By Dr. Amanda Craig,
Three of my 40ish friends just told me they are having affairs: one with her physical therapist, one with an unemployed 25-year-old, and one with her painter.
They are attractive, bright women married to successful and, to me, good-looking men.
What made them choose inappropriate sexual partners? And what can they do about it?
They admit that their sensual feelings for these men border on ridiculous. But all three swear that they have “a connection” that causes them to overlook the unsuitability of the liaisons.
They can clearly see that, were they to run away with these men their lives would worsen, their financial status would be intolerable, and their children would be embarrassed…as would each one and their husbands.
I cannot convince them to walk away from the men because, they each say, they love the new man.
They say they are bored with their present lives, that their husbands no longer listen to them or satisfy them, that they are sick of the “same old, same old.” The new men offer excitement.
Women out there – STOP. THINK.
I’ve asked my friends where they’ll live, who will pay the bills, what will happen to their children. They remain blissfully unresponsive.
Since I believe in faithfulness and that marriage always has some rocky spots, here’s what I’ve suggested:
- LOOK AT YOUR PRESENT LIFE. What’s bothering you? Are you tired of being home with the children? Do you have a demanding career and are still expected to come home and be Hannah Housewife, tending to all the home details?
- MAKE CHANGES. Real changes in your own life. Don’t just say, “Oh, I should do this….or that…” Do it. Talk with your spouse and tell him how you feel. (I suggest not mentioning the guy in the closet.) If it’s time for you to revitalize your career, make plans to do it. Go back to work. Or decide to stay home. Whatever you think would fulfill your life, try it and do it.
- RECAPTURE THE ROMANCE. Books have been written on this, but no one ever says it works. Here is what works: eating dinner together quietly and having a meaningful conversation, listening really listening to what he’s saying, being frank about your emotions and lack of excitement.
- CONSIDER A VACATION TOGETHER. And make it a romantic one. Leave the children home. Decide on a place together. Arrange for a couples’ massage, hike a mountain.
- EXERCISE. Honestly, running, playing tennis, working out at the gym – all release endorphins which can go a long way to creating a positive attitude.
- READ SOME BOOKS. Other women are going through the same things you are. Look through your local library or bookstore. There are many books on the subject.
- CONSIDER A MAKEOVER. Honestly, it’s amazing what a new haircut and outfit can do for you. Why not suggest that your spouse have one, too? And then meet in a local bar for a drink, as if you were strangers. It’s unusually satisfying…
Some women are never tempted to actually cheat on their husbands. Sure, there are many men out there you’ll see who may get your pulse racing, but you’re married to one. You chose him once, and there was a reason. If you’re experiencing the heartbreak of an affair, try to remember that reason.
Amanda Craig, PhD, LMFT, Manhattan Marriage and Family Therapy, PLLC is located at:
- 6 east 39th street, suite 503, New York, NY 10016
- One Bank Street, Suite 207,Stamford, CT 06901
- 85 Old Kings Highway N, Darien, CT 06820