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From my column in Body+Soul
Question: "I’ve recently discovered my husband is having an affair. But I’m not upset about it – I’m glad. Glad because I haven’t fancied my husband for years, and this affair means the pressure to have sex has ended. Our love life was good at the start. Three children later though, and the chemistry just isn’t there.
Why don’t I leave him? I like our life together. He makes me laugh, he’s kind, and brilliant with our kids. We live in a nice house and have a buzzing social life. I don’t see why I need to end a perfectly good marriage just because I don’t find him sexually attractive. And I’m not prepared to wreck all our lives for the sake of his bit on the side.
I do feel uneasy though. I’m worried that he might admit his affair (and I’d have no idea how to react), or even worse, fall in love and want to leave the marriage himself. So, what’s my best move here – do I keep looking the other way? Or do I talk to him and work out a new ‘arrangement’ that keeps our marriage solid but our sex lives separate?"
The LoveLife Blog: guidance on mindful, bodyful, soulful loving!
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Download Audio: Q&A: My Husband Is Having An Affair and I'm Relievedread more
If you want to be healthy you know there are some basic things you need – like regular exercise and the right amount of vitamins and minerals. Without these, you’re not going to be in great shape.
It’s the same with relating well, there are some basic things you need every day to stay loved-up and connected. Let’s call these ‘vitamins for your relationship’. These practices will help keep your Couple Bubble strong. Without them you’re going to be pretty wobbly as a couple.
Here are the two key ‘relationship vitamins’ that I believe are vital, and that I prescribe for all my clients: one that you ‘take’ four times a day and one that you ‘take’ once a day.
1: Mini Couple Bubble Top-Ups
The first type of vitamin is what I call Mini Couple Bubble Top-Ups. These are focused, brief connections when you meet and part. Usually these are at four critical points of the day: when you wake up, when you part in the morning, when you greet in the evening and when you go to sleep. (Obviously those times are different if you’re both at home or are shift workers, but the same principle applies.)
Our brain is such an interesting thing. It stores away memories and impressions, and then when we are met with a similar situation, it immediately goes ‘oh that old thing’ and presents a pre-formed idea based on the past. Which means it’s easy to get complacent in our experiencing of life, including our experience of our partner.
When we first meet there is so much newness and excitement – our brain is bedazzled by our new object of interest, we find this person fascinating. Our brain is engaged and releasing lots of dopamine and the endorphins and oxytocin are flowing in our body. It feels sooo goood! Often this is fuelled by pre-existing beliefs around ‘happy ever after’ and ‘finding one’s soul mate’, which enhance the interest and positive feelings.
But, over time, that person is no longer new. They become a bit ‘same old same old’. Our brain gets used to them, we no longer see them as new and interesting, and often this is exacerbated by beliefs around sex and love getting boring with time, and maybe memories of our own parents’ complacent marriages mixed in. We go into automatic mode with our partner, with our impressions and expectations of them. We get... read more
So often I hear my clients say that they still love their partner but are no longer in love. Often this is given as the reason for wanting to end an otherwise good relationship. These clients always make this claim with some despondency and with a sense of finality, as though once it’s gone it’s gone.
This is understandable, as it’s a common belief that there is the exciting, passionate ‘in love’ honeymoon period and then there is dreary ‘loving’ companionship ever after. But is this fact or myth? Is loss of ‘in love-ness’ inevitable or can we keep it going?
Nothing good in life ‘just happens’, nothing good lasts without focus and attention. You don’t stay fit and healthy if you don’t focus on it, you don’t become wealthy if you don’t pay attention, you don’t develop a good career or business without on-going intent to do so. Yet for some reason when it comes to love and sex, we think it should somehow... read more
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