I had an interesting conversation this morning with a friend about temptation and thought I’d blog about it while it’s still fresh in my mind.
We were discussing a recent infidelity that he experienced with his wife - the how’s and why’s of her actions. Infidelity leaves such a huge scar. I wish more people could see the depth of the scar- how it will affect their companion emotionally, their next relationship, etc. I’m sure it’s similar to a doctor who treats patients with emphysema who wishes he could show the dirty black lungs of his patient to a teenager on the street smoking. It’s so hard for us to really conceptualize the actual pain/aftermath until it happens to us.
I’m sure we can all agree that we’ve been tempted, but what stops the few from acting on temptation from the other sum of people who fall seamlessly into it? The general response might be that people are just more moral than others or that some simply have better willpower. I think I thought growing up that I would simply work and flex this mysterious “temptation muscle” and eventually build up resistance to it somehow?? Hmm, let me tell you…I think with that logic, I’d say you have a 50/50 shot…at best!
I think the only way to really beat temptation and I do mean beat it, is not to get all strung out in these situations to test yourself to see how far you can go, but rather to avoid tempting situations altogether. Be more aware. It sounds simple but really think about it. If we were more aware of our actions, we might not find ourselves in these “sticky” situations later on. Play smarter, not harder. It’s all about the strategy. When someone tells me about a “complicated” situation, believe me, they all started out very simple…
I met a woman on a plane who was returning home from a business trip and we were discussing how we both always try to sit by women. For me, women tend to be more mindful of their space and so it’s a bit more comfortable. For her though, half of her team from work was on the plane- I was so confused, I asked her why she wasn’t sitting with them? She told me she was married and that even though she knows they are good guys, they didn’t need that extra chatter after work where she could end up getting too personal. She said, “Clearly, they know about me but I like to keep intimate conversations to a minimum, you know late at night, end of the work week, conversation just goes off the cuff a bit. I just try to avoid it.” I couldn’t believe this woman’s boundaries! I know it may seem extreme to some, but really this is how affairs start. In fact, this is how 67% of affairs start…at work.
When we think about affairs, we think about the ultimate dirtbag, some jerk guy who just can’t keep his d*ck in his pants- but really, this is happening to people who generally make good decisions. The affairs that are taking place aren’t these sleezy, just need sex so bad, I’ll risk everything and plan a rendezvous. They are these sleazy emotional affairs and they start with disclosing intimate details about your relationship or self. And, that makes sense, right? This is how we build strong intimate bonds with friends and lovers, by disclosing.
So my friends. I tell you…stay aware and be mindful of the conversations you are having. Beat that temptation before it even thinks about getting it’s steamy stickiness near you!
** Also, just a note, of course there are affairs that are just sex but most would be surprised that the research we have on affairs suggests that more affairs are emotional, not sexual. For more reading on affairs I recommend Not “Just Friends”: Rebuilding Trust and Recovering Your Sanity After Infidelity by Shirley P. Glass.