Whether you usually get along as cozily as two peas in a pod, or tend to fight things out as a matter of course, if your spouse suddenly seems to be picking fights or is hyper-easily offended, perhaps she’s hiding something.
Let’s face it: most couples squabble from time to time. But lately it seems she’s just looking for things to be unhappy about.
Maybe he’s starting to criticize your cooking more, or she’s nit-picking chores you’ve done around the home. You feel like suddenly you just can’t do anything right.
Maybe she’s even giving your sagging midsection an appraising (and disapproving) look, or he’s making snide comments about how you dress or how you wear your hair.
It’s not that they seem concerned about your health or want to help you make the best impression before a job interview; they seem to just plain no longer LIKE you.
Be alert for these other ‘red flags’ of a cheating spouse:
• Strange calls/hang ups
• More/less sexual or emotional intimacy
• More privacy demanded around phone use, briefcases or purses
• Unexplained charges on the credit cards
• Sudden preoccupation with personal appearance, hygiene or grooming
• Evasiveness or defensiveness
You get the idea.
Perhaps your intuition is already telling you what you don’t want to hear; your lover may be having an affair.
Why would infidelity lead your partner to be super-critical or edgy?
• Misdirection (diversion)
• A growing dissatisfaction with your relationship
• And, frankly, the sexual thrill of cruelty
The most likely scenario is that your wayward spouse is simply reacting from deep guilt, and trying in her own way to put the blame on you, making YOU the ‘bad guy’ to justify her behavior.
One thing you won’t usually read is that sometimes, depending on your history as a couple and the cheater’s personality, the sheer sexual thrill of hurting the one you’re stepping out on can be a real rush.
So as dark as is may be, the fact that he or she can ‘kick you when you’re down’ may dramatically raise his level of sexual enjoyment, enable and escalate the affair, and bring out his or her latent tendencies for cruelty.
Worse is when your cheating partner then runs off to his mistress or, having found an excuse to drive off in a huff, she storms out to visit her lover, and they have especially hot sex afterwards.
That can become a sexual addiction even beyond the emotional component of the affair itself.
This is a very tricky slope to navigate.
What can you do to?
While, what you probably want are the right ‘magic words’ and advice to either make everything better or address the situation yourself, your smartest (and kindest) move might be to turn first to your professional counselor or therapist to help you sort through your suspicions, feelings and next steps.
They’ll help you look at things from different angles and perhaps more objectively (after all, it IS possible your spouse is innocent of any wrongdoing), and plot your course of action.
Most of all, take care of yourself and don’t beat yourself up with feelings of inadequacy or self-blame. Be kind to yourself and work on a healing solution with the help of your church or therapist.
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