Lately, a lot of infidelity and sexual addiction cases have been coming through my office. Addiction is a word that a lot of people have trouble with. It's a lot like the word sin. People don't want to own that. If we own it, then we become responsible for doing something to change and that is a lot to ask for most people.
Ultimately, every behavior has a pay-off. Even when you don't see it at the surface, there is some kind of pay-off, otherwise the behavior would cease.
With infidelity cases, the behavior I often see is that one person (frequently the man) has wandering eyes. In our society this is often dismissed as "no big deal". After all, it's not actually having sex, right? Well, it's true that you aren't going to give your partner an STD by ogling other people, but you are sending the message that your partner is "not enough". Surprised?
You are also opening the door for comparison. Most of us at some point play the wishing game - "if only I'd taken that job offer back in my 20s", if only I had taken that other scholarship and gone to that other school", "if only I hadn't injured myself and gained all that weight"... You know that game.
So looking lustfully at someone other than your spouse is playing the same game. Once you start that game, the mind takes the ball and runs. At first it's just looking, then it's fantasizing about others while you're with your spouse, then it's feeling like you deserve more than what your spouse is offering. Are you seeing the trend?
Don't think that women are immune. We might not be as visually stimulated as men, but we are just as prone to mental temptation. In fact, while our husband's eyes are wandering, our minds are often wandering to all the ways he has failed to live up to our ideal, all the ways we deserve more. While this trend sometimes leads to infidelity, more often in women it leads to bitterness.
It does not matter who starts it, the cycle is the same, both people feeling defensive, unwilling to set aside their own needs to serve the other, growing in bitterness and rejection and disillusionment.
If you see any of this in your relationship, the time for change is now. I encourage you to look at your actions with new eyes. What unspoken messages are you sending your spouse? Are those messages building up or tearing down your house?
If you need help, call us to schedule an appointment or go to the Schedule page on this website and schedule online. There is hope.