Usually, you’d never argue with flowers, gifts or special dinners out. Those special home-made meals should make you feel loved and appreciated.
So why are they suddenly ‘ringing wrong’ and making you uncomfortable? Could they be signs that your partner is feeling guilty about something?
Guilt can be a tough burden to live with. If we still care about our husband or wife, but we find ourselves drawn into a tryst or ongoing affair, anyway, we’re in conflict.
Regardless of whether we find ourselves ending or continuing the affair, we don’t want to lose our primary relationship and the life we’ve built around it.
More, we know we’re wrong. We’ve betrayed our loved one on the deepest level. So how do we feel?
Luckily for the innocent victim, these signs of guilt come out in all sorts of visible, palpable ways.
If you know what to look for, you can not only spot these guilty giveaways, you can interpret them correctly instead of fooling or blaming yourself:
• Your man suddenly starts bringing you flowers for no reason
• Your wife offers back rubs or becomes sexually demonstrative (when usually she wouldn’t)
• He starts surprising you with dinners out
• She decides to start cooking you your favorite special meals – and it’s not your birthday
• He uncharacteristically surprises you with a gift or jewelry and there are no Holidays coming up
• More affectionate, but it feels contrived, over-done or desperate
Or it could go the other way, with negative guilty behaviors:
• Suddenly starts picking fights
• Emotional distance
• Physical distance
• Accuses you of lying
• Questions YOUR whereabouts
• Begins finding fault with you; your manner, your appearance, your housekeeping, your sense of humor, anything — as long as fault can be found
While it is possible that something other than infidelity could be causing these symptoms of guilt (losing a job, perhaps, or losing money because of a poor investment choice), those other concerns tend to be brought out into the open eventually when your partner has worked through her feelings or resolved the situation enough to be able to talk to you about it.
This is understandable. Especially for men, who are geared towards being productive, (taking pride in and taking their sense of self-worth from their careers), not meeting family financial obligations can cause feelings of despair, nervousness and – yes – guilt.
Also, even if they never confess to such a perceived failure, it’s probable that once your spouse has found a way to correct or make up for it (making a better investment, working extra hours until the shortfall is made up or getting that new job) things will go back to where they were before the problem.
The secret that never gets told, though, the increasing level of alienation and estrangement, are signs that something different may be going on.
Another difference is that, in a cheating situation, your spouse is likely to grow more secretive, more argumentative, more aloof, distant or abusive over time.
What should you do if your partner seems to be exhibiting the guilty signs of infidelity?
Or — What if YOU’RE the one stepping out on your partner and finding yourself wracked with guilt, yet unable to break off the affair?
In either case, short of you two talking about it openly and calmly (possible but improbable) the best course of action might be to find a good professional therapist or counselor to help you sort things out.
Guilt associated with infidelity runs deep and can do serious damage to all involved. Don’t try to go it alone.
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