woman longs to be appreciated, respected, and adored, but when her needs aren't
met within her marriage, she could be tempted to walk away. As little hurts and
disappointments accumulate and her heart hardens, a woman's loneliness and vulnerability
take over, and she might find emotional fulfillment elsewhere, perhaps in even
a casual encounter with another man. When the marriage enters this realm of real
danger, the woman believes it will be less painful to walk away than try to work
on it. With heart and wisdom, Dr. Steve Stephens and Alice Gray offer practical
advice for how to stop this epidemic of walk-out women. They outline the warning
signs of severe marital discontent and share how to reconnect with your spouse,
communicate your hurt, and open your heart. If both partners are willing to work
at it, any marriage can be saved.
WOMEN: Fantasies on the Internet
Dr Steve Stephens and Alice Gray
In my practice, I (Steve) see a trend
that alarms me. Increasingly, I meet women who are living out their fantasies
on the Internet. "It's just a game," said one of my clients. "I
don't know the men and they don't know me, so how can it be wrong?" Women
who think an Internet Affair is safe and innocent couldn't be more wrong. Like
quicksand, it keeps sucking you in deeper and deeper even when you are seriously
trying to get out.
progresses quickly from curiosity to flirtation, to emotional involvement, and
eventually to contact. Even if you resist actually meeting a man, once you start
sharing on an emotional level, this fantasy person has captured part of your heart
and soon will seem better and more interesting than your husband.
Fantasies Can Hurt You
Whether acted out on the Net or in real life,
such fantasies can be harmful for a number of important reasonsaside from
the difficulties of divorce. The most obvious is that even an emotional affair
can cause irreparable damage to an imperfect but workable relationship. Nothing
hurts like betrayal. And while a marriage can recover from an affair, the road
to such recovery can be steep and painful.
Yet another danger of "I can
do better" fantasies is that they are usually just thatfantasies. They
are usually based on delusions and can lead to even deeper disappointment than
what you are now facing. After all, anyone can put on a good front for a short
period of timeor in cyberspace.
But the handsome, charming, excitingor
gentle, understanding, and tenderman you believe will rescue you from your
relational doldrums is likely to look quite different once you really get to know
him. If he is single and knows you are married, research shows that he is most
likely narcissistic, alcoholic, or has problems with commitment. If he is married
as well, then you are getting involved with a married man who cheats on his wife.
Is that really the kind of person you believe will help you discover something
The Many Loves of Marriage, artist and author Thomas Kinkade points out another
important problem with fantasizing about the perfect person or the prefect relationship:
get a divorce, link up with someone new, and suddenly they're doing all the fun
romantic stuffmoonlight walks and bicycle rides and exotic getaways. They
could have done all of those things with the spouse they just left, but they didn't.
As a result, they endure the trauma and humiliation of a wrenching divorce, shattering
change in their lives, great financial loss, and bitter, deeply wounded children...
all for the sake of "new romantic experiences."
And then Kinkade
asks a very pertinent question: "And how long do you think that relationship
As men and women have discovered through the ages, infidelity
and delusion form a very shaky foundation for happiness. No matter how painful
your marriage is now and how unhappy you are in it, your chances of finding lasting
happiness in the form of "someone better" are slim indeed. Doesn't it
make more sense to invest your time, energy, and emotions into making your current
You Gone too Far?
The idea of "I can do better than this"
often begins with seemingly innocent questions like "What if I were single?"
or "What if I had married someone else?" These questions are reinforced
by the idealisticand unrealisticdepiction of love in romantic movies,
television, music, and novels. It's easy to become attached to the illusion of
finding someone other than your husband who can meet all your wants, needs, and
Remember that every time you think about being with someone other
than your husband, you are undermining your marriage and breaking your vows. God's
word is clear that fantasizing about having sex with anyone other than your spouse
is sin. That may sound severe, but every sin that we eventually act out in our
bodies begins in our mindsand the easiest place to stop it is in the mind
The first step in ending an affair, in other words, is never allowing
it to start. If there is someone you are seriously attracted towhether a
checker at the grocery store, a friend's husband, or someone you met casually
we urge you to do what you must to put him out of your thoughts. In most
cases, this will involve avoiding all contact with the person.
One woman found
herself very attracted to a man at her church. They had never met, but he was
the kind of man women notice, and seeing him stirred her romantic imagination.
She changed where she sat in church so he wasn't in her line of vision and avoided
places where she might bump into him. Eventually he moved away and she was thankful
she had succeeded in never having a conversation with the handsome gentleman.
you have allowed conversations with another man (whether in person, on the phone,
or on the Internet) to move to a personal level, you may be on the brink of or
already involved in an emotional affair. Dennis Rainey, award-winning author and
founder of FamilyLife ministries, gives the following sever warning signs that
you are too involved:
You've got a need you feel your mate isn't
meetingfor attention, approval, affectionand that other person begins
meeting your need.
You find it easier to unwind with someone other than
your spouse by dissecting the day's difficulties over lunch, coffee, or during
a ride home.
You begin to talk about problems you are having with your
You rationalize the relationship by saying that surely it must
be God's will to talk so openly and honestly with a fellow Christian. You become
defensive about the relationship and protective of it.
You look forward
to being with this person more than with your won mate.
You wonder what
you'd do if you didn't have this friend to talk to.
You hide the relationship
from your mate.
Another quick test is to ask yourself if you would like
your husband to know about or to listen to the conversations you are having. If
your answer is no to either question, chances are that you have gone too far.
should you do if that's the case? We urge you to break off your connection with
that individual immediately, no matter how fulfilling your conversations have
become. This means no more e-mails, no more meeting for lunch or coffee, and no
more private conversations. Period! Fill the void by choosing a girlfriend or
a mentor who is in a healthy marriage and ask if you can vent with her for a few
months while your marriage gets back on track.
If you are involved sexually
with someone other than your husband, it's even more crucial that you make a commitment
right now to end the affair immediately. Do it today.
Walk-Out Woman : When Your Heart is Empty and Your Dreams Are Lost
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