Thursday, April 19, 2018
Parenting & Relationships

You can't give your marriage the attention it needs if you're distracted by your crush

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Step back from crush to give marriage attention it deserves

Q: What are you supposed to do when you meet someone who so clearly highlights everything you're missing in your current relationship?

I started a new job and have connected on a serious level with one of my co-workers. He's in a five-year relationship, and I'm five years married. We often find ourselves in these intense conversations and seem to relate to each other on just about everything. No topics have verged on the romantic or suggestive, but I'm strongly attracted to him, and I suspect he feels the same about me.

Also, we seem to be finding more and more excuses to spend time together outside of work. I've never had such intense conversations with my husband, and now I realize how much intellectual stimulation I've been missing out on in my marriage. And it doesn't seem like something you can simply "reignite" or "recapture" — that mental spark is either there between two people or it's not.

Does this sort of thing end marriages?

Intellectual Spark

A: Often, yes. Sometimes it doesn't. The important thing is to decide right now that you're not going to surrender yourself to the laws of unintended consequences. That just leaves a swath of casualties and collateral damage.

Instead, make choices.

That includes giving objective attention to your marriage; you've got the lust goggles on, and that means you're not getting a fair or accurate look at your husband — or Sparky.

That also means you quit playing footsie with Sparky, and stop with the "finding more and more excuses." Next time he suggests something, you say, "No, this is getting out of hand, I have to go home." Do it even though your every cell screams to play footsie. (I wish I had a Velcro-ripping sound effect to throw in here.)

Once you're back on a path of deliberate choices, ask yourself whether you'd want to stay in your marriage even if Sparky vaporized tomorrow. If the answer is yes, then do the work your marriage needs. You can't reproduce an intellectual fizz that never existed, but you can recall the best of what you and your husband did share, and nurture that. Or you can focus on the (many) benefits of being with someone who has seen you at your lowest and is still at your side.

If the answer is no, if you don't think you can feel or show love for your husband anymore, then it's especially imperative that you distance yourself from Sparky as you start thinking about a separation.

That is, a separation without imagining Sparky waiting for you on the other side. You don't know that he wants that, or whether you even want it. You don't know him yet, not really. Ever have a crush burn out? Happens fast, doesn't it? Leaves you wondering what you were thinking? Yeah.

Now imagine chucking a marriage for that crush. Ouch.

You have to assume your Sparky ardor will fade, and manage your life accordingly. If Sparky is right for you, then you can find that out if, and only if, the process of getting your emotional life in order delivers you to a place where you are not just single, but also fine on your own.

Comments

Tell Me About It: How to deal with conversation dominators

Q: We have a few relatives, including a sibling, who we don’t see or hear from often, as we are busy or live far away. We meet over a meal or for an hour or so, or at family gatherings requiring a drive, and I am so frustrated that they dominate the ...
Published: 04/19/18
Plan your weekend: Kenny Chesney, ‘The Producers’ in the park, Mainsail Art Fest, Sugar Sand Fest, Earth Day

Plan your weekend: Kenny Chesney, ‘The Producers’ in the park, Mainsail Art Fest, Sugar Sand Fest, Earth Day

The top things to do April 20 to 22 in Tampa, St. Petersburg and the whole Tampa Bay area.
Published: 04/18/18
The newest trend for Tampa date nights? Indoor ax throwing

The newest trend for Tampa date nights? Indoor ax throwing

Axe Throwing Tampa and Raider Axe Lodge are bringing the axe-throwing trend to the Tampa Bay area.
Published: 04/18/18
Top things to do in Tampa Bay: Sugar Sand Festival, Record Store Day, ZooBrews, Beerfest

Top things to do in Tampa Bay: Sugar Sand Festival, Record Store Day, ZooBrews, Beerfest

BEER: ZooBrews and BeerfestAs if we needed any more proof of the craft beer craze, this weekend brings two events with a smorgasbord of samplings. • The newly renamed ZooTampa at Lowry Park is calling ZooBrews a new event that appears to be an awful ...
Published: 04/18/18
Huge concert week in Tampa: Foo Fighters, Kenny Chesney, 98 Rockfest, more

Huge concert week in Tampa: Foo Fighters, Kenny Chesney, 98 Rockfest, more

PURE NIRVANA: Foo FightersDave Grohl may be America’s last unquestioned rock god. He’s played with Kurt Cobain and Jimmy Page, Tom Petty and Trent Reznor and St. Vincent, and he also leads a pretty decent group — perhaps you’ve heard of them — called...
Published: 04/18/18
5 things to do under $5: Taste of Science talks, free ‘Field of Dreams’ screening

5 things to do under $5: Taste of Science talks, free ‘Field of Dreams’ screening

1 Field of Dreams: Kick off baseball season with Tampa Bay Rays mascots and a movie that makes every baseball fan cry. Raymond and DJ Kitty will be at Tampa Theatre for photos and you can join in a Take Me Out to the Ballpark sing-along on the Mighty...
Published: 04/18/18

Tell Me About It: Don’t feel awkward about checking friend

Q: My husband and I adopted a dog that does not like strangers; he is in intensive training and part of that is having strangers over to our house to practice meeting people. I usually invite a friend over after explaining the situation and promising...
Published: 04/18/18

Tell Me About It: Should parents help with daughter’s dog?

Q: About a year and a half ago my husband and I purchased a dog. She was way too busy for us, so my daughter took her. We helped pay to have the dog spayed, as she was ours to start with.Anyway, since then, whenever my daughter takes a trip for a wee...
Published: 04/17/18

Tell Me About It: Boyfriend won’t open up about their future

Q: I have been seriously dating my boyfriend for over two years, and we live together. I have expressed more than once that I want to be married, and that it is something I value and want in life, and we had a lengthy conversation about it a couple m...
Published: 04/16/18

Tell Me About It: Boys’ similar history draws comparisons

Q: My late husband died when our son was 18-months. We always had the basics, I made sure of that, but we both went without a lot of the extras. My son just started college and his random roommate assignment happens to be a boy whose father also died...
Published: 04/15/18