If you're suffering in your relationship and feeling lonely, you may be tempted to reach out to someone outside of your marriage -- with or without the intention of having an affair.
Perhaps someone at work that is paying attention to you.
You may be tempted to look up an old Facebook friend or chat with someone online.
Why having an affair is not going to solve your marriage lull.
This is a short term solution to a bigger problem that may cause you more trouble than it is worth and wreck your marriage and your life.
Don't fool yourself into thinking that you can maintain a platonic relationship with a member of the opposite sex.
When you're hurting, you may be surprised at what you are capable of doing.
There are also plenty of people who are looking to take what doesn't belong to them. Even if your intentions are not to leave your spouse and your intentions are really not to have an affair, your feelings for that person may quickly develop to the point where you lose all your rational thinking.
It's almost like temporary insanity.
You can become so chemically drawn to the other person, that all logic and common sense is thrown out the window, even against your better judgement.
Even marriage counseling may not be able to save you from the mess that you have gotten yourself into. Especially if you're not willing to give up the person of interest.
Why do people throw away their lives for a cheap thrill of having an affair?
Because we kid ourselves into believing that this could be a real relationship and better than the one we are already in. Even if it means having to take care of someone else's children and increased expenses, the infatuation blinds us from reality.
It's much like when we fell in love with our spouse way back when. We were impervious to all of their flaws and potential issues we would face. It was an amazing feeling. Only now, you're amazed with someone else. It's the chemicals in your brain that are fooling you. Really. Studies show that when you spend time alone with someone else, you can actually fall in love with them, even if you are happily married (How to Improve your Marriage without talking about it, Drs. Pat Love and Steven Stosny).
Some people also find it thrilling to have a clandestine relationship. They were feeling bored in their marriage and so the excitement and adrenaline rush of sneaking around helps to fill that void.
But, just as your marriage went from romance to power struggle, so too your new fling will ultimately disappoint you and likely give you some of the same challenges that you are facing in your relationship.
What can you do now?
Don't exit your relationship. You made a commitment for good times and bad. And right now it's bad. So now's the time to make it good.
Learn to articulate your needs in a safe and connected way so that you can get them met.
Work together to make your spouse your confidant that you can turn to. Learn effective communication that works if right now you can't talk to each other.
Create an emotionally safe relationship where you both can be open with each other.
Invest your time and energy into reinvigorating your relationship by doing things differently. Go on vacation together, change scenery, try new things, date each other again.
You may be surprised that this lull in your relationship is actually an opportunity to revitalize your marriage and make it better than ever.
We know what it's like when couples are in a stuck place (or worse!) and don't know how to get their needs met within their marriage. It's crucial to take action right away, before you pass the point of no return.
With best wishes for your relationship success,
Shlomo and Rivka Slatkin