Have you had a sneaking suspicion that your spouse may be considering an affair? Did you pick up on specific clues, or do you just have a “gut feeling”? Marriage is a difficult undertaking, and these days, with the overwhelming pressures of everyday life, it is much harder than in bygone days.
When overworked and burdened with stress, it can be easy to misinterpret events and actions. It would be a real tragedy to endanger your marriage with suspicion (or worse – jealousy) if your concerns were unfounded.
Five Signs That Involve Both Of You
Here are five things to watch for that can signal that your spouse is considering having an affair; however, they may also be indicators of other problems in a marriage, so tread lightly!
An aloof or complacent attitude: Have you and/or your spouse become complacent or does your spouse seem aloof? If you or your spouse tend to take your commitment as a “given”, it can be a real sign of trouble. Marriage is a day-in-day-out commitment, and it is important to attend to all the little (and big) things that hold it together. If you can’t remember the last time you said, or heard, “I love you!” or other expressions of caring and appreciation, it’s a sign that something is amiss. This situation may mean your spouse is thinking about straying, or if allowed to continue, it may lead to straying.
Decreased passion and sexual intimacy: Has your level of passion and intimacy decreased? Sometimes, life is very hard and demanding, and it’s easy to simply fall out of the habit of sexual intimacy due to sheer exhaustion. That’s alright occasionally and for short periods of time, but if it goes on for more than a month-to-six-weeks, take some time to examine the situation and determine the reasons. A reduction in sexual intimacy, especially when coupled with a tendency to flirt with or show sexual appreciation toward others, could be a symptom or a cause of thoughts of an affair.
Avoiding rocking the boat: Have you and your spouse gone far out of your way to avoid disagreements? Odd as this may sound, avoiding any and all conflict can indicate marital problems. It may be that you and/or your spouse are afraid to have an argument because of smoldering anger or resentment or because of secrets. If you have fallen into a pattern of avoiding disagreements, even when disagreement is warranted, it may be a sign of deeper trouble.
Competitiveness: Do you or your spouse have a strong need to triumph in every disagreement? If you have abandoned teamwork and partnership, and instead are competing with each other, it is definitely a sign of trouble in your marriage. A need to be dominant in every conflict may signal that the dominant party is withholding secrets or it may simply signal a sharp deviation from the cooperation that is necessary if a married couple is to attain shared goals.
Separate but equal: Have you and your spouse gone your separate ways? If you seem to be living more as roommates than spouses – seeing separate friends, enjoying separate activities, keeping your finances to yourselves and so on, you may be setting up a situation that is conducive to considering an affair.
Three Sudden Changes To Watch Out For
The five indicators above may be subtle signs that a partner in marriage is considering an affair or they may lead up to these kinds of thoughts. A spouse who is truly considering an affair (or engaged in an affair) will exhibit sudden, marked changes; however, it‘s important to remember that sudden change doesn‘t always signal an affair.
Does your spouse suddenly have new friends and new hobbies that take up a lot of time and attention? If your spouse is suddenly out of pocket frequently with some new activity that pointedly does not involve you, there may be reason for concern, or it may simply be a new interest that will run its course.
Is your spouse’s work schedule suddenly outrageously demanding? Has your spouse had a sudden change of schedule that keeps him or her away from home? If your spouse suddenly must work late hours or has lots of private work communication (texts, e mails, phone calls) that s/he shields from your view you may have reason for concern. On the other hand, downsizing, corporate mergers, and fierce competition often make business very demanding. Your spouse may actually be involved in a difficult and demanding project that needs lots of attention.
Has your spouse suddenly taken an unusual amount of interest in his or her appearance? If your spouse is suddenly concerned about the way s/he looks, dresses, smells, and so on, and this concern doesn’t seem to be for your benefit, it may be a sign that s/he is considering an affair. On the other hand, it may be a sign that your spouse is worried about aging, or perhaps there’s a chance for a job promotion and your spouse wants to make a good impression every day.
Addressing The Indicators That Your Spouse May Be Considering An Affair
What should you do if you notice these sorts of changes?
Remember that you have both made a commitment to your marriage. You are partners. Whether you are successful partners or not depends upon how well you work together. For this reason, it is advisable to first, assume the best. Unless you know otherwise, without a doubt, that your spouse is considering an affair, assume s/he has a perfectly good reason for the behavior that troubles you.
Step back from your emotions and examine the situation rationally. Have a heart-to-heart talk with your spouse. Express your concerns about specific events and behaviors and offer solid solutions. For example, if you are concerned about your spouse’s sudden involvement in a new activity, make it clear that this situation makes you feel left out. It may be that your spouse was simply unaware of your feelings or had some specific reason for not including you. Work out a practical solution to this problem together. Come to a specific agreement that is acceptable and workable for both of you to address your concerns and your spouse’s concerns.
Assume responsibility where appropriate. Remember that behavior doesn’t happen in a vacuum. If your spouse is behaving in a way that causes you to feel uncomfortable, there are surely triggers to that behavior, and those triggers may involve you. Be open to sorting out the entire situation and making your own adjustments as needed. Avoid blame and work together cooperatively to resolve your problems.
Suspicion Is A Dangerous Weapon
Remember that, when you ask yourself, “Is my spouse considering an affair?” the question is a double-edged sword because considering the question can be almost as dangerous as considering an affair! If you are questioning your spouse’s faithfulness after a period of difficult and rocky times, your own may be shaky! Falsely accusing one’s spouse of considering an affair can be as damaging to a relationship as if the spouse actually were considering an affair.
It’s important to remember to discuss the actual behaviors that concern you. Avoid focusing on your interpretations of these behaviors. By talking honestly with your spouse about the specific aspects of your marriage that have caused you distress and working together to arrive at solid solutions, you may find that there were perfectly explicable reasons for the things that troubled you. Then you can happily sort things out without ever having to mention your suspicions that your spouse might have been considering an affair.
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