Dr. Michelle Golland: When a spouse is cheating, there are many emotions involved between the married couple, but we often forget there is a real person with feelings and potential emotional "issues" that has now entered the marriage: the mistress.
The choice to have an affair can have deadly consequences, as we now see with NFL star Steve McNair. I am sure he never thought that stepping outside of his marriage would lead to his murder, but when dealing with love, sex, and jealousy, one never knows how far down it can take someone.
In the media lately, we have seen numerous powerful men dealing with the very public negative consequences of cheating on a spouse -- from Jon Gosselin, to South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, and now, Steve McNair. All of these men made a decision to deceive their partner, which led to the destruction of a relationship, the possible loss of a political career, and now the loss of one's life.
The situation with Steve McNair can be used as a very serious reminder to men and women who are considering cheating on their spouse that bringing a third party into your marriage is a dangerous endeavor indeed. Marriages (and sometimes livelihoods) can be destroyed, children can be conceived outside the marriage, diseases can be transmitted, and lives can be lost. Mrs. McNair is now left holding the bag of anger, confusion, and sadness while also needing to explain to her children the circumstances of their father's death.
We are justifiably angry at the woman who shot and killed Steve McNair, but many of us sit here and wonder: had he been a more honorable man, husband, and father, would he never have found himself in this position, leaving his children and wife to deal with the tragic and ugly aftermath of his death?
I wonder if today there are some men or women reconsidering that potentially dangerous liaison with the "other woman or man" because they may just not trust them completely. They should be questioning themselves if they are willing to risk their lives and the welfare of their families for sex or an unmet emotional need.
I believe affairs are a symptom of a marriage in crisis, but if you are considering cheating because you are unhappy, you owe it to your partner and yourself to reach out and try to fix what isn't working before you cross that line. So before you step out and have an affair, seek help from a professional -- either for your self, to understand why you feel the need to do so, or persuade your partner that it is time to get couples therapy.
|Dr. Golland is a USC graduate and a licensed Clinical Psychologist (PSY#16974). She works with adults, teens and is an expert in the field of marriage and relationships. Dr. Golland has given her expert advice on CNN, HLN, MSNBC, ABC, and Fox news. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and wonderfully exhausting two children.|