Ask someone why they had, or are having an affair and you may hear something like this: “I have a lousy marriage. My marriage is dead. There is no intimacy, no sex, and no excitement. The love is gone. We’ve grown apart. I can’t stand marriage. There was nothing happening in marriage and affair just happened.”
These statements are rationalizations and fail to “get at” underlying issues.
1. It’s as if a marriage is an animal gone bad. A marriage does not have a life of it’s own. In reality, there is no such thing as a “marriage.” One is “married” as a result of making some promises and signing a paper at one point. After paper is signed, two people continue communicating and acting toward one another in particular ways that they hope will help them get what they individually want. Just as there is no “marriage,” there is no such thing as a “relationship.” There are, however, ways of relating for which each person is responsible. Remember comedian Flip Wilson (that dates me) and his “The devil made me do it” skit?
2. We idealize “marriage” or “romantic relationships” with expectation we will get what we want, without much effort to boot. The movies, popular public press and romance novels/stories don’t help much here. A “marriage” is behind eight ball from word go. “IT” can’t win.
3. From day one most of us don’t have a clue about how to get, build, nurture and maintain healthy and intimate ways of relating. We need ‘love 101’ and it’s not there. We rely upon experimentation or bad models.