You’re happily married and couldn’t be more committed to your spouse. It’s no wonder you’re completely flummoxed at your intense attraction to the new hire in your office. After all, you don’t love your partner any less. However, the idea that being in a happy marriage prevents feelings of attraction to other people is a false one. Look at the situation realistically to guard your marriage from untoward feelings and actions.
Not anticipating that you may find another person besides your spouse attractive can leave you clueless when the situation arises, notes educator and counselor Denise Charles, M.Ed. on the relationship website HitchedMag.com. Know that this is very normal so that you won’t be sideswiped if it happens, advises Charles. Then you can implement strategies to deal with the attraction when it occurs, such as establishing firm boundaries and reevaluating your ideas about what it takes to keep a marriage strong and protected.
When the Line Is Crossed
An attraction is just an attraction until you take steps that take it to the next level. A good rule of thumb is to never do anything with the person you’re attracted to that you wouldn’t share with your spouse. For example, ask yourself if you would feel comfortable sharing with your husband that you and the smokin’ hot guy you work with enjoyed lunch together at the new sushi place and talked about how boring it is to be married. Keeping key information away from your spouse is a sure sign you’re on the slippery slope to having an affair, says psychologist Betty Phillips, Ph.D. on her website.
Setting boundaries to keep your personal life separate from work and social friendships can help to keep you out of trouble, says Phillips. Otherwise, you could risk putting yourself in the no-win situation of acting on your attraction and struggling to be committed to two people, a recipe for future misery. And don’t assume close friendships with attractive married people of the opposite sex are not an occasion for concern, notes Phillips, as such people may not be as “safe” as you think. While being attracted to someone besides your spouse is “normal,” so are affairs and divorces – they’re just not the kind of normal you want to have in your life.
Deciding What to Do
While you may be attracted to someone besides your spouse, you don’t have to act on that attraction. Discard any idea that the person you’re enthralled with is your perfect soul mate or otherwise ideal partner. Clarity about reality tends to emerge after the infatuation stage, says psychologist Susan Heitler, Ph.D. in a July 2012 article in “Psychology Today.” It is possible to be so enraptured by your feelings of attraction that who the person is and what effects your relationship will have on your marriage can be easily overlooked. Be conscious of this fact to avoid falling into a trap from which it will be difficult to escape.