Closing The Exits In Your Marriage

Closing The Exits In Your Marriage
Heartbreak, Love

Protect your marriage by avoiding these four harmful behaviors.

When most people are asked to describe what "cheating" would look like in their relationship the first thing that comes to mind is an extramarital affair. But there are a number of ways you can cheat your partner out of genuine intimacy without ever having an affair.

As a Certified Imago Relationship Therapist, I am all too familiar with the importance of "closing the exits" in your marriage. Affairs, addictions and even mental illness can all be forms of hard-core exits. But exits can also be those subtle little diversions couples engage in that enable them to avoid true intimacy with each other.

Here are four examples of seemingly innocent behavior that can erode your relationship in powerful ways.

1) Over Focusing on Your Children

This one is so easy to rationalize, after all, who doesn't want to be considered a great parent? Of course, quality time with your children is important, but not when it's a substitute for quality time with your spouse.

Red flag - Are you spending most evenings reading for long hours with your kids, while your spouse watches television alone? Do your little ones often end up sleeping between the two of you, making sexual intimacy virtually impossible?

2) Working Long Hours

This could mean spending many hours at the office, but it may also mean, for example, being home with your spouse while glued to your laptop.

Red flag - Is your spouse often commenting that you're just not focused enough? Are you missing important family events because of work?

3) Excessive Time Watching TV or Surfing the Net

Everyone needs downtime and these activities help us to decompress after a hard day, but they become troublesome when they are substitutes for meaningful interaction with your spouse. 

Red flag - Are you spending many hours engrossed in the television, computer, or cell phone while your spouse is feeling neglected? Are you spending more time talking on social media than talking to your spouse?

4) Cybersex and Porn

This can sometimes feel like a betrayal every bit as painful as an affair.

Red flag - Has engaging in porn become a substitute for physical intimacy with your spouse? Is your spouse feeling rejected and threatened by this behavior?

An exit drains energy from the relationship and will slowly erode the warm connection you once had. Examining these exits with openness and sincerity is the first step toward recreating that passionate relationship again.

Click here for commentary on this article on the Huffington Post.

If you would like to talk to me personally about how to have a more passionate and supportive marriage click here to set up a Discovery Session with me.

This article was originally published at Christine Wilke. Reprinted with permission from the author.