When I’m Attracted to Someone Else, I Remember This

I hadn’t been at my job long when a coworker told me about a man who was really interested in me. Who knows if it was true or if it was just rumor. Either way it didn’t matter. I was married and so was he.

It sounded like he had some problems in his marriage. But even if my marriage had been rocky too, I don’t think cheating can lead to true love.

I know anyone can feel attraction to someone who is not their spouse. I’ve written before about the time my husband and I talked about our attraction to other people. We can’t always control our feelings, but we can choose what to do with those feelings.

I’ve never cheated on my husband and pray I never do, but I can understand the allure of it. The fact is, marriage takes hard work, and infatuation doesn’t last forever. I’ll admit it’s flattering when men find me attractive. But when it comes to an affair, I know it makes a promise that it can’t deliver on.

My husband sees me on my good days and also on my bad days. We have a life together, which means we talk about many mundane and less-than-exciting things like what should go on the grocery list, and how to save up for the chimney repairs that need to be made, and what to do about that child who’s misbehaving, and so on. I come to our relationship with life, all of it, including its stresses and its messiness. And my husband does too.

In an affair, “the other woman” or the “other man” wouldn’t come with any of those things. They would only ever come with a few sneaking, blood-pounding-with-excitement moments, and that’s it. No discussions about the children, no hassles about the in-laws, no stressed talks about making ends meet, or negotiations over who does the dishes.

The fact is, if life ever really began with the new partner, you would likely run into the same problems you have with your spouse. It makes me wonder: Would that guy who was interested in me still want me once my novelty wore off?

My idea of an epic romance is likely what everyone wants—experiencing unconditional love. I want someone who will love me no matter what, even if I do something stupid, even when I make mistakes, and even if life gets really hard. I want someone who will be there with me through it all and love me no matter what. And I want to be the kind of person who loves that way. That’s a kind of love I can only have with my husband, not in a fling.

Even though an affair might seem exciting at first, it’s not going to lead to happiness in the long run. I know marriage can be hard, but it’s way more romantic to do what it takes to make things work with your spouse than to find someone else.

Epic romance doesn’t come from seeking out a thrill from a person who doesn’t come with any sort of commitments or responsibilities. It comes from valuing and honoring the person you’ve chosen and from the privilege it is to be such a big part of his or her life.

My husband is fulfilling my dreams for lifelong love, and I hope I can continue to do the same for him. The grass may sometimes look greener on the other side. But if we can put the effort into tending our own yard, it can become just as green or even greener.

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