Family & Relationships Marriage & Divorce

Marriage Infidelity: the Burden of Caring

In his article, Annoying Behavioural Patterns, James Walsh gets to the crux of the marital relationship when he states, "It is only after marriage that one understands what real loving, caring and sharing is all about."

It's easy during the courting phase of a relationship to get swept up in the romance, promises of endless love and the newness of being with someone who feels as strongly about you as you do about them. That's what it is all about but the real work lays ahead and many couples come thru that stage with flying colors. They accept the fact that the person they have vowed to share their life with is not faultless. In fact the more they get to know their spouse the more they see how flawed they are. Imperfection does not mean inferior, it just means their human. Besides they are doing the same thing for you. In spite of (or maybe because of) these defects, the caring between you and your significant grows.

But as of late, your instincts and observation skills are telling you something else. You still care but do they?

While the familiar telltales signs of a cheating spouse such as the lipstick on the collar or finding clothes in the wash room that you know do not belong to you may not have made themselves blatantly obvious, you cannot help but notice that the caring from your spouse is not what it used to be. That's because an extramarital affair requires a cheating spouse's attention and a transfer of affection to the other party.

When the two of you were courting, one hundred percent of your partner's caring and love was directed at you; as it should be. Marital infidelity by nature makes this task virtually impossible.

A person may tell themselves that they still care about their marriage partner. Leaving aside the fact that adultery brings that whole reasoning process into question, it's hard to square those sentiments when instead of spending time with you they are out with someone else.

And even if they are with you now, they can't help but think about who they are going to be with later. Carrying on an extramarital affair by its very nature means divided loyalty. No matter how they try to convince themselves, a cheating spouse is not giving you the same amount of caring and love they did originally.

What makes this doubly hard is that you do still care. Your affection for them has not waned. The marriage contract is just as good today as it was when you walked down the aisle. In your eyes the only thing that has changed is that one of you is not living up to their part of the bargain.

Maybe if we could shut our emotions on and off like a light switch finding out that your significant other is cheating would not hurt so badly. But we can't. However what is in our power to do is to save some of that caring for the person who loves you more than you may realize. You. That's also where the healing process should start.

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