If your marriage partner exhibits several of these following behaviors, your marriage may be in danger of an affair:
- Avoids eye contact with you.
- Talks continually about the unknowns of the future.
- Shows an increased disinterest in the topic of sex.
- Makes excuses for not spending time alone with you.
- Acts unusually guilty when you do something nice for him/her.
- Quits complimenting you on your physical attractiveness.
- Stops saying, “I love you” and even acts rudely to you.
- Starts buying you gifts to ease his or her guilt.
“At discovery, the spouse’s emotions are usually intense. The anger, hurt, bewilderment, betrayal, and numbing shock are almost overwhelming. … If denied, that anger goes underground and eats away at the innermost spirit of the person. It is very important for the violated spouse to be free to express the rage that he or she feels.”
Protect Your Marriage
No marriage is affair proof. We are all at risk of losing our focus and being swept into an emotional affair. But you can do several things to safeguard your marriage:
- Stay honest with yourself and with your spouse. If you find yourself attracted to someone, admit it quickly to yourself and to your spouse. Honesty is the key to preventing a relationship from escalating into an affair.
- Avoid magazines, movies and other forms of entertainment that can increase your tolerance of affairs.
- Try to see your relationships from your spouse’s perspective. What would your spouse be comfortable with? How would he or she feel about what you are doing?
- Do not flirt. Most affairs begin with what’s considered “innocent flirting,” but there’s no such thing! Flirting is not a part of friendship.
- Keep your marriage as your No. 1 priority. Make sure you are working to meet your spouse’s most important needs. If you’re not sure what those are, ask.
- Grow together spiritually. Pray with each other and for each other.
- Set boundaries about how you will interact with the opposite sex. For instance, you and your spouse may decide that neither of you will be alone with someone of the opposite sex, even for business lunches or late nights at work.
- Surround yourselves with happily married couples who don’t believe in fooling around.
You can keep your marriage safe from emotional affairs. But it requires open, honest communication and a commitment to do whatever it takes to keep your marriage your No. 1 relationship.
Factors That Can Lead to Unfaithfulness
The following are factors that can lead to marital unfaithfulness:
- Looking for ego boosts outside your marriage.Men tend to turn to extramarital liaisons to build up their self-image or sexual self-esteem. Women are suspect to affairs to satisfy their longing for love, appreciation and tenderness. Beware of leaning on others beyond your marriage as primary sources for love, value and respect.
- Neglecting to talk openly with each other.If you only talk to your spouse about the bills and household chores, you may be sliding into trouble. Holding in your thoughts and feelings does not enhance transparency in your relationship. Practice the art of small talk that can open the door to deeper sharing.
- Resisting conflict resolution. Every couple runs into communication rough spots. It’s important not to build walls between you and your spouse. Some people mask their hurt while others spew their emotions. Neither method is constructive. Both ways create relational roadblocks. Unresolved conflict leads to isolation and leaves you vulnerable to fleeing your marriage.
- Discounting fun and relaxation together.Think of the last time you and your spouse enjoyed a date or a weekend getaway together. As the old adage says, “Couples that play together, stay together.” If career, family and home responsibilities are crowding out laughter and friendship with your spouse, you need to book in some recreational retreats with each other.
- Increasing the time you spend apart.The demands of work travel, ill children or differing interests and hobbies are common issues that can keep couples apart. The more time you spend away from your spouse, the greater temptation to drift in your relationship.
- Allowing daily stresses and fatigue to sabotage your intimacy.Packed schedules and raising children are two common reasons husbands and wives feel ho-hum in their relational intimacy. Romance, in an instant, can remind you of the reasons you love each other. All marriages require times of refreshing and an in-depth look at intimacy saboteurs.
- Letting your love life fizzle instead of sizzle.Familiarity and boredom can creep into any marriage. Beware of shaking things up in your sex life by dumping your spouse for another more promising lover. If you or your partner suddenly is disinterested in sex with each other, be sure to explore the true reasons.
- Giving in to predictability. A little mystery can go a long way in adding spice to your marriage. Many couples succumb to affairs out of fading interest in their spouses. One way to continue your wedded bliss is to surprise your mate with love notes or an occasional unexpected outing or gift.
- Living in denial. Pretending that problems do not exist in your marriage will only widen the gap between you and your spouse. Many extramarital affairs start when a frustrated spouse searches for a reality check in marriage by turning to an office mate or friend of the opposite sex for support. Dare to face the truth of your marital struggles.
- Forgetting your commitment to each other.Over time couples are prone to forget why they fell in love. In our easy-come-easy-go culture, it takes courage and determination to honor commitment instead of convenience.
- Failing to resist come-ons and temptations.In our over-sexed world, even the most innocent husband or wife can fall prey to sexual temptations. Before you or your mate find yourself in compromising situations, talk about safeguards for your marriage. You may need to avoid after-work soirees, certain hotels on business trips and sexually compromising magazines, movies or television shows. Thinking “Just this once,” can lead to a lifetime of regret.
“In most cases it will take the spouse as long to recover as it took the infidel to get into and out of the affair.”
(Dave Carder, Torn Asunder, p. 106)
19 Dangerous Behaviors of “Close Call” Friendships
1) Saving topics of conversation for your “special friend.”
2) Sharing spousal difficulties with your friend (“My husband (or wife) never…”).
3) Allowing the friend to share their relationship difficulties with you (“My boy/girlfriend always…)
4) Anticipating seeing this person more than your spouse.
5) Comparing the friend and your spouse (“If only my spouse was nicer to me like s/he is…”)
6) Providing ‘treats’ for your friend (coffee, snacks, etc.)
7) Being concerned for your friend’s welfare (“How did you sleep?”)
8) Fantasizing about marriage to your friend.
9) Spending more time alone with your friend than your spouse.
10) Not allowing your spouse full access to all your modes of communication (ie., email)
11) Spending money on your friend without your spouse’s knowledge.
12) Arguing with your spouse over the relationship with the friend.
13) Lying to spend time with the friend.
14) Hiding interactions with the friend.
15) Jealously develops on the part of your spouse (“He sure pays attention to you…”).
16) Developing rituals (any experience anticipated by both parties, like coffee together).
17) Experiencing a ‘shiver’ when your friend shares feelings or touches you.
18) Allowing sexual content in your conversations with your friend.
19) Corporate dating: taking advantage of business trips to spend quality time together.
Close Calls: What Adulterers Want You to Know About Protecting Your Marriage, by Pastor Dave Carder.
“In marriages that have suffered an affair, it is critical during the recovery process for both partners to develop close, same‐ sex relationships to supplement the marriage relationship. Those outside relationships can provide much of the nurturance, empathy, mutual support, and affirmation that both individuals need.”