When people decide to tie the knot it’s typically a very happy experience. There’s the wedding, the dress, the honeymoon and choosing your bridesmaids or groomsmen. There’s bridal showers and stag parties (which may be troublesome).
But rarely do people talk about the marriage and the issues that may arise. And issues will arise. Finances. Unresolved conflict. Children. Desire Discrepancy. In-Laws. Power. Control. Anger. Rage.
We don’t discuss what may go wrong or how to deal with it if when it does.
One of the things that may go very wrong is when one person in the marriages steps out, has an affair, cheats. Call it what you want it is probably the biggest betrayal of life experienced by a person. The trust has been broken, the foundation cracked.
Today there is not only physical cheating as in actually kissing, fondling or actually having sex with someone, there is emotional cheating. Emotional cheating is more often than not even more devastating and potentially damaging to a marriage. Emotional cheating is anything from conversing with a colleague to having on line chats with someone you’ve never met.
Emotional cheating is more hurtful because it is often about more than just the sex.It is about an emotional connection due to a departure in the marriage for whatever reason. Yet patients of mine who present to my clinical practice who have found their partners conversing on-line or texting/sexting with someone find solace in the fact that they did not have sex.
Regardless the bottom line is that when someone cheats in a marriage/relationship, it is a sign that something is wrong. It may be something wrong with the person or the marriage.
But more often than not the person who cheats is trying to fulfill a need within.
So how does one protect their marriage from infidelity? It’s not easy because cheating is more common than you might realize but it begins with communication. Talk about what you expect from a marriage. Discuss your feelings on infidelity with one another. Make sure you are marrying the right person Don’t settle and ensure that the intimacy is first and foremost.
If one person in the marriage wants sex and the other doesn’t’ for whatever reason, there is a great risk of infidelity. Yet sexless marriages are common, cited as 20% by researchers. Fatigue is the number one reason for low sexual desire that may lead to a sexless marriage.
So be sure you maintain balance in your life. Learn how to live fast and slow and how to manage stress. Everyone has stress so that is unavoidable but learning to manage it is a skill.
Make time for each other and schedule sex if you have to.
Mary and Mike hadn’t had sex for ten years. Mike stepped outside of his marriage and had a one-night stand with a colleague. When he and Mary decided to work on their marriage, he felt vulnerable and guilty. He decided to tell Mary that he had cheated.
Mary hit the roof but when she settled down she realized she had some responsibility in the indiscretion. Mike wasn’t totally to blame. Don’t get me wrong. Ultimately, Mike made the choice to cheat and now he is living with the consequences. It was the ultimate betrayal. Mary is angry not only with Mike but with herself. She lives with regret. Regardless, she still suffers from shame and experiences many triggers in her daily life.