-- Question for John --
I have been married for seven years. My husband and I have two kids. I have a significant problem. You could say I’m a married mother with the seven year itch. I am extremely attracted to another man who possesses those qualities that I often criticize my husband for not having — spontaneous, quick witted, fun, exciting — all the things that life is not always about on a daily basis.
My husband is also quick witted and bright, but is also very bottom line and highly focused on day to day responsibilities that are not so exciting — job, bills, etc.
I have the opportunity to act on my attraction, which I believe is mutual. My heart says to act on it, and I have mildly flirted already, but my brain says no, because I am scared of the consequences.
Is this natural? What should I do?
-- Answer from John --
Your brain is smart. It has an important message. The consequences could be severe. You and your family have a lot to lose if you are not careful.
The excitement of a new person is fleeting and illusory. The damage to a marriage from an affair is certain and deep. Spouses have a sixth sense — so don’t hope you can just have a fling and “get away with it.”
We suggest you immediately seek out counseling and explore how to tear down the wall separating you and your husband from your mutual passion. You can get it back if you focus on what really matters here.
Take this attraction to someone else as a sign. It is time to revitalize your marriage — now!
Here is a 7-Step Program for the 7-Year Itch. While we hope you can reignite passion in your marriage, this is an overall road map to changing your life:
(1) Take responsibility for the state of your marriage. Own your role in how it is now. Own what holds you back from making changes.
(2) Commit to dealing with whatever is siphoning off excitement and passion from your marriage. Get at least six months of counseling. Enroll your husband in this. Do not accept “No” for an answer. Impress upon him the critical importance of this. Tell him you are committed to making a breakthrough in your marriage right now — or else!
(3) If counseling does not change a thing, state your desire to separate.
(4) See if that shock unleashes a break in the wall or a bit of well-needed crisis.
(5) If nothing, separate for six months. We recommend you don’t date others.
(6) If there still is no progress, then move to divorce, complete things emotionally, and setup good co-parenting arrangements.
(7) Review how you were responsible for the failure of your marriage. Deal with those inner causes — so you do not have to fail in your next significant relationship.
Now you are ready to pursue a new affair in a way that will have some chance to turn into lasting love. Of course, most people do not go through the seven steps. They create havoc in their own lives and the lives of all others involved including their children.
They may use an affair to exit a marriage. They then have a series of affairs that crash and burn each time they discover the “real” other person — after the intoxication of the honeymoon wears off.
We sincerely hope you own your role in this situation. Open your heart to that man you call your husband. Don’t believe he is as limited as you see him. Open your heart to the kids you chose to birth. Open your heart to the possibility that you can reignite passion at home. See this outside attraction as a sign. It is time to initiate a breakthrough with that man you share a home with now. You can do that, if you want.