All marriages go through periods of disconnection. Disconnection is a normal marital occurrence. Children, careers, extended family, and other daily obligations become detractors in marriage. When this happens, the person who gets their sense of self worth from their partner will take this disconnection personally. They will tell themselves, “He doesn’t notice me anymore, so he must not think I’m attractive.” Or, “She’s so busy with the kids, she doesn’t care about me.” This person may then seek recognition and attention outside the marriage. They constantly need reassurance, which if they don’t recieve from their spouse, they may seek from someone who provides that kind of feedback and attention outside the relationship.
People with an internal sense of self worth view neglect as part of marriage and will take steps to reconnect with their partner. Again, disconnection in marriage is normal.
It’s important to understand that this is only one potential vulnerability to an affair. But if you recognize that you do not have an internal sense of self worth, for yourself and the sake of your marriage, it is important to work on this. Know your strengths and the value you bring to life and your marital relationship. When you feel your partner turning away from you, don’t take it personally. There is nothing wrong with you. You are lovable, valuable, and important even if someone doesn’t always recognize it. Learning to love yourself from the inside helps you become a more stable partner in the marriage and less vulnerable to infidelity.
There are many reasons why an affair happens. Rarely can an affair be narrowed down to a single root cause. Sometimes factors in the relationship have the greatest impact, other times problems with the individual contribute most to the affair.
Let me first explain internal vs. external sense of self worth. People who have an internal sense of self worth know they are valuable simply because they exist. They are aware of their own strengths and have a positive view of themselves regardless of their current circumstances. It’s not that they don’t see flaws in themselves, but they understand flaws are normal and they don’t need others to validate them to know that they are okay.
A person with an external sense of self worth relies on people outside of themselves to validate their worth. Someone else must recognize their strength and worth for them to think they have any. For example, a boss must verbalize appreciation for their work or they feel useless. If no one recognizes them, they must not have value. This person is vulnerable to having an affair.
This is an essential one for long-term relationships. If one person is growing faster than the other, inevitably they will part ways. If you see yourself evolving faster than your other half, the relationship simply will not last much longer.
This is an extremely important one. If you feel the need to be around your partner 24/7, then neither of you is getting the time you need to miss each other. Even the longest lasting marriages are made not from constant togetherness, but rather from the ability to give each other space and time to reflect and contemplate, to let things go and to learn how to be better by doing something they love, such as a hobby or reading. There is evolution in solitude.
There is nothing worse than being with someone who is insecure about your success. As a partner, you are supposed to feel pleased and happy when your other half achieves something. You are supposed to celebrate it, not pull them down and make them feel unhappy about it.
As a little girl, I often said that I wanted someone in my life who looked after and treated my parents and siblings the way I hope to treat theirs: with a lot of respect, kindness, and love. If you want your relationship to be long-term, you need to bond with each other’s families and try to grow closer to them. In times when your partner fights with his or her family, it is important to be able to give them perspective as opposed to blindly agreeing with them.
It is extremely important to keep your friendships outside of your relationships. Your best friends, the friends who were there for you through crisis, will stay with you before and after your relationships. So it is important that you treat each other’s friends well. Accept them as a part of your other half’s life and make them feel welcome. You don’t have to like all of them, but treating each other’s friends with dignity and respect is a sign of maturity and caring about your partner.
Jealousy is the worst. First of all, it makes the other person believe you don’t trust them, and that hurts. And secondly, it reduces the other person to feeling like they are a possession. If you cannot trust your guy to go to a stag party or your girl to sleep over at a friend’s place, what are you doing in a relationship together?
Expectations are the leading cause of relationships falling apart. You see, we dream and make this idea of a perfect relationship with a soul mate and put all of that celestial pressure on a human being who is flawed. And of course they let us down. You can’t expect someone to defeat all of their flaws simply because you are in their life. You can’t expect the moon and the sun from them, either.
Relationships that come with an expiration date usually begin that way, too. It is important to establish with your partner whether they envision the same thing for yourselves in the future as you do. It won’t work if he/she doesn’t see a marriage and you do, or if you don’t want children and he/she does.