Let’s take a look at another myth about sex:
Myth #2: Conflict will kill romance. Never complain and never fight.
Hmm… Instead of shying away from conflict, we recommend that you:
Discuss your innermost feelings and don’t avoid conflict.
This piece of advice may seem very hard to actually follow at first, but it is absolutely critical to trust. The late psychologist Shirley Glass had the deepest insights into extra-marital sexual affairs.
She is essentially the one who took infidelity out of the pulpit, and showed how natural it can be. She explained how in many cases there is a natural progression into an affair.
Here’s what she found typically happens. After the baby arrives it is very likely for both partners to neglect one another. Sex declines, and even conversation goes down dramatically. It is very common for both people to feel unappreciated, and a bit lonely.
So let’s take one of our couples, Harry and Liz, and explain their story. Harry was feeling exhausted, neglected, horny, and a bit lonely. One day Harry had a very interesting conversation at an office party with one of his coworkers, Helen. He and Helen laughed together, they told one another the stories of their lives and they had fun talking.
Harry complained about how difficult life had become since the baby arrived. He complained that Liz was now so absorbed with the baby that there was no time for him anymore. Helen was very understanding. Harry felt much better. Nothing physical happened between Harry and Helen. There was no touching or hand-holding or kissing. But Harry found himself thinking of Helen, not Liz on the drive home.
As Harry drove home he thought to himself, “Liz and I haven’t had that kind of fun time together in a long time. I should go home and tell Liz about this conversation I just had with Helen. I should tell her that I am worried that we aren’t having that kind of fun with each other anymore.” It seemed like a good idea but then Harry imagined Liz’s reaction.
He knew that she would be furious with him, and she’d be right. Harry felt guilty. Liz would call him a big baby and tell him to grow up. He might even agree with her. She would tell him that life with a baby was no picnic for her either.
He knew that when she said these things, he would feel even more awful and guilty. So, he thought, “The hell with it, I just won’t say anything. Nothing really happened anyway. What she doesn’t know won’t hurt her.”
But then Harry had a secret. He didn’t tell Liz about Helen and in doing so he compromised his intimacy with Liz. What she didn’t know actually ended up hurting him. He was now protecting his secret friendship with Helen.
Usually there are walls in a relationship to keep the world out, and a couple looks out the windows together at the rest of the world. But now that had changed for Harry. Now Helen had a window into Harry and Liz’s relationship, and there was a wall shutting Liz out of Harry and Helen’s relationship. A boundary had been crossed. A small one not a big one, but a boundary nonetheless...