Recently, I encountered a scenario where a gracious woman disclosed that her current husband had an emotional affair in his previous relationship. Her assertion struck a chord: "There's no way it was a sexual affair; he has a significantly low libido." It's worth noting that the man in question is now 75 years old. However, this observation, coupled with the recognition that a diminished interest in intimacy within a relationship can stem from various factors like pornography or masturbation addictions, prompted me to delve deeper into the intricate web of emotional affairs.
In the intricate landscape of human connections, emotional affairs present a complex dimension. While not confined to a specific gender, the perception of men engaging in emotional affairs warrants a closer examination. Here are twelve points to unravel the reasons behind why men may be drawn to notional affairs.
Here's a link to relationship communication and conflict resolution done well.
1. Emotional Void:
Men, akin to everyone else, seek emotional fulfillment. If they sense a void in their current relationships, they might be tempted to forge emotional connections elsewhere, driven by the desire to address this gap.
2. Communication Challenges:
Relationships often grapple with communication hurdles. Men may turn to emotional affairs as a means to express thoughts and feelings that prove challenging to communicate within the confines of their primary relationship.
3. Yearning for Novelty:
Human psychology is attracted to novelty and excitement. Emotional affairs can provide a sense of newness and adventure, offering a departure from the routine of established relationships.
4. Desire for Understanding:
Men, like everyone else, long to be understood. If they feel misunderstood or undervalued in their primary relationship, they may seek solace in connections where they believe their emotions are better comprehended.
5. Expression of Vulnerability:
Societal expectations for men to be stoic and unyielding can result in emotional suppression. Emotional affairs might serve as a platform for men to express vulnerability and find acceptance without fear of judgment.
6. Unmet Emotional Needs:
When specific emotional needs are unmet within a relationship, men might subconsciously seek these missing elements elsewhere. Emotional affairs can manifest as a response to these unaddressed needs, providing a temporary solution.
7. Lack of Self-Awareness:
In certain instances, men may not even realize they are involved in emotional affairs. Blurred boundaries and emotional connections can evolve gradually, and individuals may not fully grasp the impact until it reaches a critical juncture.
8. Escape from Routine:
The familiarity of routine can lead to emotional stagnation. Men might engage in emotional affairs as a way to break free from the predictability of established relationships and inject a sense of excitement.
9. Validation and Recognition:
Emotional affairs may offer a space where men feel validated and recognized, especially if they perceive a lack of acknowledgment in their primary relationship.
10. Fear of Confrontation:
Men, like anyone else, may fear confrontation. Emotional affairs might emerge as an alternative to directly addressing issues within their primary relationship, providing an escape from difficult conversations.
11. Coping Mechanism:
During times of stress or challenges within a relationship, men might resort to emotional affairs as a coping mechanism, seeking solace outside the primary partnership.
12. Ambiguity of Boundaries:
The ambiguity of emotional boundaries can contribute to unintentional affairs. Men may engage in emotional connections without a clear understanding of where these connections might lead, blurring the lines between friendship and emotional entanglement.
Recognizing the intricate tapestry of human emotions provides a foundation for navigating relationships with heightened empathy and effective communication. The exploration of emotional affairs emphasizes the importance of fostering open dialogues and creating spaces to address emotional needs within committed relationships. To both women and men, cultivating deep, selfless love is essential for enduring connections.
A practical note for couples: maintaining hormonal balance (HRT in perimenopause and menopause) can contribute to a harmonious relationship. Prioritize understanding each other's communication styles—learn the languages of love and arguing. Seek guidance from relationship counselors who specialize in effective communication. Every relationship experiences seasons—spring, summer, autumn, and winter. Invest in communication during the blooming periods to navigate challenges when they arise. Remember, understanding and respecting each other's viewpoints can be more productive than heated arguments. Communication is an acquired skill, and seeking assistance during challenging times can strengthen the foundation of your relationship.
Dr Purity Carr
GP & Menopause Specialist Harvey WA