Q & A

Married Roommates, a Parenting Conflict and Feeling Devalued

Things are okay between my husband and me, although we don't have sex as much as we'd like. The biggest problem is that we feel like roommates; things are kind of flat, separate between us. Meanwhile, a man at the school where I teach has been paying a lot of attention to me. I've started thinking about whether he'll notice what I'm wearing or how I'm doing my hair. I'm praying that these feelings will go away, and I don't do anything to encourage him. But I can't seem to stop noticing his attention.

You are wise to be concerned about the way you're noticing this other man's attention. That kind of attention is actually the most common first step toward an affair. Sex itself is usually a secondary issue; it's the sense of being considered important, attractive and affirmed that draws men and women into trouble. This man at work has his own intimacy needs, whether or not he recognizes them. And the combination of two folks who could both use some attention can be lethal.

You describe a sort of "flatness" in your marriage, so it's not surprising that a bit of male attention is capturing your imagination. Your desire for love, acceptance and affirmation is normal. But, of course, the right place to have those desires met is at home.

You don't sound too discouraged about your marriage. That's good, because it's common for intimacy needs to shift as partners change and their relationship matures. As you hit different stages, you'll want to keep talking about how you feel and what you need from each other. So sit down and talk with your husband. Tell him you feel the need for more intimacy with him. Perhaps he will express his own need for more affirmation or attention. Maybe the two of you could read Chuck Swindoll's Strike the Original Match (Zondervan), a short book with lots of "easier than you think" ideas for how to rekindle some excitement between you and your spouse.

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Infidelity; Marriage; Parenting; Work
Today's Christian Woman, Summer, 1998
Posted September 12, 2008

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