The word "love" pours gasoline on the flames of an extramarital affair. Have you noticed how frequently and almost reverently the word "love" is thrown around when a couple bumps into their extramarital affair? The wayward spouse often states, "I fell out of love. I don't have the feelings for you I'm supposed to have. You are more like a friend than a wife/husband. I love you but am not 'in love' with you.
" The offended spouse often hangs on to the marriage with the proclamation that, even though his/her partner has forsaken him/her for someone else, s/he (the offended spouse) still very much "loves" his/her spouse and wants him/her back. There is one kind of affair (I Fell out of Love.and just love being in love) where the perceived FEELING of being "in love" is paramount. This feeling means everything.
Usually one reports "falling out of love" and is truly disturbed by this shift. The "loving" or "romantic" feelings once passionately lived, for unknown reasons vanished or were transformed in the marriage. S/he (please know that men also struggle with this issue!) wants to "recapture" those feelings. It is thought that those "in love/romantic feelings" comprise the essence of a marital or highly invested relationship and if absent indicate a dysfunctional marriage or a marriage doomed to the boredom heap for the rest of one's life.
The affair starts when one finds a "significant other" who stirs those dormant feelings and once again "feels in love.S/he is insistent and tenacious in attaining and maintaining this ideal (or intensely "loving" relationship. Before we look at how to address such an affair, a couple points (and I have five more that I will share in other articles) about this kind of affair are important to consider: 1. Unfortunately, our culture (movies, songs, romance novels, soap operas, romance comedies) teaches that "being in love" is how it's supposed to be. "Falling in love" is the norm - the implication being, that if "love" doesn't happen, or if "love" goes away, something is wrong - with you, your spouse or the marriage.
The odds are stacked against any couple attempting to navigate a marriage when bombarded by movies, TV, novels, advertising and grocery check out magazines that point to the power (gosh, don't you envy some of those hip couples?) of finding and losing "love." To create a lasting, intimate and wonderfully joyful marriage in our Western Culture we first must unlearn a great deal. 2. The person who was driven to find "that loving feeling" (reminds me of a song.typically is conflicted with a signficant dose of guilt. Unlike some of the other 7 kinds of affairs I describe in "Break Free From the Affair,' "I Fell out of Love.
and just love being in love" is marked, for the most part, by the absence of anger. He/she is often married to a "good" person and the desire to "find that loving feeling" seems selfish (which it is) and immature (which it is). Intuitively (and this person usually has a great deal of intuition and sensitivity) s/he knows at another level that he/she is not on the right path.
3. A person needing to feel that "loving feeling" usually has a need for drama and excitement. Life quickly and persistently is a soap opera.
The intrigue of 2 meeting secretly to the exclsion of another is the norm. that feeling of being in "love" is tied closely to the personal need for excitement and plotting. The secret and clandestine nature of extramarital affairs lends itself nicely to seemingly meet these two powerful needs of feeling 'in love' and living an exciting life. Emotional juice from the fall-out of emotionally intense relationships reigns rather than living life from the core of who one is. If emotional infidelity of this form confronts you, please know you are in for the ride of your life.
The drama, negative feelings and thoughts that you will experience will challenge your stamina and personal strength.
Dr. Robert Huizenga, CSW, LMFT, The Infidelity Coach, is an author, and Marriage and Family Therapist. For the past two decades he has served hundreds of couples, specifically in the area of marital infidelity. He is author of "Break Free From The Affair." Infidelity and relationship tips and other services are available on his web sites.