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Infidelity Excuse: I Fell Out Of Love...and Just Love Being In Love
I find this dilemma rather common for younger couples, probably mid or late 30s and younger.
Usually one reports, falling out of love and is truly disturbed by this shift. He/she (and this is not merely a female problem!) wants to recapture those feelings.
This person has found a significant other who has stirred those dormant feelings and this person once again feels in love.
They are determined not to settle for a less than an ideal relationship, which means, of course, feeling the love feelings.
Here are some Key Points for this kind of affair. (The 6 others are outlined in my E-book.)
1. Unfortunately, our culture (movies, songs, romance novels, soap operas, romance comedies) teaches us that this is how its supposed to be. Falling in love is the norm the implication being, that if it doesnt happen, or if it goes away, something is wrong with you, your spouse or the marriage. A good relationship must first unlearn a great deal.
2. The person who was driven to find that loving feeling (reminds me of a song
) usually experiences a high degree of guilt and conflict. He/she is often married to a good person and the desire to find that loving feeling seems selfish (which it is) and immature (which it is). Intuitively (and this person usually has a great deal of intuition and sensitivity) it is known at another level that he/she is not on the right path.
3. This person usually has a need for drama and excitement. Life easily becomes a soap opera. Emotional juice from the fall-out of emotionally intense relationships reigns rather than living life from the core of who one is.
4. There is little understanding, or perhaps healthy models, of the shifts needed as a relationship matures. For example, falling out of love usually happens when the attractors become the distracters. For example: His love for fun and spontaneity, which drew her initially to him, becomes irresponsibility. Her stability and calm, which drew him initially to her, become control.
5. The person looking for love is actually looking for the ideal, someone out there, who will project back to him/her that he/she is OK. No, more than OK, close to perfect.
6. This person needs to be adored, or think another adores him/her, because there is a lack of inner strength and solid identity. The other becomes my world, because I lack a world. Being in love is the panacea for my emptiness.
7. Sexual intercourse does not need to be a part of these relationships. Sexual activity may indeed END the relationship or at least move it to the point where the attractors become, again, the distracters. The idealized images may be held together by long phone calls, gifts, holding, love letters, e-mails, etc.
8. This type of affair often occurs when there is a lull in the marriage relationship. The responsibility of raising children, starting and maintaining a career, paying bills, etc. become the focal point for the couple. Romance becomes a foreign word. People are especially vulnerable for this type of affair after the children are in school and/or the oldest child reaches early adolescence. (There are good reasons for this, from a family systems perspective, but I wont get into that here.)
Tip: If your spouse is struggling with this type of relationship, make sure you hold and care for your self. Your spouse does not have the capacity to do this for you (or anyone) at this point. Yes, you are ok. Her/his affair says less about you and much more about the emptiness within her/him. It is time for you to know you better. Model for him/her what it means to be a person with a core, with integrity, with boundaries, with values, with meaning, with purpose and actively figure out what your needs are, and get them met. Maybe she will ask questions. Maybe she will not. Maybe soon. Maybe later.
For more information on the different kinds of affairs, what causes them, the probabilities of them ending a marriage and what you can do about it, visit my site.
BONUS : Infidelity: How my Marriage Made Me Do It Is A Cop-out
Ask someone why they had, or are having an affair and you may hear something like this: I have a lousy marriage. My marriage is dead. There is no intimacy, no sex, and no excitement. The love is gone. Weve grown apart. I cant stand the marriage. There was nothing happening in the marriage and the affair just happened.
These statements are rationalizations and fail to get at the underlying issues.
1. Its as if a marriage is an animal gone bad. A marriage does not have a life of its own. In reality, there is no such thing as a marriage. One is married as a result of making some promises and signing a paper at one point. After the paper is signed, two people continue communicating and acting toward one another in particular ways that they hope will help them get what they individually want. Just as there is no marriage, there is no such thing as a relationship. There are, however, ways of relating for which each person is responsible. Remember the comedian Flip Wilson (that dates me) and his The devil made me do it skit?
2. We idealize marriage or romantic relationships with the expectation we will get what we want, without much effort to boot. The movies, popular public press and romance novels/stories dont help much here. A marriage is behind the eight ball from the word go. IT cant win.
3. From day one most of us dont have a clue about how to get, build, nurture and maintain healthy and intimate ways of relating. We need love 101 and its not there. We rely upon experimentation or bad models.
4. If the marriage is dead, why in the world would one choose to have an affair? Talk about jumping from the frying pan into the fire. It really is stupid. You add a whole layer of deceit and shame that eventually will result in consequences more dire than approaching your spouse and saying, Im really unhappy. What Im doing with you obviously is not working. I want out. Oh well, maybe some people need more problems and suffering.
5. If the marriage is bad, obviously, I dont have to look at me. I can blame it or the other. Some of us find it difficult to look at me. Some of us dont know how to look at me. Some of us never think of looking at me.
Tip: If your partner/spouse is having and affair and blames it on the marriage, dont buy into it. The marriage is not the problem. You are not the problem. Your spouse/partner chose the affair out of ignorance, fear or inadequacy.
The My Marriage Made Me Do It is just one of 7 affairs outlined in my E-book, Break Free From the Affair. For more information on the issues behind the other kinds of affairs and tips for dealing with them, visit my site.