By Jennifer Karina
“I dated my high school sweetheart for four years ending that relationship to marry my husband a year later. We have been married for three years and blessed with a child. Marriage has been the greatest disappointment and far from what I had hoped for. It is embarrassing admitting this, but I have found much pleasure connecting with my high school sweetheart all over. Whenever we are together, I just know I made a mistake by marrying my husband. I know this is wrong but I cannot stop myself. What do I do?”
Maintain a distance
It is not uncommon for partners to reach out to former lovers, after marriage. When you say, “I do”, it automatically disqualifies you from continuing with close relationships of the opposite sex and certainly not any with your ex. It is helpful to maintain a distance and to set new boundaries early in the relationship. Accountability, integrity and honesty where this is concerned is important. It is advisable to remove photographs, gifts and anything that reminds you of your ex. You have made a decision and so it is necessary to remove any reminders. There is an exemption to every rule depending on personalities, history and circumstances what is important is stay accountable regardless of the situation.
Both partners need to make a conscious decision to withdraw from their ex relationships and to focus on building intimacy in the new relationship. Emotional intimacy begins when two people make a conscious and deliberate decision and commitment to work towards growing in oneness. Your ex lingering in the background will not be helpful because it is only a constant reminder of past shared experiences and emotions, making it even difficult to move on with your life especially when the going gets tough!
Marriage goes through some defined relationship stages. Regardless of the age of the couple when they enter into the marriage, the relationship is characteristic of young love. This is a stage that every couple hopes will last forever; their hearts are busting with passion and expression of love in abundance. It is their time for exploration, getting to know each other, enjoying one another, accommo dating one another and the partners are on an emotional charge.
During this period the relationship is characterised by deep romance. In many ways, it tallies with our fantasies about marriage. The desire to be together and share everything is strong and so is the sexual attraction. This stage lasts for two to three years. In some cases it could last longer or shorter depending on the various relational circumstances. The reality is that all these emotions do settle down at some point and the romantic stage gives way for reality stage.
Hurt and pain
When the feelings wear off with time and sexual energies lessen many partners wrongly assume that something has gone wrong and their relationship is no longer working. They assume that they are no longer in love with their partners because they do not feel the fire anymore.
At this stage, disappointment, loneliness, regret and other similar feelings associated with settling down are common. Love-making may become routine and not as enjoyable as it once did. You can make the difference by working on all levels of intimacy.
The writer is a relationship coach and author of Marriage Built to Last, you can reach her on www.jenniekarina.co.ke