Logic has little influence on a wayward spouse who is deeply involved in a fantasy. Concerns of Risks and Consequences do not cross his or her mind. Two potent factors combine when idealizing a lover and living out a fantasy.
Common rationale behind affairs involves resentment, lack of respect, or being angry at the spouse for unmet expectations. By idealizing the lover, they are elevated above the value held for the spouse.
The Idealized Lover:
The lover is viewed as being more desirable than the spouse. Idealizing a lover heightens the emotional fantasy and sense of attachment. Common reasons to idealize a lover include:
Emotional Support: If a spouse no longer values their partner, listens or shows genuine concern, a new partner to provide emotional support will be sought.
Sexual Curiosity: Heightened sexual curiosity frequently changes to demand—performing certain sexual acts or indulging in fetishes becomes a “make or break” part of the relationship. This raises expectations and lowers satisfaction with the current spouse.
- Our society’s openness with bragging about sexual conquests and activities allows friends to compare their sex lives (and exaggerations) in remarkable detail. The media closely follows the intimate lives of celebrities and many of them flaunt their exploits. A critical eye is focused on one’s own relationship when comparisons are made with others.
- Pornography introduces a new standard of sexual behavior and attractiveness to the viewer.
Additional Factors: Although willingness to submit to sexual demands is typically high on the list, attractiveness, availability, and similar interests are common factors.
Immature people (those who objectify others) do not see the difference between desire and reality. When something is desired, any measure taken to obtain it is justified by the immature, unrealistic dreamer. Idealizing a lover leads to or intensifies the fantasy.
The FANTASY Factor:
This is probably the most powerful reason for sexually acting-out. It is a very common motivator and is fueled by an intense quest for pleasure and/or unfulfilled sexual curiosity. The Fantasy Factor deals with longing; a desire to taste the “forbidden fruit”—to reach the illusive person that will fulfill dreams and desires.
Living in a fantasy world is the denial of reality with a BIG price to pay! Reality hits and fantasy ends when the fantasy person is experienced as a FLAWED person. The affair usually ends at this point. If the errant spouse does not learn from the experience, he or she will simply move on to another idealized lover and the cycle begins again—until the cheating spouse matures and breaks the pattern of behavior.
For more help with this issue, contact CrossRoads to make an appointment at 317-842-8881 if you are in the Central Indiana area. Click here for the next article in the Affairs Series. Check our Counseling and Mental Health articles for additional factors of affairs.