And Men Have Affairs…
OK, before everyone starts jumping up and down and throwing their hands in the air in anger at the title of this post, let me just point out that yes, men close their legs and women have affairs too! Whether we like it or not, women and men are on a level playing field in this department!
It is time to take an open and honest look at what happens within a relationship’s dynamics that creates the desire for us to connect to someone outside of the bedroom we share with our beloved other.
I know you all have your perceptions about why this happens and sharing your experiences with me is welcomed – drop me a line on Facebook or leave a comment below. Every situation will differ because it is personal to you. My purpose for writing this is to help you understand why it happens in the first place and how it can be avoided.
So rather than pull the blanket over our heads in the hope this won’t happen or it may go away, it is time to get real and rip the covers off. It is time to reveal what happens in and out of the bedroom and why, when intimacy is lacking in a relationship, the substance that keeps it glued together is also lacking.
Let me remind you that intimacy is so far removed from anything that happens in the bedroom. Intimacy is about seeing your partner completely. It is about really feeling them and acknowledging and accepting your partner wholly.
In all honesty we begin a relationship with baggage in tow, filled to the bream with all of our primary expectations around love and what love is supposed to be. Love is a very real energy or feeling state, but it is our perceptions of love that feed our beliefs, conditions and expectations of what love should feel like. Love can sustain many adversities, but a relationship will begin to crack at the foundation when we place too much need on the relationship to sustain us (the individual).
Let’s face it. Most of us were not taught how to have great relationships, and we certainly were not taught how to have intimate ones. So, it is no wonder that in today’s society the success rate for lasting relationships is not high and the statistics show that 1 in 3 marriages end in divorce. It has even been said recently that when you get married you and your partner should put away 5% of your income to pay for your divorce! It is pretty sad it is now considered wise to budget for it in our future.
Where does this leave us? With extra baggage filled with compounded insecurities that we will carry through to the next relationship we share, it is not easy to share your life with another person. The relationship needs just as much attention as every other aspect of your life, but too often it is not given priority. Complacency takes over and we start to take each other for granted. More so if we are married, as the common belief is held that “if we are committed through marriage then my partner will accept things as they are.” Unfortunately this is not always the case.
Our basic human need is to be loved and to be touched. This is one of the highest forms of validation that keeps us connected. When your partner compliments you with words of love, encouragement and support, even when you are wearing your sexy bed hair and no make-up, or thongs and old work shorts, it naturally affirms that they care and they still find you attractive even when you aren’t quite feeling it. When this does not exist, it is the first area of intimacy in the relationship to suffer and when this door closes, your openness to communicate begins to shut down too.
So why do we have difficulty staying connected in a loving partnership? In all honesty, if it truly was loving, you wouldn’t be thinking outside the relationship and dream of greener pastures.
Let me paint a picture for you.
Society has changed and the roles of the modern woman and man have changed along with it. After the bra burning days of the 60′s and the women’s liberation movement, the world became a little imbalanced. We moved from the constant daily routine of the 60′s where Men were the providers for the family and Women were the nurturers and care givers. But the difference between the 1950’s to the 21st century is the mutual respect for each other and the roles they took care of to keep the relationship balanced. These days, not only do we not respect the roles we play or that of our partner, we have a way of resenting our partner if it seems we are contributing more, so our relationship becomes yet another chore.
Our expectations are higher we tend to nag a lot more and nothing appears good enough. And as we are generally not meeting our own needs as individuals, we are certainly not meeting our partner’s. We long to connect but we are either too tired, too busy, or we don’t have time. In fact, we are busy creating the distraction because it is easier than taking the time to enjoy one another like we used too. We suffer low self-esteem; and we have an imbalanced view in terms of who should initiate intimacy. “I already do enough; do I have to do this too?” For most of us we go through the motions and forget to feel into intimacy. Thus becoming charity sex. Oh my god, I didn’t know that loving another could be so exhausting……
When we reach this point, we have stopped communicating physically and emotionally all together. We become starved of connection and we feel that our partner does not see us anymore. For men they feel that they are nothing more than a wallet and a handyman and for women they feel like they are nothing more than a housemaid, holding down a job on the side, with no pay, having sex just because it is a duty of care.
We look to our partners to validate our worth within the relationship, but when we are not connecting intimately (and let me clarify -‐‑ this is not just sex) we create the veil of separation, and shutdown. You feel unloved, lonely, sometimes depressed, not validated, in fact you don’t feel that special and that loving feeling has gone, gone, gone.
That is when the pastures look greener and we begin to look outside of the relationship and sometimes we don’t even know we are doing it. Women cry out to be heard and men will often go into their man cave and pretend it will go away.
That is when women will close their legs and men have affairs……or when men close their legs and women have affairs.
All it takes is for another person to see us, give us a compliment, and we begin to get that loving feeling all over again. Our endorphins are released and we start to confuse this feeling state with physical attraction. Curiosity opens the door and we step into the illusion that this person gives us what our partner can’t.
The reality is, your partner can give you what it is you think you need, if only you would stop shutting the door in their face every time they knock. It never ceases to amaze me, when both of you have been trying to communicate what is happening, yet neither of you are prepared to listen.
Are you that full of self-importance that you have forgotten to care enough for the one you love? And actually take time to hear what their heart is trying to tell you.
We fall into the trap of feeling that our wants and needs are far more important than theirs and any attempt to communicate this is taken as a personal attack. Your ego is hurt. I get it. But so is your partner’s. If you both stopped and took the time to hear what is been said, you would both realise that you want exactly the same thing, you are just expressing it differently.
You both need to begin to understand each other and how you both need to be loved emotionally and physically in the relationship. When you have this understanding there is no room for your insecurities to manipulate the relationship you share.
So if any of this has resonated with you, or even pushed your buttons and made you feel frustrated or even angry, then I would suggest you do something about it. Let me help you understand a little more what you can do to get your relationship back on track.
Here are a few basic practices that with a little effort and professional help if you need it, can turn your relationship around from drab and dreary to fantastic and fab.
Stop trying to control the outcomes in your relationship.
This means stop trying to change your partner into something or someone you think they should be, because you believe it will make you happy. The reality is it won’t. Your partner is not responsible for your happiness; you are on every level. Life is full of change and it is going to happen in the relationship you have. This is how we grow and evolve.
Let go of your expectations. You have created an illusion of how you think a relationship should be, should feel, should look and whilst you have those judgements it will never be true, because your partner will never live up to what you expect them to and you will always feel let down.
Learn to understand your partner and how they want to be loved.
Communicate from the heart, without blame and accusation of what your partner is or is not doing. Speak with kindness and compassion. You speak to your partner, how you wish to be spoken too.
A little understanding goes a long way.
Take positive action to bring awareness into the relationship. Your relationship should be one of giving not taking.
Learn to accept what you cannot change, and love what is in the relationship, for you both are a by-product of each other and how you reflect love is how it is received.
Change IS possible, but often the best place to start is with deep reflection into the relationship you have with yourself. It starts with acknowledgment that you are the one who creates suffering in the relationship because of your own perceptions and expectations. Take the time to learn a new way of loving yourself and your partner so you can both find joy in the relationship again. When we love and approve of ourselves wholly, we have even more love to give to our significant other.