THE AFFAIR DIDN’T START IN THE BEDROOM
An affair in this context is defined as a secret sexual relationship between two people. The key word is secret. Secret, because it is hidden from your spouse. Whether it happened once or twice, it happened. Now you are left with several questions: How did it start? What were you looking for? What did you accomplish? How are you feeling now? Was it worth it? Can your relationship recover from it? When did it start?
This topic is discussed in offices, barbershops, ladies night, therapy, and of course, all over social media. Most of the time, I have seen or heard people say “affairs don’t start in the bedroom; they start with conversations.” When I read or heard that, I agreed but I started to think a lot deeper. I thought to myself, “why did one start the conversation?” I personally think it starts before the conversation in a lot of cases. Here are just a few.
IT STARTED SUBCONSCIOUSLY WHEN YOU FELT YOUR NEEDS WEREN’T BEING MET.
Maybe emotionally you needed more and wasn’t getting it at home. You decided your spouse could not meet that need, so subconsciously you became emotionally available to someone outside of your marriage. You may have unknowingly made yourself emotionally single. When that happens, it allows your emotions to seek and date another person’s emotional availability. You created a dating profile for your emotions.
The search can start off with viewing others from afar. Reading their social media posts. Hearing them speak to your void. Seeing them emotionally respond the way you desire. At that point, you’re allowing yourself to be courted. You begin to just appreciate them and the attraction develops. You begin to like what they say consistently. You begin to compare to your spouse. You don’t dare say to your spouse, “you should be more like this” because that would bring more problems. So, what do you do? You stay married to your spouse and date emotionally. This starts the conversation.
IT STARTED WHEN YOU REALIZED MARRIAGE WASN’T THE FAIRYTALE YOU ENVISIONED.
You had an idea that all of the problems were going to be fixed once you said, “I do”. You thought lust for others and cheating would disappear once you had a legal binding agreement. You envisioned happiness every day because you had “help” with your problems and someone to share everything with. You thought they would change once you stood at the altar. You expected the ring to do heal your past, fix bad habits, and erase mistakes.
The work to prepare mentally, physically, psychologically, and emotionally was not done prior to marriage. Understanding that marriage doesn’t hide or fix issues, it tests them even more. The lust has to be controlled prior to marriage. Marriage doesn’t make everyone else in the world unattractive all of sudden.
Your teammate may let you down which gives an opportunity for you to ignore everything else they are doing. Your teammate may let you down which gives an opportunity for you to see everything else they aren’t doing. The fairytale standard or expectation of having more help may have been set too high or may have been unrealistic because you expected a savior.
When these things happen, you begin to search for that fairytale to be fulfilled by adding another person. You begin to court what’s missing and that starts the conversation.
IT STARTED WHEN YOU FELT NOBODY WOULD BE A THREAT TO YOUR MARRIAGE.
The truth is just as things developed with your spouse, they can develop with someone outside of your marriage. It can be simple things that you ignore that you are doing. You are so confident that you put yourself in harms way without thought.
You aren’t physically attracted to that one man or woman, so hanging out with them isn’t an issue. You want to pick someone’s brain who you think is intriguing and that intrigue develops more than expected because you were so confident that you ignored when it was time to stop. You may put yourself in position to talk to the person in private while knowing your spouse wouldn’t understand “that it’s just a conversation and they aren’t a threat”.
You are okay with a “work husband or wife” because they aren’t really a threat. You are strong enough to handle any environment instead of avoiding opportunities to test your strength and vulnerability. You just like compliments so much that your partners acknowledgment wasn’t enough or maybe they don’t notice enough. You just want to see if you “still got it”.
Thinking innocence will remain in that relationship as it develops outside your marriage is a setup.
These are things to consider before you start the conversations. Protecting your spouse, yourself, and more importantly, YOUR MARRIAGE. Talk more with your spouse. Seek counseling. Pray specifically. Do the work before you decide to start having conversations. You won’t know the other person’s intentions.