Think of the love in a marriage as a campfire. There are actions that can be done to stoke the fire and make it hotter–those are Love Kindlers. There are actions that can be done that are like putting water on a fire–some are like dribbles out of a holey bucket, and some are like dumping a big old bucket of water on the fire. Those are Love Extinguishers. When two people first met there were no Love Extinguishers because they put forth their best image and the two were not sharing a home, bills, and chores yet. At the same time there were TONS of Love Kindlers. Think about it! People in love tend to spend a lot of time together; they talk to each other and get to know each other–and they actually stop and listen; they do fun things together like go bowling or take walks; they look good for each other and flirt…. See all those kindlers? And sure enough, the fire of love blazes and they get married.
Like all young couples they thought their love would “conquer all” and never even considered that one of them would cheat. Sure that happens to other people, but their marriage was different and special and it would never happen to them.
Then enter just a few Love Extinguishers.
The Loyal Spouse put the Disloyal Spouse through college so they could get ahead in life, and the Loyal Spouse always thought that his/her sacrifice would be paid back worth it “someday” when they were successful as a couple. Meanwhile, Disloyal Spouse worked and worked to climb the corporate ladder, thinking that he/she was “providing for the family” and doing it to get ahead. The Loyal Spouse began to be involved with their own college, work or activities and forgot to take time for Disloyal Spouse. In fact, when he/she did see Disloyal Spouse, he/she complained because Disloyal Spouse wasn’t helping out with the shared household chores. And Disloyal Spouse also forgot to make time for him/her and began working longer and longer hours at work. Sometimes they didn’t even see each other awake for DAYS…and when they did, one or the other of them had negative things to say. Maybe she’s not a great money manager (or the opposite, a controlling penny-pincher); when he’s home he’d rather sit in front of the TV or PC to veg out. They don’t talk anymore…and the Love Extinguishers are dribbling on the fire. Then more Love Extinguishers are added–kids are born and there’s even LESS time together; she gains some weight and he wear sweats; he yells at her about bills and she disrespects his job; he wants sex and she doesn’t feel connected to him so she resents it. The Love Extinguishers are getting to be less like a drip and more like a downpour.
Right about then…enter stage left the Other Person. Other Person is a colleague at the Disloyal Spouse’s office, a classmate in a college class, or an old romance from “way back when” found on Facebook. The Other Person has no Love Extinguishers because they are putting forth their best image. The Other Person is happy to hear from them–they dress up/look nice and wear cologne–whereas the Loyal Spouse is at home wearing jeans and a t-shirt. The Other Person knows all about work or the class…what he/she does…how he/she does it…what is hard about it…what is easy about it…what the Disloyal Spouse struggles with…and probably spends 8 hours a day with them–whereas the Loyal Spouse is bored hearing about work or school, has no idea how hard it is, and spends hardly any time with Disloyal Spouse. Pretty soon, the Disloyal Spouse starts talking to Other Person about a fight that he/she had with the Loyal Spouse the night before…and Other Person is understanding and takes their side. Then Disloyal Spouse starts going with the Other Person to work conferences or extra-curricular activities and kind of “seeks out” OP and sits by him/her at lunch. Soon, they are talking like teenagers at lunch–phoning each other on the cell phone “for work”–and emailing all night long. Part of the Disloyal Spouse is thrilled that someone else thinks they’re neat! They are happy…and a little love zing of amphetamine hits their brain. Then they flirt a little and the Other Person flirts back! And pretty soon after that, one of them mentions that they have feelings for the other … and that’s it. The decide they are “in love” and kiss.
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