Love My Spouse, But I’m Attracted to Someone Else

Written by Dr. Dave Currie


Also in this series: The Effects of Porn on Marriage.

Dave: Well Donalyn, this is a gutsy question needing to be answered. I remember within four months of our wedding, doing the head turn for a very beautiful woman. You noticed and made some comment and at that time I felt hugely embarrassed that I had allowed myself to take note of her. Inside I was thinking, “ Well, this is crazy! I have this amazing, gorgeous wife. What would ever possess me to stare at another woman?” I felt both humiliated and confused.

Donalyn: It might help our readers to realize that men and women are built differently. Men are visually stimulated and women are more emotionally driven, so the temptations for a man to be attracted to a person of the opposite sex, based simply on looks, are far greater than for a woman. On the other hand, women are more enticed by touch, by closeness and by emotional understanding, and may get sidetracked by this high connection need. But whether male or female, there are steps a person can take to address this issue.

Dave: You need to understand that being attracted to the opposite sex is not a new problem or one that is unique to you, and, yes, you will face it again. So you need to develop a game plan on how to deal with tempting or enticing people outside your marriage who start to catch your interest. For starters, it would be helpful to do a little bit of self analysis and ask yourself, “Why am I being attracted to this person?”

Sometimes, a little chemistry begins to develop between a man and a woman at work. You leave your spouse at home in the morning with major bedhead after having had a difficult evening the night before. Then you come to work to interact with this other person who is all dressed up and in the best part of their day. They are not battling kids or anything else, and they are just there looking so fresh and so friendly. That’s a dangerous zone to be in.

Donalyn: That’s right Dave. And what you need to remember is that you are only seeing the best side of the other person; you are not seeing their grumpy side. You are not seeing them in their worst moods. People forget that the person that is being a bit of a draw to them does have a dark side.

I remember a situation from when I was working in the tax office in Calgary. We were about three years married. There was a guy that took his coffee breaks at the same time as me. We often ended up being together with groups of people, and he was pretty persistent in his interest in me. I turned him down in his request to go out for dinner, saying, “I’m married,” and he said that he didn’t even care that I was married. So sometimes the attraction and the temptation is not very subtle and the interest can be extremely confusing.

Dave: It is not only important to look at why you may be tempted, but it is also valuable to understand that you are most vulnerable when things aren’t good at home. If the relationship is suffering at home, your primary focus needs to be on getting things right between you and your spouse, so you won’t have any context for temptation beyond the relationship.

Donalyn: That is excellent. We need to concentrate on our own spouse and look for ways to reconnect if there has been distance. Sit down and work things out, make apologies to one another and look for ways to start saying I love you on a daily basis. When we affirm and compliment our spouse for things we love about them, and treat them with kindness everyday, the relationship will improve over time. Work to make your relationship strong.

Dave: Another key step if you are being drawn into a relationship beyond your partner: break the silence. This means not only telling your spouse, but also telling one other person who will hold you accountable. As a matter of fact, accountability is a powerful thing in the life of any person. I have been accountable to another man weekly for over 20 years now. This is a real gift to Donalyn. We talk openly about our temptations and struggles, and we hold each other accountable to clean up our act and honour God with our mind and with our eyes. I think that every person needs an accountability partner of the same gender who can help you face the issues in their life, whatever they are.

Donalyn: Temptation begins in the mind, so we need to set a guard inside our mind. Noticing beautiful people in your world is inevitable, but you can’t allow yourself to dwell there. The battles must ultimately be won in your mind, by refusing to linger on tempting thoughts.

Dave: For that reason it is important to put boundaries in your relationships with people outside of your marriage. For as long as I can remember, Donalyn, you and I have agreed not to have a close friendship with someone of the opposite sex unless they are a close friend to both of us. We limit our contact with these people, and we never go out for lunch or for coffee alone with a person of the opposite sex.

Donalyn: And be careful about verbal bantering and teasing. Women listen for words. Be sure that your kindness isn’t being misunderstood, and don’t let any sexual innuendos creep into your jokes, or allow teasing to become an enticement.

Dave: Of course, you also need to draw the line in physical contact. While Donalyn and I are both compassionate and expressive people, we very rarely give frontal hugs to people of the opposite sex. Instead we just come beside them and give them a hug that way. You may think you’re just encouraging someone with a little hug, but that can be misinterpreted very easily.

Donalyn: When you are really being tempted, the best thing you can do is simply flee. Put distance between you and the person that is being a distraction to you and to your marriage. That is what Joseph did in Genesis 39 when he ran from Potipher’s wife: he put distance between himself and the temptation.

Dave: When it really comes down to it, God needs to anchor us in our relationships. We honour both God and our mate when we make Jesus the Lord of our eyes and our heart. Ask Him to set a watch over your eyes and your mind, so that you do not fall into temptation yourself, or become a temptation to someone else. Ask Him what steps you need to take to protect your marriage right now.

May closeness, passion, and faithfulness continue to grow between you and your spouse!

© 2003 FamilyLife Canada . Used by permission.


163 Responses to “Love My Spouse, But I’m Attracted to Someone Else”

  • Suman says:

    HI, in my case also i decided to quit my feeling of attraction with other women next door to my office so not to loose my attention to my wife and a kid boy.

    My office was shifted to a new location in a complex, so next door of my office there is another office and a GIRL on it. I did not even notice her clearly for 6 months in my new office, neither i talked to her nothing. Then one day she came to to my office just to ask for some stationary, then that was the turning point, i became attracted to her and started to approach her with same ‘the boy-kinda funny ideas’ started to google ‘how to cheat wife’ and decided to get her online-social connection to take things further.
    but i feel to stop this now, and sacrifice my temptation, passion, attraction, lust.

    I quit. i am not approaching her, i will not get online connection with her, i will not check her activities, when she comes or goes. I will stop right here.

  • Doris Beck Doris Beck says:

    Lust in the Head,
    I’m glad to hear that you realize that what you were feeling for your old friend was only a fantasy since as a single man he has no idea of what you as a stay at home mother of 4 have gone through(and obviously since he is still single he doesn’t want to be tied down or have a family) What you have done is the right thing….limit contact with him.

    There is a great verse in the Bible that talks about ‘taking every thought captive’ and that’s exactly what you need to do…..when those thoughts of regret or sadness come regarding your marriage, think about all that you have to be thankful for, a husband who loves you, children that love you……right now it might seem like you won’t ever have a professional life but your children will grow up in a hurry and before you know it you can be out in the working world again. Trust me! I’ve seen a lot of my friends do it….

  • Lust in the Head says:

    My husband too is wonderful. Kind, loyal, hardworking, loving, and committed to me and our children. However, we rushed into getting married at a young age and he made me a stay at home mom to our kids when I always thought I wanted to be a career woman. I worked in a professional office before for 4 years and I do have a bachelor’s degree, but that was then, 7 years ago, and now I’m just a stay at home mom. I can’t even take on a hobby, work, go for volunteering, or further my education, because of his crazy work schedule which is so random. And I refuse to get a baby sitter. So I feel stuck at where I am and bored where I am too, while my husband gets to have a career, and even go on vacation with his guy friends while I am always the one with the kids at home. I try to explain to my husband my feelings, but I don’t think he gets it. I feel he thinks I am so loyal and will always be his woman at home. Recently, an old friend of mine from my childhood days moved into town. I seen him, and seen how handsome and mature he has grown into. He is also very successful and ended up getting a degree as a Nuclear Engineer. He is working hard making his own money, traveling the world, and he is still single. I fell instantly attracted to him. His eyes. His smile, and his better physique than my husband. I wanted to kiss him. And I couldn’t stop thinking about him. He no way feels any of this for me, since I am after all a mother and married. But my friend has a place in my heart and I fantasize being with him. I know it’s just lust, but its still wrong and I should lust after my own husband and not another man. What I have done to counter this is to limit contact with my friend and instead fantasize more about my husband and also think about my children’s lives. Still there is this sadness in my heart regretting ever getting married.

  • Michael Jantzen Michael Jantzen says:

    Hello Salman,

    Thank you for sharing your story. Have you tried communicating with your wife about why you two are not having sex? It seems that to fulfill your sexual desire, you are now walking on a slippery slope. If you continue lusting over your maid and pursue her sexually, you may destroy your marriage. I don’t believe fulfilling your sexual desire with your maid is the answer. Can you recall a season in life when you and your wife were doing well and having plenty of sex? What has happened to your relationship since then?

  • Salman says:

    Im a 40 year old and married . I love my wife but not have any sex for longtime. Now i attracted to my house maid. i looking at her for very long time when she is working and cleaning the house. when my wife is out of house i masterbate looking at her cleaning the house. Before my maid didnot say and avoided to see towards me when i was doing masterbation. over few times she looks at me and smiles. does she also want physical relation with me?

  • Marjorie Jenkins says:

    I am attracted physically also. Yes, emotionally, very much so. But just physical also. So that part of this article is wrong.

  • Priya says:

    Iam married for 5months. In these 5 months I often went to my mothers place. Once I went after marriage, then i went for about 2 times. After the last time I went and came back I saw that my husbands behavior was changed a lot towards me . He was not much interested in me. And i feel as if he don’t love me anymore.what will I do?

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi Laura, I agree that not all men and women are the same in the way they feel attraction and what stimulates that attraction. How would you say your visual attraction to men is similar/different to a man’s? How has that impacted your life and your relationships?

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi cee, does your husband understand why the lack of intimacy is so hard for you? How have the two of you tried to work things out together?

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi Sumitra, how does your illegal husband feel about fathering a child that he cannot be a father to? How do you think your legal husband will react when he finds out that this child is not his? Have you talked with anybody in your family about this?

  • cee says:

    I agree with Laura. I find myself being not only emotionally attracted to other men but physically as well. I am also offended that often men are labeled as the high sex drive partner and its conveyed as if women just have sex for the heck of it and get no joy from it. Our issue is that my husband has sexual disorders and it makes him less interested than me. And b/c he is disinterested there is a lack in our relationship. And so far there is no amount of prayer, exercise, books, conversation that has taken the place of sex and intimacy in our marriage. The lack of sex has had an over arching effect on our entire relationship and we’re more platonic than romantic. It has been extremely hard for me the past few years b/c his disorder has been at its worst and I’m weary of feeling guilty b/c I want sex and he doesn’t. So for me the attraction is more than emotional it is definitely physical!

  • Laura says:

    I just googled “why am I attracted to other people”. Then I read

    “Men are visually stimulated and women are more emotionally driven, so the temptations for a man to be attracted to a person of the opposite sex, based simply on looks, are far greater than for a woman.”

    This is what’s going on with me and I’m a woman. Your article isn’t helpful at all. What help could it be?

  • sumitra says:

    i am 21 years now. last 3 years i am married to a old man of 60 . because of my family poverty. my parents made my marriage to that old man who is 10 years elder of my husband had 2 wives both are died. i am 3rd wife of my husband. my husband many times sex with me but he is not satisfied to me. when he puts his penis to my vagina its dis charge immidiately , after marriage 2 years he did not give me child.heis a businessman . many times he is out of home. in his absence i met a man of 40 in shoping. he attrect towords me. i also talk to him. finaly we are friends. then we moves for marketing ,cinema and hotels in absence of my husband. then i felt in love and sex with that guy. finally i got pregante andborn a daughter . my husband think this his child. i enjoy both of legal and illegal husband.

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