Spring has finally arrived! How wonderful to see everything begin to bloom again. The season is usually a time of growth and development. Relationships also should be growing and evolving and need to be nurtured on a consistent basis. But, have you ever felt that you and your partner have stopped growing together? You realize that you relationship needs extra attention?
This week a subscriber, Linda, asked me for advice on how to get over an affair. After 7 years of marriage, she is devastated after discovering that her husband recently had an affair. “I recognize that we have grown distant over the past 3 years and we have not had sex for two years,” she said. “I really want to save my marriage as I love my husband.” Her husband told her that the affair was only physical and he was not emotionally involved with the woman. He also wants to work on their marriage.
Over the years in my private practice I have helped numerous couples deal with this challenging situation. Some couples decided to break up, while those who decide to stay together have worked through the trauma in their relationship.
I explained to Linda that what I have experienced to be the most powerful motivator of getting through an affair is being committed to each other and working on healing together. It was only when couples acknowledged that the affair was a symptom of problems in their relationship, did they begin to deal with their issues both as a couple and/or as individuals.
The couple makes the commitment to reinvent and rebuild their relationship. It is imperative that the couple begins the communication process as they work on reestablishing trust, and rekindling the romance they once had together. This is an opportunity to learn from the mistakes of the old relationship, and creating a new beginning. It’s important that they rediscover what attracted them most to one another as they revive the romantic stage of the relationship. They need to make each other feel desirable again.
Commitment, patience, rebuilding trust, working and changing dynamics and issues, cherishing each other, and physically intimacy are the major ingredients needed to help overcome an affair. This heals the couple, enabling them to better move past the hurt and pain of the affair and work on a more solid and evolved partnership.
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With spring finally approaching, I can’t wait to shed this heavy coat and start enjoying warmer days. The days are getting longer and I’m sure most of us who were stuck in the cold weather are looking forward to spending more time outdoors.
I received a question from one of my subscribers, Brett, who is in his 30′s and has been dating a woman for a little over a year. He is agonizing over whether to break up with her. He complains that he doesn’t feel a spark with her. He enjoys her company and respects her as a person but wants to feel “head over heels” for the woman he is dating. He said he’s afraid to break up, as he doesn’t know if what he wants really exists out there. He asks: “Is this as good as it gets? Should I give up a wonderful and kind woman for a possible fantasy?”
I told Brett that having a spark is important regardless of whether you have it instantaneously with someone or if it grows as you get to know each other. The spark keeps a relationship exciting and motivates you to get more involved, grow and evolve together. It helps to sustain the physical and emotional intimacy.
There are many wonderful and attractive people out there so no one should have to settle out of fear. I advised Brett to try to overcome his fear of being alone. He needs to see this as an opportunity to explore and process what it would be like to be on his own and single.
It is also unfair to his girlfriend because she deserves to be with someone who feels that spark for her. I suggested to Brett that if there is no spark, he might want to free himself so that he could get out there and start dating other women. Dating gives you a point of reference as you meet people and figure out what is important and who resonates for you. You should never feel that you have to settle. As with everything in life, we need to look for what we want and try to obtain it so that we can enjoy, live to the fullest, and have no regrets.
Should Brett take the risk and break up with his girlfriend? He deserves to feel the spark in a relationship. You never know what the universe has in store for us and the surprises that await us.