Extramarital affairs: a moment on the lips, a lifetime in the dumps
Have you ever found yourself at an auction at 2:30 in the afternoon, famished and facing a mobile canteen? “Yes,” you tell yourself, “a good cheeseburger and poutine is what you need.” You know very well that that choice is less than ideal for your health, your cholesterol and your weight. However, ten minutes later, you’ve swallowed it all, along with the regrets that pop up as quickly as the heartburn.
Well, extramarital affairs (if you’ll pardon the comparison) can resemble this scenario. If you think that stories about a boss and his secretary only happen in the city, think again.
Extramarital affairs occur more and more frequently in the country. Why? My father used to say, “opportunity makes the thief.” Businesses today involve both male and female employees. Business associates often drop by, and farmers are very socially active. Opportunity is rife.
Imagine a typical scenario: You’re a few years into your marriage, your family now includes children, and the financial problems, work overload, tension and conflicts have become a daily part of your life. You don’t need more than that for your level of stress to be sky-high, your libido at a record low and romance non-existent.
In other words, nothing works. You get the impression that your partner isn’t the same anymore. You feel neglected, disrespected, misunderstood. You’re hungry for love, for attention, for intimacy, and to feel lovable, special and worthwhile. Initially, it’s just a craving which you can resist, but after a while, you become famished. All of a sudden, you realise that the person who is working beside you is attentive; she’s smiling, she makes you feel lovable, and special. Well, it’s 2:30 in the afternoon and you can no longer resist your hunger.
I will leave you to imagine the rest. For a brief time, everything else is forgotten. You savour, you appreciate, and you satisfy this immense hunger only to find yourself… with heartburn. Shame, guilt, regret and problems soon follow.
For all human beings, emotional hunger can hurt and obsess as much as physical hunger. At some point, nothing matters other than satisfying this hunger so we spend our energy searching for someone who can fulfill it. However, the long-term nutritional value of this emotional sustenance is low and can even be toxic. Of course, some have greater appetites than others, and some can resist better than others.
This “mobile canteen” exists for women as well as for men. It can be an employee, a business associate you see regularly or a colleague you encounter at meetings. The best way to diminish the risks of an uncontrollable hunger is not to isolate yourself, but rather to make sure that you’re never too hungry. Nurturing your marriage is the best way to avoid this type of experience that can often be disastrous for you, your marriage, your children and your business.
So, before succumbing to temptation at the mobile canteen, think about the heartburn that will follow, as well as the long-term nutritional value of this attractive menu. And if it IS 2:30 in the afternoon and you really are famished, don’t go near the canteen, in order to avoid the temptation.
Work Psychologist, professionnal speaker, author and business coach