Have you ever known either of these families?
For several years, Heather tried to communicate to her husband, Paul, that she wanted to feel special again in their relationship. Too often she felt taken for granted and lonely. Meanwhile, her husband seemed more focused on his career and the golf course. She wanted to renew their relationship. He seemed content.
One day, she was about to leave for work and Paul noticed that she looked particularly nice. Heather had lost weight, purchased new clothes, and lately seemed to enjoy going to work each day. That day, Paul noticed that her skirt seemed shorter than what she typically wore. She put on new perfume as well.
Little did Paul know that a guy at work had recently begun paying a lot of attention to her. Quiet frankly, Heather enjoys the attention. He gives her what she had wanted from Paul. He listens to her, not only to her words but the emotion behind them. He values her opinion about particular work projects. He has made a few comments about her appearance.
Lately, she has found herself thinking a lot about this man, even when she is not at work. This bothers Heather. It also makes her nervous that she feels more attractive than she has in years. Not long ago, she and this man began texting one another outside of work hours. She really doesn’t want Paul to know about these texts.
Kevin’s job required much contact with top clientele and consequently demanded his best each day. This included being well dressed. His wife, Jennifer, was a stay-at-home mom, where she cared for their three children. He missed the companionship he once had with his wife. For awhile, he looked for opportunities for her to see more of his work life. He tried to arrange for lunch downtown and offered to get a sitter. Jennifer said it was too much trouble to drive downtown just for lunch. On another occasion, he wanted his wife to be with him at a reception for the new boss. She declined to go, saying she didn’t know anyone and would be bored. On occasions, Kevin tried to include her in settings where it was appropriate to invite a spouse. She seemed to have little interest in going. Finally, he stopped asking.
Kevin continued to advance in the company. He not only had the attention of the executive vice-president, but also had the attention of a particular woman who had been with the company for about five years. This woman was attracted to Kevin and began to subtly pursue him. She laughed at his jokes and complimented him regularly on his appearance. Recently, he learned he would be traveling to Miami with a small group for a two day seminar. This woman would be in the group. Yesterday, she suggested to Kevin that maybe the two of them could explore the city together one afternoon. He sensed that she did not intend to invite others. Kevin thought about it but chose not to tell Jennifer about the offer.
Each scenario could could easily become another woeful tale of secrets, deception, and moral failure.
The following are 6 ways to avoid an affair.
1. Pay attention to your spouse. If you do not pay attention, you may find there is someone nearby who will.
2. Don’t be naive. At some point, there may be someone who is not only interested in your spouse, but obsessed with him. That can also be true for yourself. Listen to your spouse if she begins to send warning signals about a particular person.
3. Be involved in your spouse’s life. Think hard before turning down invitations to join him for lunch during the workday, receptions, office visits, work conferences, etc. Allow the people at his office the opportunity to see you as a couple.
4. Some couples promise to tell one another if there is a person who is becoming a problem for them. That is good, but doesn’t go far enough. Quite often, men are being pursued and don’t have a clue. Sometimes you need to tell your spouse what you are seeing, feeling, and sensing regarding a particular person.
5. Think hard about the impact of flirting. Would you talk this way if your spouse was present? Would you give prolonged eye contact toward another person, if your spouse was in the room?
6. Get honest. Is there a particular guy who you are dressing for today? Do you want to look particularly nice today because you are attracted to one of your clients?
What else would you add to this list that might help someone avoid this pitfall?