Do you find yourself a little bored with your relationship this spring? Are pastures looking greener elsewhere?
Temperatures are rising, and it is more than just the weather. Studies show that sexual behavior can be affected by seasonal patterns; longer days may trigger surges in the hormones regulating our sex drive. We are hard-wired to feel the impact of the seasons on our sexual appetite, but that doesn’t mean we have to be ruled by these same forces—especially if those forces are prompting us to act against our conscience.
Relationships are not always about feeling enraptured. That knowledge alone, however, may not be sufficient to fully curb the lure of an affair. Below are some reality checks to help keep logic in play … and temptation at bay.
Know what you are looking for
Affairs are escapist in nature. If you are truly unhappy in your relationship or marriage, do some real soul searching and consider getting counseling. But if you are just bored or harboring a fleeting attraction, recognize that no one—no matter how fascinating—will be able to retain your attention 100% of the time.
Consider the impact on others
Everything comes at a price, so be sure you count the cost of an affair. Consider the impact of the affair on your spouse, your family, your social network, even your career. All affairs run the risk of exposure—are you willing to live with the potential loss of respect and relationship such an exposure could generate?
Consider the impact … on you
After you have considered the impact of an affair on others, consider its potential impact on you. Twenty years from now, will you be pleased with your decision? Or will you be racked with guilt? What will ultimately make you feel best? If selflessness can’t save you from your more carnal instincts, perhaps a little healthy self-interest can.
Know your triggers
Be aware of what factors make you feel most susceptible to an affair. Do you feel ignored, physically or emotionally, in your current relationship? Make sure you have expressed your needs to your spouse verbally, rather than just expecting him or her to know what you want. Is excessive absence from your partner increasing temptation? If your job regularly keeps you apart from your partner, ask yourself if the rewards are worth the risk to your relationship.
Choose your company carefully
Surround yourself with friends who value commitment and marriage. If your friends are blasé about adultery, they are unlikely to help keep you honest in your relationship. Sometimes the best wing man (or woman) is the one who helps you get home at the end of a night.
Make love, not war
What if your partner has already cheated on you, or betrayed you in another way? Enacting sexual revenge via an affair can seem like a good way to settle the score. But revenge sex is unlikely to truly make you feel better. Some wounds are best redressed by processing through the pain—with your partner and with yourself.
Steer clear of “gateway” drugs
Many affairs stem from an inappropriate emotional intimacy with a friend, co-worker, or someone else you are close to. Watch how much time you spend, and where you spend it, with those you might be attracted to. If you want to safeguard your relationship, be careful about sharing your deepest emotions and frustrations with members of the opposite sex. Building emotional ties is often a stepping stone for building physical ones.
Declare your freedom
Yes, we have biological impulses driving our attractions. Yes, there are lots of beautiful people in the world. But we are not slaves to our appetites. We make decisions every day that appeal to our higher instincts. Remember what you have in your partner, remember what is at stake. Then remember that you have the ability to make choices, choices that honor your partner and the investment you have made in your relationship.
Spring is here and it is something to celebrate. By choosing to remain faithful to your partner, however, you can help protect your marriage through all life’s seasons and enjoy what each stage has to offer.