Via Wendy Strgar
on Feb 3, 2012
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Infidelity — Proof Your Relationship.

We are not a happy sexual bunch.

According to a recent CNN poll, nearly 40 million Americans are stuck in a sexual rut, and more than 52% of us are dissatisfied with our love lives.

A neglected unhealthy sex life makes relationships more vulnerable to anger and resentment and is often cited as the primary motivation for infidelity. Unfortunately, you can’t really cure an unhealthy sexual life without curing the aspects of the relationship that lead you to avoiding intimacy. I know from the thousands of people I have spoken to over the years, that malfunctioning sex lives is the result of malfunctioning relating and almost never the other way around.

1) Living with people and their quirks and anomalies is fundamentally different from falling in love with them.  Falling in love is all about the biologically driven attractions that make all of our partner’s traits seem loveable. After that spell wears off, what we mostly find is that the same traits we found loveable can over time become annoying.  The best therapist we ever had told me this million dollar piece of advice one day when I thought I couldn’t stand another minute of my husband’s zealous need for order and cleanliness. He asked me to hold those strong feelings in one hand, and then he asked me to open the other hand and list what I loved about my husband.   As I sat there with my hands open, I saw for the first time what a balanced perspective of love looks like. It allows you to not get so swept up in what is annoying you that you don’t lose sight of what you love. It is, he taught me, what mature love looks and feels like.

2) I personally witness in my own family how often we can get completely sidetracked by needing above all to be right. Relationships that live in a constant proving ground of right and wrong leave little room for anything else. One person is always on the defense and the other one seems to always be ready to prove their point. All of the most compelling human qualities of relating, like being curious and open about what makes your partner tick, get swallowed up and the seeds of loving intimacy are squashed each time someone is made wrong. If you can’t think about your relationship as a form of education, then it’s not worth being in it.

3) Take your foot out of the door. So many relationships suffer from an internal reticence where one or both partners can’t or won’t fully commit to the person they have chosen. The tragic thing about the one-foot-out-the-door syndrome is that you never really get to see what the relationship could become. Relationships that have both partners all in will tell you that problems get resolved, issues move forward, and compassionate connection flourishes because both people are committed to the container of their love first. This might be the most prevalent bad excuse for infidelity, when people immaturely commit and don’t realize that making a promise to someone actually means giving up the ability to choose anyone else.

4) Bringing gratitude into your relationship will revolutionize your intimate life. You can’t be grateful if you don’t know how to receive the love your partner is giving you. Learning to receive may well be the most significant educational deficit, which many of us bring to our relationships. Receiving means letting go of what you think it should look like and listening for what is behind the words you are hearing. Applying these practices to your most intimate moments may well surprise you with an ability to experiment with and communicate about the wide range of pleasure-seeking that is lurking within your relationship. When people feel appreciated as they are and know that their love is acceptable just as it is, the door opens wide for passion.

5) Stop holding your relationship and your partner hostage for your unresolved endings, past self esteem crises and old internal conflicts. A healthy relationship is not supposed to function as a healing balm for unresolved inner pain. The container of love that is a relationship is where two people intentionally work to bring their best selves to create a space where everyone can become a better version of themselves. It cannot bear the weight of unfinished personal development issues that one partner neglects or refuses to see. There is nothing sexy about this relationship trap that usually ends up making both people sick instead of well.

All of this relationship work should make it easy to commit to a regularly scheduled sex life.   No excuses, no delays, no unwillingness to experiment and discover how amazing coupled pleasure can be. Bringing curiosity to the bedroom is sometimes all it takes to get out of a repetitive rut. Holding a balanced view of how you love someone will give you the patience and ability to be vulnerable, both prerequisite to an expanding sexual vocabulary. Full on presence and gratefully receiving your lover is actually the key to orgasmic fireworks. Why look any further?

Infidelity is not what it is cracked up to be.


About Wendy Strgar

Wendy Strgar, founder and CEO of Good Clean Love, is a loveologist who writes and lectures on Making Love Sustainable, a green philosophy of relationships which teaches the importance of valuing the renewable resources of love, intimacy and family. In her new book, Love that Works: A Guide to Enduring Intimacy, she tackles the challenging issues of sustaining relationships and healthy intimacy with an authentic and disarming style and simple yet innovative advice. It has been called "the essential guide for relationships." The book is available on ebook, as well as in paperback online. Wendy has been married for 27 years to her husband, a psychiatrist, and lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.


11 Responses to “Infidelity.”

  1. jaimee says:

    Yay! Wendy, thank you for this beautiful and thought-provoking article. I especially enjoyed #5's point of unfinished personal development. I am taking this time in my life at 25 to truly get to know myself and become more of a whole person. I know that I will be a much better partner in the long run. Thanks for this reminder!

  2. Jean says:

    Well said!!! I'm a therapist who works with couples.. I'm going to use some of your insightful points! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Donovan Moore says:

    not bad

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  5. […] away for the summer and I meet someone else—someone who rouses that slumbering beast within me. And I fuck him. And again, I feel like this out-of-control animal. And again, I make a decision to tamp down that […]

  6. […] know,” I said. Never having had an affair with a married man, I did have a history of dating guys with varying degrees of unavailability and knew how painful it […]

  7. Dearbhla says:

    Excellent article. Thank you Wendy.

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  9. Clauda says:

    You always write the best stuff. It's real and you have life experience.