When You’re Attracted to Someone Else

Flirt 

Can you relate?

You’ve been feeling it coming on for weeks, maybe months now. Every time you see this person s/he makes you feel special, noticed. You know it’s not right to feel this way about someone other than your spouse, but it’s been a long time since your spouse looked at you that way. Who are you kidding? It’s been a long time since you felt that way about your spouse!

Attraction to others is unavoidable in marriage.

When we married our spouse, we didn’t lose our eyesight. We didn’t lose our passions. We didn’t lose our desire to be “desired.” We didn’t lose our pulse!

So how do we deal with the temptation to let what’s a normal attraction turn into so much more?

Maybe you’ve never let it go beyond the stage of simply noticing someone. Or maybe you’ve let it simmer and turn into a full-blown infatuation. Or maybe you’ve let it go full throttle to an affair. Wherever you find {or found} yourself on the continuum, it’s a slippery slope that must be managed with care and caution.

Here’s a rule of thumb: 
If you’re doing any of the following …

  • Trying to get their attention/focus any time s/he is near
  • Letting your thoughts linger about this person for any length of time
  • Letting your feelings grow in intensity for this person
  • Fantasizing about this person

Then you’re in dangerous territory!

I’m highlighting this problem because messy marriages, even if it’s only a short season of “messiness,” are vulnerable to this temptation.

So what should you do?

Take Captive
We’re exhorted to “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5). Even King David, “a man after God’s own heart” lost the battle for his mind when he let an innocent day looking out on the porch of his “high rise” turn into … not just lust, not just adultery, but ultimately into murder!

Count the Cost
Play out how this scenario would likely end. How would you feel having to explain this sinful act to your spouse? to your children? to your friends? or, most importantly, to God? What would you lose? Friends? Money? Your home? Your reputation? If you can’t imagine the consequences, ask a godly friend or mentor to help you.

Connect!

  • Connect to God through prayer and confession. Ask for His help to find your way back out of the slimy pit you’ve fallen into. 
  • Connect with your spouse in meaningful ways. Spend time talking each day. Go out on dates regularly. Make sex a priority. If any of these areas are lacking, you’ll feel the “pull” toward lust and discontentment in marriage.

So, how have you protected your mind and marriage from developing this?

If you’ve given into it in the past, what has it cost you? taught you?

“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.”            –1 John 2:15-17 (NIV)

Photo by Illusive Photography

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Joining with NOBH, Works for Me Wednesday, To Love Honor and Vacuum and T.G.I.F.
 
Now, it’s time for Wedded Wednesday!

WW rules:

Write in any way you feel inspired about marriage, parenthood or anything that reflects Christ’s redemption in your life.

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Optional but encouraged:

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Come join our Wednesday Link-up!

  • I used to be naïve about this subject, Beth, until I dug into some marriage studies at church and realized everyone is vulnerable. Thank you for this post, because recognizing the early warning signs – and understanding/believing they really are dangerous – makes all the difference. And as a side note, I try to make sure I comb my hair every once in a while before my hubby comes home so that I’m still the one he’s attracted to, ha ha. 🙂 (Okay, that’s not entirely a joke.) Love your honest talk and wisdom here, my friend!

    • ha that’s so funny Becky 🙂 but it’s true, the underlying message of staying attractive to our spouses. of course a spouse is responsible for their own choices ultimately, but we need to be sure we are not contributors in the ‘mess’! 🙂

    • Yes, that’s the point I was trying to drive home, Becky. It may be that you are not attracted to anyone right now, but the moment you go through a rough patch that may have nothing to do with you and your hubby, it still stresses the marriage relationship and sometimes this is how we deal with the stress. I’m in no way saying it’s a good way, but it is a way and I just wanted to sound the alarm!

      And I’m SO glad that you care about how you look for your hubby, Becky! That’s another important aspect of all of this–keeping the fires burning at home by being that “I love you so much” kind of gal for your man! 🙂

  • I used to be naïve about this subject, Beth, until I dug into some marriage studies at church and realized everyone is vulnerable. Thank you for this post, because recognizing the early warning signs – and understanding/believing they really are dangerous – makes all the difference. And as a side note, I try to make sure I comb my hair every once in a while before my hubby comes home so that I’m still the one he’s attracted to, ha ha. 🙂 (Okay, that’s not entirely a joke.) Love your honest talk and wisdom here, my friend!

  • The affirmation of another is a source of value to the false self. Marriage problems uncover shame, our lack of ability to try harder to get what we want in our marriage. Outside of Christ, we will find another source of value. Bold post Beth, but a great one. Longing for someone other than our spouse is a slippery slope that is usually feels too good to shut off.

    • Your comments always are so deep and full of insight that the average person would not see, Scott. I thank you for adding to the conversation and highlighting some of the reasons why we do what we do. Also, thanks for your kind words. I really didn’t think this was all that “bold” but I can see why everyone might feel that way. I suppose it’s a topic that could be uncomfortable for some.

  • The affirmation of another is a source of value to the false self. Marriage problems uncover shame, our lack of ability to try harder to get what we want in our marriage. Outside of Christ, we will find another source of value. Bold post Beth, but a great one. Longing for someone other than our spouse is a slippery slope that is usually feels too good to shut off.

  • Alecia

    I loved this post. Much needed conversation in the blogosphere and in our living rooms. I may be splitting hairs here but I’m not sure I completely agree with the statement “attraction to others is unavoidable in marriage.” I think recognizing someone as “attractive” is unavoidable, yes. I mean, my husband and I will share when we think someone is good looking. But that’s different than being attracted to someone. That does involve what you went into deeper detail on – fantasizing, spending too much time alone building a connection, thinking about them too much.

    What we do to ensure this doesn’t invade our marriage is tell ourselves the truth, which I guess is similar to your point, Count the Costs. Whats the truth about who this person is, what will happen to you, your marriage, your family, your reputation, if you take your attraction further…

    I would also add that one of his biggest mistakes that people make when they find themselves attracted to someone else is sharing with the other person that they felt an attraction towards them. NEVER DO THAT. If we find ourselves feeling attraction to someone, we need to tell a trusted counselor and probably our spouse. We don’t need to share with the other person. That just adds fuel to the fire. I think that’s a huge mistake that many people make, usually in an effort to clear the air or be honest and it usually ends up backfiring.

    • Thanks so much for your kind words, Alecia. I can see why you’d be concerned about the wording. But I used it purposefully because I want people to recognize just how easy it is to be “innocent” of noticing someone and fall down that slope toward an emotional or outright affair. I guess I feel that attraction happens but “obsession” is a choice.

      I also really like what you say about not telling the other person. I do think that takes it a step further and definitely could backfire. Thanks for coming by and adding to the discussion some really helpful thoughts, my friend!

  • Alecia

    I loved this post. Much needed conversation in the blogosphere and in our living rooms. I may be splitting hairs here but I’m not sure I completely agree with the statement “attraction to others is unavoidable in marriage.” I think recognizing someone as “attractive” is unavoidable, yes. I mean, my husband and I will share when we think someone is good looking. But that’s different than being attracted to someone. That does involve what you went into deeper detail on – fantasizing, spending too much time alone building a connection, thinking about them too much.

    What we do to ensure this doesn’t invade our marriage is tell ourselves the truth, which I guess is similar to your point, Count the Costs. Whats the truth about who this person is, what will happen to you, your marriage, your family, your reputation, if you take your attraction further…

    I would also add that one of his biggest mistakes that people make when they find themselves attracted to someone else is sharing with the other person that they felt an attraction towards them. NEVER DO THAT. If we find ourselves feeling attraction to someone, we need to tell a trusted counselor and probably our spouse. We don’t need to share with the other person. That just adds fuel to the fire. I think that’s a huge mistake that many people make, usually in an effort to clear the air or be honest and it usually ends up backfiring.

  • Beth – for sure, those rules of thumb are huge red flags that shout ‘beware, beware!’

    • Thanks, Linda. I’m sure you see these warning signs when you deal with a client. I find it fascinating how people can be doing these things and not see the danger. I guess we believe what we want to believe! 🙂 Thanks so much for your sweet encouragement, friend. It brightens my day!

  • Beth – for sure, those rules of thumb are huge red flags that shout ‘beware, beware!’

  • Nan

    Great post, Beth! We’ve been married 30 years now and we do have friendships with men and women, but not outside the boundaries of marriage. Meaning we don’t “hang around” with friends of the opposite sex without our spouse.

    We have certain boundaries that we agree to. For example no texting back and forth or no fb messaging back and forth. When I babysit for a friend’s daughter, her hubby will send me a text when he’s coming to pick his daughter up. But he and I don’t text back and forth or joke around and text. That’s what I’m talking about.

    We don’t go out and have a meal, etc. When our boys were little we raised them to never be alone with a girl. We drummed it into them, lol! So we had to model that behavior for them.

    My hubby’s single friend dropped by for a visit one day and I had him wait outside in his car until my hubby came home and he was happy to do it. That was modeling that behavior for my children, but it’s also protecting myself and this man from any gossip as well as just being prudent.

    And of course, you know as a pastor’s wife there has to be certain boundaries for our husbands there too.

    I love you including the II Cor. 10:5 verse, that is a favorite of mine! Thanks for hosting!

    • Thanks so much for adding to the discussion ways to protect the marriage. I think that’s great that you value your marriage that much and are teaching your kids to do the same. My husband and I have similar relationship rules. It really matters when you’re in the ministry as you and I and our husbands are, but it’s equally important for those who are not. I just hope this wakes them–all of us–up to the danger. It’s nothing to mess around with! Thanks for linking up too, my friend. Love having you hanging out around my place. 🙂

  • Nan

    Great post, Beth! We’ve been married 30 years now and we do have friendships with men and women, but not outside the boundaries of marriage. Meaning we don’t “hang around” with friends of the opposite sex without our spouse.

    We have certain boundaries that we agree to. For example no texting back and forth or no fb messaging back and forth. When I babysit for a friend’s daughter, her hubby will send me a text when he’s coming to pick his daughter up. But he and I don’t text back and forth or joke around and text. That’s what I’m talking about.

    We don’t go out and have a meal, etc. When our boys were little we raised them to never be alone with a girl. We drummed it into them, lol! So we had to model that behavior for them.

    My hubby’s single friend dropped by for a visit one day and I had him wait outside in his car until my hubby came home and he was happy to do it. That was modeling that behavior for my children, but it’s also protecting myself and this man from any gossip as well as just being prudent.

    And of course, you know as a pastor’s wife there has to be certain boundaries for our husbands there too.

    I love you including the II Cor. 10:5 verse, that is a favorite of mine! Thanks for hosting!

  • Kathryn Sneed

    This is a great post and one that I don’t see around the web often. Definitely one that needs to be talked about! Thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks, Kathryn. I suppose you’re right about it not being addressed all that much. But I hope it’s one people will pay attention to and not brush it aside, thinking “that will never happen to me!” Thanks for your kind words and glad to see you in the line up, my friend!

  • Gaye @ CalmHealthySexy

    Hi Beth – Great post on a difficult topic! As soon as I saw your headline I thought, “Uh oh, she’s really getting into the hard stuff today!” Thanks for this strong reminder that all of us need to be alert to avoid being attracted to someone other than our spouse.

    • I appreciate you saying, Gaye. I know you deal with this subject in various ways. And I’m so glad you came by to encourage me and link up with your amazing blog. It’s always a treat to see you here!

  • Gaye @ CalmHealthySexy

    Hi Beth – Great post on a difficult topic! As soon as I saw your headline I thought, “Uh oh, she’s really getting into the hard stuff today!” Thanks for this strong reminder that all of us need to be alert to avoid being attracted to someone other than our spouse.

  • ha that’s so funny Becky 🙂 but it’s true, the underlying message of staying attractive to our spouses. of course a spouse is responsible for their own choices ultimately, but we need to be sure we are not contributors in the ‘mess’! 🙂

  • Beth this is a great topic. It reminds me of some posts i did a while back on keeping boundaries in marriage.

    I love your thoughts on connection, especially the effort we should be putting towards building intimacy in marriage. While spouses are ultimately responsible for the choices they make, sometimes the other persons’ actions/inaction can contribute.

    My husband and I work on this by keeping couple friends, being open in our communications e.g cc each other email messages/keep each other in the loop of who we met/talked to during the day, we stay careful about what we put before our eyes (tv e.t.c), never counsel opposite sex (we do couple to couple instead or man to man, woman to woman).. and we talk talk talk 🙂 e.t.c

    I’ve found that protecting one’s marriage often seems/feels awkward, even backward to some people (i got some interesting comments after I did the posts). But it’s something all couples who treasure their relationships do.

    • Yes, I remember some of those posts, Ngina. I do think we need to be arming people with how to protect our marriages from this type of intrusion. Of course, we open the door and invite that “intruder” in, so I thought I’d pull back the veil on just how easy and subtle it is to end up “in bed with the intruder!” 🙂 Thanks for sharing some of the ways you protect your marriage, my friend. My husband and I do some of the very same things and feel it communicates to the world and to each other that we value our commitment. What better way to shine God’s loving light? Thanks for encouraging me and linking up!

  • Beth this is a great topic. It reminds me of some posts i did a while back on keeping boundaries in marriage.

    I love your thoughts on connection, especially the effort we should be putting towards building intimacy in marriage. While spouses are ultimately responsible for the choices they make, sometimes the other persons’ actions/inaction can contribute.

    My husband and I work on this by keeping couple friends, being open in our communications e.g cc each other email messages/keep each other in the loop of who we met/talked to during the day, we stay careful about what we put before our eyes (tv e.t.c), never counsel opposite sex (we do couple to couple instead or man to man, woman to woman).. and we talk talk talk 🙂 e.t.c

    I’ve found that protecting one’s marriage often seems/feels awkward, even backward to some people (i got some interesting comments after I did the posts). But it’s something all couples who treasure their relationships do.

  • Yes, that’s the point I was trying to drive home, Becky. It may be that you are not attracted to anyone right now, but the moment you go through a rough patch that may have nothing to do with you and your hubby, it still stresses the marriage relationship and sometimes this is how we deal with the stress. I’m in no way saying it’s a good way, but it is a way and I just wanted to sound the alarm!

    And I’m SO glad that you care about how you look for your hubby, Becky! That’s another important aspect of all of this–keeping the fires burning at home by being that “I love you so much” kind of gal for your man! 🙂

  • Your comments always are so deep and full of insight that the average person would not see, Scott. I thank you for adding to the conversation and highlighting some of the reasons why we do what we do. Also, thanks for your kind words. I really didn’t think this was all that “bold” but I can see why everyone might feel that way. I suppose it’s a topic that could be uncomfortable for some.

  • Thanks so much for your kind words, Alecia. I can see why you’d be concerned about the wording. But I used it purposefully because I want people to recognize just how easy it is to be “innocent” of noticing someone and fall down that slope toward an emotional or outright affair. I guess I feel that attraction happens but “obsession” is a choice.

    I also really like what you say about not telling the other person. I do think that takes it a step further and definitely could backfire. Thanks for coming by and adding to the discussion some really helpful thoughts, my friend!

  • Thanks, Linda. I’m sure you see these warning signs when you deal with a client. I find it fascinating how people can be doing these things and not see the danger. I guess we believe what we want to believe! 🙂 Thanks so much for your sweet encouragement, friend. It brightens my day!

  • Thanks so much for adding to the discussion ways to protect the marriage. I think that’s great that you value your marriage that much and are teaching your kids to do the same. My husband and I have similar relationship rules. It really matters when you’re in the ministry as you and I and our husbands are, but it’s equally important for those who are not. I just hope this wakes them–all of us–up to the danger. It’s nothing to mess around with! Thanks for linking up too, my friend. Love having you hanging out around my place. 🙂

  • Thanks, Kathryn. I suppose you’re right about it not being addressed all that much. But I hope it’s one people will pay attention to and not brush it aside, thinking “that will never happen to me!” Thanks for your kind words and glad to see you in the line up, my friend!

  • I appreciate you saying, Gaye. I know you deal with this subject in various ways. And I’m so glad you came by to encourage me and link up with your amazing blog. It’s always a treat to see you here!

  • Yes, I remember some of those posts, Ngina. I do think we need to be arming people with how to protect our marriages from this type of intrusion. Of course, we open the door and invite that “intruder” in, so I thought I’d pull back the veil on just how easy and subtle it is to end up “in bed with the intruder!” 🙂 Thanks for sharing some of the ways you protect your marriage, my friend. My husband and I do some of the very same things and feel it communicates to the world and to each other that we value our commitment. What better way to shine God’s loving light? Thanks for encouraging me and linking up!

  • rboerner

    Very sensitive subject and of course I agree with everything you have shared. This is an area that I found myself in quite a few years back (maybe in a different way but not really) I was attending a mixed small group Bible Study. There was a young single guy in the group and I was intrigued by his relationship with Christ. Since my husband was not interested in having a relationship with Christ at that time in his life, I found myself becoming more spiritually connected with this guy. I actually became jealous and started having some harsh feelings toward my husband because he wasn’t in the same place. Fortunately, I realized this early on and quickly decided that if my husband was not with me I needed to be in a women’s group(my marriage was WAY more important). I am grateful for the wisdom our church provides in this area and I was able to realize I needed to set a boundary to protect my marriage. My husband does attend groups with me now (AWESOME) and if he doesn’t then I work hard to choose a group for just women. If it doesn’t work for my schedule and I need to choose a mixed group I try and look for a group with someone I know who can hold me accountable. Setting up boundaries and guarding yourself is crucial in this area. Love that you shared this because people think it won’t happen and it does!

    • Wow, Becky! Thanks so much for your vulnerability in your comment. You bring up an important point, though. Very often we may want “good things” like a spiritual connection with our spouse and find ourselves attracted to that one “good thing” in someone else. Satan really uses our good desires to get us in trouble sometimes! ha! Thanks so much for sounding the alarm right along with me! Thanks for kindness and encouragement to me, girlfriend!

  • rboerner

    Very sensitive subject and of course I agree with everything you have shared. This is an area that I found myself in quite a few years back (maybe in a different way but not really) I was attending a mixed small group Bible Study. There was a young single guy in the group and I was intrigued by his relationship with Christ. Since my husband was not interested in having a relationship with Christ at that time in his life, I found myself becoming more spiritually connected with this guy. I actually became jealous and started having some harsh feelings toward my husband because he wasn’t in the same place. Fortunately, I realized this early on and quickly decided that if my husband was not with me I needed to be in a women’s group(my marriage was WAY more important). I am grateful for the wisdom our church provides in this area and I was able to realize I needed to set a boundary to protect my marriage. My husband does attend groups with me now (AWESOME) and if he doesn’t then I work hard to choose a group for just women. If it doesn’t work for my schedule and I need to choose a mixed group I try and look for a group with someone I know who can hold me accountable. Setting up boundaries and guarding yourself is crucial in this area. Love that you shared this because people think it won’t happen and it does!

  • Wow, Becky! Thanks so much for your vulnerability in your comment. You bring up an important point, though. Very often we may want “good things” like a spiritual connection with our spouse and find ourselves attracted to that one “good thing” in someone else. Satan really uses our good desires to get us in trouble sometimes! ha! Thanks so much for sounding the alarm right along with me! Thanks for kindness and encouragement to me, girlfriend!

  • Andrea

    Great Post! This is a slippery slope that can easily be “blown off” if we aren’t watching for it. It all begins very innocently. I recently had a former classmate message me on Facebook. It started out as, “how’s your life?” and I ended it (and told my husband) after he asked me to meet him alone.

    • Yes, Andrea, that’s why it’s so dangerous, because we think it won’t develop into anything. I’m so glad that you chose to, first of all, tell your husband about the FB message and, second of all, end it early on. Sounds like there was more than just a renewed “friendship” connection that was in his mind anyway! Thanks so much for coming by and encouraging me here in this space. It’s much appreciated!

  • Andrea

    Great Post! This is a slippery slope that can easily be “blown off” if we aren’t watching for it. It all begins very innocently. I recently had a former classmate message me on Facebook. It started out as, “how’s your life?” and I ended it (and told my husband) after he asked me to meet him alone.

  • Yes, Andrea, that’s why it’s so dangerous, because we think it won’t develop into anything. I’m so glad that you chose to, first of all, tell your husband about the FB message and, second of all, end it early on. Sounds like there was more than just a renewed “friendship” connection that was in his mind anyway! Thanks so much for coming by and encouraging me here in this space. It’s much appreciated!

  • Guest

    Thanks so much for covering this subject, Beth! It is so much easier than you would think to fall from someone else if we are not taking thoughts captive and carefully guarding our marriage.

    In my marriage, I have struggled with using another person’s attraction for me as sort of a “fall back” in case my husband decides to walk out. My intense fears of being left and unloved by my husband led me to seek attention from others so that if he were to step out on me, I would not be left broken, loving only him, when he loves someone else. I refuse the vulnerability of whole-hearted commitment and in doing so, lose the beautiful relationship that I desire. In my attempt to run from my fears, I find myself chasing them.

    But praise God for His grace in our weakness. For He has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind.

    It is so important to guard our hearts from inappropriate thoughts or feelings, while at the same time, leaving our hearts quite unguarded towards our husbands. Allowing vulnerability, as that is what allows relationship to grow. Trusting God that HE IS GOOD. And wants only the best for us and will work ALL THINGS for good.

    Thanks again for the encouragement and tips, Beth. Hoping to join the link up next week!

    Blessings!

    • Thanks so much for your kind words, my friend. I also appreciate your honesty here. I know that this is more common than many might think or “like” to think. And yes, it is SO very important to guard our hearts. In my daily reading I just read 2 Samuel today about David lusting after Bathsheba. (I read it after writing this article.) Anyway, it struck me that David was at the height of not only his power as a king but also at the height of his relationship with God. Being spiritual does not exempt us from this problem and temptation. In fact, we’re probably a bigger target for Satan. Thank so much for coming by, weighing in and encouraging me!

  • GailBP

    These are all such good tips, Beth. I remember my mother telling me that she was never attracted to another man after she was married, and I believe she was being honest, but she’s definitely the exception. I think these attractions are especially difficult when they are mutual. Thanks for addressing this relevant subject.