In our last article (Falling Out of Love) we explored how partners who feel dissatisfied may begin to think about romances outside of the one that they are currently committed to. For many couples the thought of betraying each other is frightening enough to cause one of them to begin reading books on relationships or searching the internet for couples counseling. Some partners deal with the fear by driving the desire for a new romance into the deeper recesses of their being, along with the lack of fulfillment that they feel in their current relationship, and they just get busy with other things in life.
There are still others who are engaging in what they believe to be harmless flirtations. They will miss all the signs that indicate they are having an emotional affair by rationalizing that there is no harm in having intimate relationships with people other than one’s spouse or partner. Or they decide that there can be no harm in having an emotionally intimate relationship with someone other than your romantic partner as long as you and your partner have an intimate bond that is mutually satisfying.
It’s not likely that a romantic or sexual affair is born out of a magical moment when two lonely throbbing hearts meet across a crowed room. It may work that way in the movies, but in real life affairs are likely to occur after a sort of unspoken courtship period in which the prospective partners decide, supposedly by accident, to take their secret attraction to the next level.
So when is the best moment to intervene when you suspect you have “lost that loving feeling?” We encourage you to begin by acknowledging the early warning signs in your hurting relationship. It is wise to respond to the concerns that you or others raise about your romance, regardless of the way in which those concerns come into your awareness.
Try and refrain from comparing your relationship to those you see around you. The fact that others around you seem to be in similar situations to your own – or perhaps even worse off than yourself – will only enable you to stay stuck on the downward whirlpool of resentment and dissatisfaction. Try also to refrain from comparing your relationship to memories of past relationships that you have experienced or observed. Such comparisons can only help you and your partner to keep denying your needs until a betrayal occurs or the romance dies.
Feel free however, to compare your relationship to the way that you would like it to be!
This article was written by John & Elaine Leadem, senior supervisors of the Leadem Counseling & Consulting offices in Toms River, NJ and East Brunswick, NJ. The content of this article is based on their soon to be published couples book from Leadem Counseling titled: Awakening To Your Soul Mate: A decision to be IN Love (Leadem & Leadem, 2013)
Leadem, J. (2013). Harmless Flirtation. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 27, 2015, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/couples/2013/07/harmless-flirtation/