There was a man who was young and foolish, he would make himself emotionally available to many girls, listening to them as they poured their hearts out to him. They would pour out their frustrations and joys to him. He was the designated counselor for many young ladies.
Well, he justified it because he was a church youth leader but soon, he realized that he couldn’t handle the issues that came from his seemingly innocent acts. These young ladies developed emotional bonds with him because they felt that no one could possibly offer such close and personal care and concern if they did not have more than just a brotherly love for them. He had unwittingly led them on and their hearts were now hooked. When he tried to retreat after he felt he had offered them enough counseling, their hearts would break with disappointment. While he was warned by many people, he insisted that he could cushion his heart and cushion theirs too. He was wrong.
The story of the young man above is, unfortunately, being replicated by many men today. Both single and married men are ignoring the tested principle of exclusivity. I see a lot of men put the fire on their laps yet hold on to false hopes that they will not be burnt. I see close friends walking the same path that has led individuals and couples to have communion with pain. And the sad part of it is this, there might be a way that seems right to a man but leads to destruction. And while you are on it, it might never occur to you that you are inching closer to self-destruction. You are poking a bear with a stick.
One of the most lethal enemies of any relationship is infidelity. Relationships are built on mutual trust that is solidified over time and winning someone’s heart over requires a consistent investment of one’s time, energies and so much more. Being in a committed relationship changes your life. Ordinarily, people tend to be self-centered and independent but when a spouse comes, one’s whole life can literally be rearranged. That’s just what relationships do. They require that you leave your comfort zone and make what may be extensive changes to accommodate other people’s quirks and peculiarities. Sacrifices are inevitable and that’s why a break of trust is such a painful experience. No couple would want to go through it, but the sad reality is that most people find themselves walking down the path of infidelity.
I have witnessed many couples who were the envy of many crumbles after infidelity crept into their relationships. I’ve seen hearts break and marriages implode simply because somebody cheated. I’ve seen young ladies crushed completely by the acts of their men who went and had sex with their best friends. I’ve seen ladies who have gone the separation route because they could not take infidelity from their spouses. Or those who always say that he comes home but I don’t know him. He is withdrawn.
While cheating manifests in many ways, the most subtle and underrated one is emotional cheating. People generally agree that emotional cheating is wrong, but many people do not even know how it manifests.
Some couples in relationships carry on close friendships with people of the opposite sex. They confide in them, cry on their shoulders, trust them with their personal issues, allow them to visit their homes even when their spouse is not around and generally do things that only people who are dating should do. The result always the development of an unhealthy friendship. Unhealthy in the sense that such friendships will negate the sense of exclusivity which builds trust in a relationship by offering an emotional substitute for one’s spouse. Relationships have a higher chance of crumbling when the people in them, either consciously or unconsciously, provide for substitutes for their spouses in relation to certain things. The principle of exclusivity must hold fast for physical and deep emotional matters otherwise the fabric of marriage and all committed relationships will indeed always come apart at the seams.
Many people who are emotionally attached to wrong people do not usually admit it because they don’t even know it. There is no way you can be married, engaged, dating and still continue spending as much time with friends of the opposite sex as you did before you got in a relationship. If they hug you, hang around you, spend much time talking, texting and “whatsapping” you and you engage them just as much, you can rest assured that that friendship will invariably compete with your marriage.
Let me break this news to you, if you are not emotionally exclusive with your spouse, you are already cheating. There is no way you can divide your heart and give several people attention and still have enough for your spouse. You will burn down and the person who will feel the weight of it is your spouse. We have so many people who have spread themselves thin. They have turned to be marriage counselors of other people’s houses yet theirs are in shambles or on the verge of collapse and they don’t even notice it.
The world has issues and stress levels are high, many people will come to you wanting to open their hearts. As a human being, you shouldn’t turn then down but I’m always for the rule that a man shouldn’t counsel a woman. If she comes to you, respectfully direct her to another woman whom you trust or a mutual friend. If you open your ears to a woman and give them attention, it shows them that you care and when you care for a woman, they will invariably trust you and often allow themselves to become vulnerable with you. An emotional connection is often the outcome and if you are already in a relationship, such a connection is not healthy.
It is not fair to your spouse if you spend your time counseling other women and listening to their problems. You do not have a reservoir of emotions somewhere else. If you spread yourself too thin, you will soon have nothing to give your wife. I have intentionally targeted men on this article because they are leaders and they should know better.
And you young single ladies, stay away from married men. Don’t open your hearts to them. Look for your fellow girls who are mature and able to listen to your problems but when you cling on to a married man who you know all too well has a home to run, you are becoming a home wrecker and karma is real. Don’t cling to married men. Don’t cling onto them regardless of how attentive and compassionate they are. Be your brother’s keeper.
I have also fallen into that trap too. I am not speaking about a theory I read in a book. I have disappointed many people, got hurt and in the process ruined relationships. But I also learned a lot. Now you will find me hanging out with men. I only confide in men. I don’t allow ladies to come and pour their hearts to me. I have erected a wall that will protect me from the heartache I went through and also caused others a few years ago. I want to be exclusive in my mind. Believe me people, close emotional attachments outside your relationship will drain your love for your spouse and may eventually escalate into something bigger, if you don’t arrest it now
A big shout out to @Shem85 for his contributions on this article.
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