Is an Extramarital Affair threatening Your Marriage? Discover Eight Secrets to Protecting Your Marriage
Do you know the pitfalls that make your marriage vulnerable to an extramarital affair?
Certain dangers do make a marriage more vulnerable to affairs. Most people don’t ever intend to have an extramarital affair. And in fact, most people having an affair say they feel it’s against their values.
They don’t know the pitfalls and danger signs that can lead to an extramarital affair
So how do so many good people end up having affairs and shattering their marriages?
Well over half of all affairs start at the workplace. In many cases there’s not necessarily a big problem in the marriage, but a series of small behaviors increases intimacy with a third party – intimacy which then creates a deep well of feelings and attraction.
Affairs are often more about how you see yourself reflected in someone else’s eyes than anything else. This is especially true when the affair develops out of a friendship or work relationship.
Your spouse knows you very well: all your strengths and sweetnesses as well as your flaws and imperfections. Coworkers and casual friends don’t know these flaws as your spouse does. They are free to see you as you present yourself.
And usually what you present to the world is your best self – so when the world reflects back your better qualities, how seductive that can be!
Pitfalls and Danger Signs to That Can Lead to an Extramarital Affair
Danger # 1 — Getting too chummy with a coworker
Tip # 1 — Keep water cooler and office conversations on the casual side. Talking about the kids’ soccer games is fine — but sharing your life problems takes you quickly into a gray area. Personal information gets shared and you develop a sudden intimacy with someone other than your spouse. Establish and respect your boundaries. Think about it as setting a protective layer around your relationship. Most affairs do not start out with the married partner intending to have an affair, they end up as a result of a “slippery slope.”
Danger # 2 — Talking about marital problems with someone who is a potential threat to your marriage
Tip # 2 – If you need to talk about minor or major frustrations with your spouse, choose someone who couldn’t possibly turn into a threat to your relationship down the line. Avoid sharing intimate information with a potential partner. (This means someone of the opposite gender if you are straight and someone of the same gender if you are gay.) You can imagine yourself sharing problems with someone about whom you think, “Oh, but we’re just friends. He/she could never be a threat.” That is exactly who you need to be concerned about: the person around whom you let your guard down because you’re “just friends.” You can’t necessarily foresee the feelings you will develop for this person because of your new intimacy. And once you are aware of how you feel, it may be too late.
Danger # 3 — Your friend/coworker confides in you
Tip # 3 — Extricate yourself from the role of confidant. (For people who could be a potential threat to the relationship down the line.) Sometimes you don’t realize immediately that somebody else has crossed a boundary with you, and has placed you in an intimate relationship with them. Even though you may not be sharing your own personal information, you are still engaged in an intimate exchange. Finding yourself as the confidant, the “one who understands,” is very seductive. Redirect the attention of friends or coworkers either back to their spouses, or to therapists or people who seem to pose no threat.
Danger # 4 — You put effort into looking nice for this person
Tip # 4 — Be very honest with yourself about where the energy that you want saved for your marriage may be going instead. Even if there’s nothing lacking in your relationship, having someone new to dazzle and charm can be very seductive and exciting. If you are putting in special effort to look nice for this person, ask yourself, “What is going on?” Are you putting this much effort into looking nice for your own partner? Why not?
Danger # 5 — Working late includes going for dinner and a drink
Tip #5 — Keep work at work. You may be unable to avoid working late with someone of the opposite gender, but you know this is how many extramarital affairs begin. Keep overtime work at the office itself, with coworkers around. Avoid late dinners at a restaurant with alcohol. Sometimes it may require a little effort to involve a third coworker in an afterhours project, but the effort will be worth it and may go a long way to protect your marriage..
Danger # 6 — You stop talking about your friend/coworker to your spouse
Tip # 6 — Keep your spouse in the loop about this friend as you’d talk with them about any other friend or business associate. If you find you no longer discuss someone you used to mention to your spouse, it is again time to be very honest with yourself. Stop in your tracks and look clearly at what you’re doing. Start talking about them again and some of the luster of secrecy will fall away.
Danger # 7 — You keep your business calls from home “private”
Tip # 7 — Keep your calls strictly business. If you find that you’re straying into territory that you don’t want someone else overhearing, that’s a sign that your boundaries are falling. If you need some quiet, you can enter another room, but the door can stay open – remember that your boundaries are there for good reasons.
Danger # 8 — You start believing your friend/coworker understands you better than your spouse
Tip # 8 — This is not a “sign” that your new friend/coworker is a soulmate, the one you should’ve been with all along. You don’t have a deep history with such people; they see you for limited times under ideal circumstances. They seem so present when you talk about your problems precisely because they don’t share parenting issues, financial issues and the like with you. Focus on memories of your courtship with your spouse and how you felt in the beginning of your relationship – those days don’t have to be over. Reminisce with your spouse about times you felt more connected to each other. Take actions to enhance your connection and your marriage — and if necessary, see a therapist to help you strengthen your relationship.
If you find you have already stepped into dangerous territory and don’t know how you feel or what to do about it, please contact a professional therapist who can help you and your spouse get back on track. It will be worth it.