As Karen gets ready for bed after the party, she even wears matronly underwear with zero sex appeal. Harry doesn't bother to look at her as they get into bed. We can see why he's lost sexual interest, even though Karen't a caring mother and competent spouse.
Next we get a glimpse of Mia getting undressed, wearing sexy red lingerie and the gold necklace from Harry.
After the party, Karen can't fall asleep, her eyes are now open to the real threat Mia poses in her marriage.
My advice to Karen and any spouse who's stopped being playful, provocative and passionate with your partner:
Don't be surprised that your lack of romantic sizzle douses sparks of attraction. Even if you're a fabulous parent or provider, when you allow soulmates to become roommates, you've entered the danger zone in your marriage.
In a heartbreaking scene on Christmas Eve, Karen thinks she's opening Harry's gift of a gold necklace which she'd found in his pocket. When Karen opens a music cd instead of a gold necklace, she retreats to her bedroom with British reserve to have a private cry without upsetting Harry and their two children.
Karen waits till after the holiday to confront her husband about the necklace:
Karen: Tell me, if you were in my position, what would you do?
Harry: What position is that?
Karen: Imagine your husband bought a gold necklace, and come Christmas gave it to somebody else...
Harry: Oh, Karen...
Karen: Would you wait around to find out if it's just a necklace, or if it's sex and a necklace, or if, worst of all, it's a necklace and love? Would you stay, knowing life would always be a little bit worse? Or would you cut and run?
Harry: Oh, God. I am so in the wrong. The classic fool!
Karen: [voice breaking] Yes, but you've also made a fool out of me, and you've made the life I lead foolish, too!
Why is this elegant confrontation so poignant?
It shows how each spouse can justify distractions that steal power from a marriage. At least Harry admits he was a classic fool to fall for a young woman who makes him feel sexy again. Karen still doesn't see how making a top priority of motherhood and sacrificing passionate intimacy with Harry suffocates the romantic chemistry which is needed to keep marriages fresh and exciting.
Preventing an office affair:
What can couples do to protect your marriage from sexual temptations at the office?
Do the opposite of Harry and Karen. Make time each day to focus on each other and keep romance alive. Schedule a date night at least once a week when there's no talk of kids or careers, duties or deadlines. Do something fun that you each enjoy on date night. Wear something sexy and exciting. Be playful and build sexual tension by suggesting what might happen at the end of your date, if you're lucky. When you create a new habit of dating your mate, you create a foundation of fun that every couple wants and no one wants to throw away through an office affair.
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