New romances are exhilarating. When both partners click, the initial desire and passion convinces us that this person is for keeps.
All the feelings and special moments you share in the early stages of a relationship become reference points for the rest of your journey together. At the beginning of every relationship it feels like you have everything you need for it to work out. You stare longingly at your partner, you miss them when they aren’t around and everything about them makes you smile.
Few people think about what will happen when the spark fizzles out and whether they’ll still be able to make it work. When the relationship loses its newness and becomes mundane, it’s natural for people to begin noticing others and even feel attracted to them.
Extramarital attraction is common, but if you want to maintain your relationship, it’s important to know how to manage it. People usually trust the commitments made to their partners but without realizing it they expose themselves to situations where they are vulnerable.
If you want to strengthen your marriage and eliminate the threat of extramarital affairs, use the following tips:
Know What Attracts You
As a self-aware adult, you’ll know exactly what it makes you tick, you know your needs and the expectations you have from your spouse. When our needs aren’t met, we tend to look elsewhere to have them fulfilled, which makes us vulnerable to other’s advances.
In healthy marriages, spouses communicate openly without any hesitancy. When their needs aren’t being met, they tell their spouses and work together on solutions. By telling their spouse, they take up responsibility and show awareness that their marriage can be in danger; they’re being proactive.
Don’t Put Your Spouse On A Pedestal
It’s nice that you support, compliment and celebrate your spouse; however, it’s just as important to recognize their flaws and shortcomings. No one’s perfect; not even you. Your spouse’s flaws make them human.
Don’t set yourself up for disappointment by putting your spouse on a pedestal; instead, embrace their flaws; it’s just another part of loving them.
Recognizing that someone is attractive isn’t a problem—acting upon it is. If you find yourself intentionally looking to gain someone’s attention, you’re in the wrong. You lack discipline and are putting your marriage at risk.
Setting boundaries prevents you from being in situations where you may be tempted to make a move. For example, if you find yourself attracted to someone at work, don’t have lunch alone with them and keep your conversation to the minimum.
Don’t Fan The Flames
Attraction is human, there’s no way to stop yourself from feeling it. However, if you feel like it’s becoming too difficult for you to not act on it, be open with your spouse about it. In a strange way this takes away power from the attraction. Instead of keeping the attraction to yourself and fantasizing about the individual, you put your relationship at the forefront and do what is right for your marriage.
Now that everything is out in the open, you and your spouse can take steps to address the problems in your marriage.
Azizeh Rezaiyan is a marriage counsellor at Silicon Valley Marriage Counselling based in Palo Alto in the Bay Area. She specializes in couple’s counselling, family meditation, anxiety treatments and other psychotherapy treatments.