship.

What to do once you have?  Good question.  Someone who is very perceptive and trusts their instincts is going to figure out something has shifted in the house.  Often women are more on top of this then men, but not always.  Then comes the jealousy and questions but this is not necessary.  Unless you have proof, no partner is going to spill their guts on an affair.  If you begin rifling through drawers and cabinets, pockets and shirt collars, you will go insane. Consider therapy – for yourself for starters (either the one who has cheated or the one who suspects).  Whoever is bothered by the situation at hand needs to talk to someone.  Ask your partner if they would be willing to talk to a therapist, begin to unravel what has already become a big mess before it gets worse.

“I can’t talk to my partner.”  Why not? So every single day you spend with your spouse, you are unable to say a word?  I doubt that.  If you are afraid to talk to the other, than definitely this is a relationship that needs to be dissolved.  If not, and you are just being stubborn about not standing up for what you want, then here is a phrase you can use at the dinner table – or text them if it is really that bad.  “I am feeling like we have lost our relationship and I want to get it back.  Would you be willing to go to a couples counselor so we can get back on board?”  If they say no, then you really have to be willing to prepare to separate and start a new life.  If someone is that antagonist about getting support in a marriage, it is beyond repair.  If they say yes, take the initiative and start reviewing couples counselors online. Find three that you really like and then have your partner decide which one they like the most.  That is the first step in working together and rebuilding.  A joint decision.

Now you have been in therapy and have begun to communicate what is going on within.  It has been hard to hear what you already knew about yourself but didn’t want to deal with.  It has been fun though to finally get out of your system what you wanted to say about your partner.  It is also nice to have a mediator who is helping to navigate and coach you back to some sense of peace between the two of you.

Then out of nowhere comes “I had an affair.” Yikes! Here you thought it was all coming back to a nice comfortable place rather than a detached abnormal space and then this arrives in the room.  What are you supposed to do with it?

Most people cannot handle infidelity because it means there is no trust in the relationship anymore.  It is important to consider the circumstances involved though and take a mature approach to this – if you can.  Has it been going on for a considerable time period or is this a night in Vegas type thing that someone couldn’t bare to sit on any longer?  You have to be the judge of what you can tolerate and what you cannot.  The shorter the marriage the less strength it will have.  The longer the marriage the more of an investment and emotional commitment is there.  Though it could have grown stale and it is time to move on as well.

Everyone’s situation is different and only you and your partner know what is best for you.  Consider this however.  Before ending the partnership, and if possible before things get really bad between you two, talk to a therapist.  No marriage (unless abuse or other significant factor is involved) should ever consult with an attorney until they have had some closure with a therapist.  On the contrary, thinking divorce as the only answer, is probably the best way to go though.  If this is foremost in your mind then it is inevitable anyway.  If this is not what you are thinking but you know there are problems afoot, then don’t sit around procrastinating any longer. The more you wait to contact a therapist, the obstacle only grows. The potential for an affair is on the horizon.

You owe it to yourself and to your partner – who you have chosen to stay with, to do the work.  Marriage isn’t easy.  Both sides bring problems to the union and each is at fault for letting things continue as they are.


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