Is a spouse more prone to cheat if they enjoy attention from the opposite sex? | #MyCounselorSays

Josh Spurlock

Question:

Matt says, “Is a wife more prone to cheat if she enjoys the attention of other men?”

Read more to find out what Josh Spurlock, Christian Counselor and Sex Therapist, says on enjoying affirmation from the opposite sex, and putting boundaries in place to guard your heart.

About the Author

This article is based on scientific evidence and clinical experience, written by a licensed professional and fact-checked by experts.

Josh Spurlock, MA, LPC, CST is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Certified Sex Therapists with over 10,000 hours of clinical experience. Josh specializes in Marriage Counseling and Sex Therapy. You can schedule an appointment with Josh for online counseling.

Video Transcript

(Transcript is generated by a software and may have discrepancies from the video.)

Cassie

Welcome to My Counselor Online. I’m Cassie and this is My Counselor Says. My Counselor Says is where you submit a question, either for yourself, or for a friend,  and one of our incredible therapists takes their time and answers your personal question. So let’s go find out what My Counselor Says.

Josh Spurlock on Enjoying Affirmation from the Opposite Sex

To answer that, I’d say that it is normal for us to notice, enjoy, and appreciate the affirmation of the opposite sex, whether that’s from our spouse or from others. And so the fact that a person would notice the attention and affirmation that they might receive from a person of the opposite sex is a pretty normal human experience.

The Danger of Not Acknowledging that We Enjoy Attention from the Opposite Sex

What’s actually more concerning or dangerous is whether or not we acknowledge that reality. If we are able to acknowledge that we noticed that attention and that it feels good, it allows us to also put boundaries in place in a way that helps protect our heart or protect our relationship from developing into something that could be destructive for us and our relationship.

If we’re not able to acknowledge to ourselves, for one reason or another, that those things feel good and that we notice when others are giving us attention, then we don’t take the steps to guard our hearts and protect ourselves from what that could develop into, and that’s more concerning and dangerous.

A Lack of Acknowledge Means a Lack of Boundaries, Which can Result in an Affair

When I’m working with affair situations at our practice, very often we will hear from folks that they didn’t see it coming; they didn’t set out to be unfaithful in their relationship. It’s like a hole in the ground that they just fell into somehow, and they don’t know how they got there.

And as we unpack it, what we discover is that, rather than being able to acknowledge what it is that they were experiencing in terms of attraction towards another person, or enjoying and even pursuing the attention and affirmation of someone of the opposite sex, their inability to acknowledge that with themselves meant that they didn’t take steps to protect their heart around that.

And so, they allowed something to continue to grow inside them, and continued to pursue that they really were turning a blind eye to, because they weren’t willing to acknowledge what it is they were experiencing, or felt like it was bad or evil or sinful to acknowledge that they noticed that or felt that attraction, or felt good about that appreciation. They didn’t guard against what that could develop into, they kept telling themselves that it was nothing, and that it was benign; until it grew into something that clearly wasn’t, because it acted out in a way that was destructive for them and their relationship. And then, they’re in our office, saying, “I don’t know how we got here.”

Acknowledge These Situations and Put Boundaries in Place to Guard Your Heart and Relationship

So, it’s much healthier and better to recognize that as human beings, the quality traits that our spouse possesses that attracts us to them; are not solely held by our spouse; that other individuals have attractive quality traits that we find attractive; having the attention of the opposite sex feels good and is affirming to us; that we would be found having some quality traits that others valued or thought were good; all of that feels good to us.

If we can acknowledge that to ourselves when we feel that pull of attraction in response to others’ affirmation of those things in us, we can allow that to be a trigger for us; a trigger to put boundaries in place that would help guard our heart from that.

Rather that would be sharing that with our spouse, rather that would be inviting a supporter or accountability person that’s in our life into the know around that situation, in order to help have some accountability, limiting our time (and certainly our individual time) and conversation or dialogue with that individual, as a means of guarding and protecting our heart and relationship.

Thanks for your question, Matt.

Cassie

Thank you so much for submitting that question!  We certainly love to answer your questions. If you have a question for yourself or a friend, you can submit it using our web page and then look for the answer in an upcoming edition of our weekly e-newsletter.

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