Avoid Infidelity by Sharing Everything with Your Spouse Opening up to your spouse will improve connectedness, which will help avoid infidelity. BY LINDA NUSBAUM, MA, M.F.T.
Reconnecting with your spouse and opening up will help ward off infidelity.
One of the most startling developments related to the recent infidelity of South Carolinaís governor and Nevadaís senator is that this crisis in a family is not a rare event; in fact it is surprisingly common. When we hear news of something so explosive many of us turn to our own relationships and think, "I would never do that." Well, the fact is many people do. Itís just not so public.
Other questions and thoughts surrounding infidelity leave people wondering, "What were they thinking?" or, "He or she must have done something to drive them away."
The truth is, both people share responsibility for a relationship breakdown. Iím not saying the governorís wife made him cheat on her, but as a licensed marriage and family therapist who treats couples for a living, I know the distance between two people has a history.
Hurt feelings and misunderstandings create distance. Issues swept under the rug do not dissipate, they linger and fester. When we hold on to sadness and anger against another we build a bigger wall between us. The walls individuals use to keep from feeling bad achieve that goal, but they also prevent a connection to the person we are protecting ourselves from. This leads to disconnect in a marriage. Some people have a higher threshold of aloneness, while others starve when they are cut off.
So when the feeling of connectedness, togetherness and love are not being felt, there is a void. Healthy individuals need to feel connected. For example, letís say a co-worker shows attention when we are feeling isolated from our spouse. That attention might feel terrific. A person who has been alone for a while might begin to fantasize about a happier life, maybe with this person. A casual encounter could come to represent much more. It could be a way out of the pain and suffering of feeling unnourished and disconnected.
Preventing the Disconnect
There are many reasons why people choose to have an affair. Itís just as important however, to understand there are many layers that led up to this one public act.
Couples that find themselves alone in their marriage must first recognize that they are not sharing their relationship with the other. Ask yourself if you feel connected to your spouse. Are you able to talk about what you are feeling, no matter what the issue? If you answer yes, you are in connection. If you are withholding certain issues or topics because you donít think your spouse will understand, you are creating a wall that will get harder and harder to climb over in the future.
Learning to talk about your private world with your spouse can be the most satisfying part of a marriage. Itís scary at first, but once you get there youíll wonder why it took you so long. If you need some help learning to share with your spouse, coupleís counseling could help. In this process you can learn how to speak about your issues with confidence and not worry about how the other will react. Each person learns to do this and slowly but surely, the walls fall away. If you feel your spouse is closed off, set an example. Open up to them and let them in, it might be just the nudge they need to do the same.
We're often told to learn from our leaders. This is one instance where they have taught us of what does not work. One thing's for sure, it's easier to talk with your spouse in the kitchen than into a microphone at a press conference confessional.
Linda Nusbaum has combined two careers into one: award-winning news broadcaster and licensed therapist. These two modalities have given her a unique understanding of the stresses of the corporate and entertainment worlds. Combine that with her empathic, insightful, and rational approach as a therapist and you have a qualified professional with the tools to help you transform. Get more information at www.lindanusbaum.com.