If you have not read previous posts, it may sound like you are coming in on the middle of a movie. Nonetheless, I gonna keep it movin’ and talk about that moment of temptation that takes you totally by surprise, and tests your vows and your personal truth.
I am going to use myself as an example here. Married 15+ years, kids and struck like lightning by a stranger. Have you had a time where some person came into your life and you just cannot get them out of your head? I will refer to them as a personal lightning rod. Out of the blue me and my personal lightning rod ended up telling each other our life stories (including the parts of being married currently) Relationships that didn’t work out, younger wilder days, traveling, etc.. I think we both had a “Holy Shit” moment because we both kind of backed away for a while to get a hold of ourselves. Songs on the radio remind you when you’re not around them. You replay conversations you had. Maybe you are almost embarrassed by your attraction and self-conscious of your conversations with this person? Self conscious because you are MARRIED, and perceptions of others could be misconstrued..or they see the real truth. Maybe you pray for strength to do the “right thing” because you feel helpless to do it on your own.
So you spend your time focusing more on your spouse and kids to drive the thoughts away. Undoubtedly, it was some separation in your marriage that allowed you to end up on this path to begin with. (You or your spouse did something, be sure of that.) Maybe when you do this, you realize that you really had not been giving your spouse credit for a lot of things because you got mad at them. You realize they are actually a lot better looking than you have stopped to notice in a while. They actually have a good sense of humor. If you have kids, maybe they crack you up, and keep you feeling young. You may even start to pick out some negative qualities of the other person to help balance the scales in your mind.
I can only describe it as a pendulum. You get momentum in one direction, and as the pendulum swings out to the furthest point, it is going to start swinging the other direction. So you find yourself back in the company of your personal lightening rod, and you remember all those good qualities about your spouse and your family. But small things peck away at those memories. Maybe a good laugh together. Sharing an interest in something your spouse would berate you about. Or maybe he or she has a great smile and really nice other attributes, let’s say. Regardless, you play all of this down. There are boundaries for a decent human being. I’m a decent human being, so let me pull back.
If the other person is attracted to you, it only magnifies the situation. Little innuendos, snarky comments, or maybe opening a part of themselves that you are drawn to immensely. I’m not just talking a sex here, but I understand why women enjoy foreplay so much because the buildup drives you crazy. You know it’s getting bad when you mention your significant other, or they mention time spent with someone else, and there is a little pang of jealousy. Why is that there? I’m not even in a relationship with this person!
Now some people are gonna see “Married, kids and say “What more is a there to think about?”. On some level I agree. I could never walk away from my kids or leave my wife without a means of taking care of them. The biggest factor for me is that my kids have what they need in terms of support..financially, emotionally all of it. So, this is going to sound strange, but if my wife came to me and said she met someone else who really makes her laugh, I would probably be okay with her being with someone else, as long as I felt they would take good care of my kids (although I would still need to be a part of their life) I do not want to keep a wife that does not want to be with me. If she played the lottery and said, “Ya know what…I can take care of myself. I don’t need you to take care of me, and I can take care of my kids just fine thank you!” Again, I would be fine with it, as long as I could help my kids. WHAT THE HELL!! WHY ARE YOU EVEN MARRIED?!?!?
If you have not been married for a while and have kids, I can never explain it for you because it is not logical-nor is life. I can tell you when I was younger, I would see my parents arguing and my sibling and I would think “Why don’t they just get a divorce and be happy?”, but they didn’t. They are still married to this day. My sibling and I love to spend time with them now.
There is more to raising a family than your differences. When people get divorced, they have to learn to work around each others’ schedules, or at least follow a court order to maintain some working level relationship if there are kids involved. Getting divorced, does not free you of a person. If anything, maybe sometimes you see the worst side of them. After they leave or are forced to leave, they may feel like there is nothing to lose. Usually, both sides lose. There is less money in your paychecks because you are single again. Time is even more difficult to manage. Resentment is at an all-time high, so you will both be more of a bitch or asshole than you already are at times.
If you have kids, when do you get off the marriage train? The obvious times are abusive relationships. One or more parents that do not care for their kids because of substance abuse. The list goes on and on. But what if you’re a married couple that just feels you have grown apart? Is it selfish for one parent to want to part ways and go down another road for the rest of time? I truly believe that when you are courageous enough to go down a path that makes you happy, a part of you gets better. I made a career change from a place where it was dreadful at times. Sunday night, I would be thinking about all of the things I needed to get done, and would feel overwhelmed before I even went to bed. I now held out to find a place where there is still plenty of work, but the workplace and the people make work like a much happier place. I want to give a shout out to Liz Ryan with the Human Workplace for all of her efforts, because it was her articles that made me decide to wake up, and realize that I did not have to suffer through a miserable job the rest of my life. (Liz, I’m sure you want no part of the rest of this conversation, but part of my personal truth included you) Anyway, I digress. Work life spills over into home life. I am getting the inclination that finding happiness and helping others needs to be the case in all areas of your life. Someone recently said “You don’t stay with someone because you need them. You stay with them because you love them.” (This was not my personal lightning rod speaking either.) Love the life you live, and there is no telling where you will end up.