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Dr. Liz Hale ReportingMost people enter into marriage expecting monogamy, but according to statistics, monogamy is not the norm. Experts estimate that 60% of men and 40% of women will have an extramarital affair during their married years.
The statistics do suggest that infidelity is much more common than you might think. My experience is that the couples who are the most vulnerable are those who say, "That'll never happen to us!"
After 20 years of marriage, that's what this Salt Lake couple thought. Her two affairs caught them both off guard:
Dr Liz Hale: "So here you are married over 20 years. What made you so vulnerable?"
Woman: "There was some conflict in our marriage that was going on. He wasn't as interested in me as he had been. And so I justified it to myself that, well hey, here's this person interested in me, giving me attention, I must still be worth it. One thing led to another, it was someone very familiar. I was actually training for a half-marathon, he was my coach. He gave me what I was lacking and I fell right into it."
Dr. Liz Hale: "What were the signs?"
Man: "She pulled away emotionally, became less interested and disinterested in working on anything in our marriage. Never was concerned when we'd have arguments, about trying to fix them. Just gave up, she just kind of quit caring. It took a lot of courage and soul-searching on my part to admit that something was going on. Then I actually asked her, preparing myself for the answer, more than anything else."
Dr. Liz Hale: "So what made you stay?"
Man: "I stayed, I think initially for the children. And eventually I stayed because I still cared for her, knew I could still be there, and maybe somehow influence her or let her see what was going on. And maybe she would come back."
Dr. Liz Hale: "What made you come back? What caught your attention?"
Woman: "I tried to think ahead. Who did I want to be in 10 years? And he was the one I wanted to be with. These others were band-aids helping me through an empty time."
There is a larger leap between a platonic friendship and that first romantic kiss, than there is from that romantic kiss to sexual intimacy.
Entertaining a friendship with the opposite sex is a slippery slope. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Set clear boundaries with yourself and with your mate
- Keep the focus on business
- Don't share personal feelings
- Be honest with yourself
- Avoid cordial kisses, hugs, or dancing