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4 Women who dealt with the temptation to cheat and how they handled it

Sherry Amatenstein, LCSW, is a clinical therapist, and the author of three books, among them, Love Lessons from Bad Breakups and The Complete Marriage Counsler. She gives love advice on programs including Today and HuffPost Live, conduct...

How lust for someone else can strengthen your marriage instead of threaten it

Even Sigmund Freud alluded to this common — ahem — state of affairs as normal.

Here is how four women handled this ticklish, potentially dangerous dilemma.

1. Take the lust home

Brenda, 35, and married seven years, recalls, “I loved my husband Dan and we were settled into a stable if boring routine.” Clearly a bit too boring. Shortly after she returned to work after three years of being a stay-at-home mom, Brenda felt sexual stirrings for a co-worker. She recalls, “I found myself lusting after Karl. In boring meetings I would fantasize about what he looked like under the pin-striped suits, and all the things I wanted to do to him once I got him naked… Don’t get me wrong. Karl and I had nothing in common and anyway, I wouldn’t do anything to blow up my marriage.”

Her solution: “I got a babysitter for the kids and did all the things I wanted to do to Karl to my husband! A sexual romp for Dan and me was long overdue. We both needed to remember our life together had way more to offer than co-parenting duties and someone to warm our feet during the winter!”

2. Regard the crush as a wake-up call to work on marriage

For Lisa, having a crush was a wake-up call that her marriage was on the rocks. The 30-year-old admits, “Tom was my first real boyfriend and we’d grown so distant over the years it often felt like I was living with a stranger. In the 10 years we’d been together, he’d gone from being the first person I confided in when stuff was on my mind to dead last!”

The object of her infatuation was an older married neighbor she once regarded as a father figure. “I realized that my new feelings toward Bill were more due to the fact that, unlike my husband, he listened to me and seemed to care about my happiness.”

Lisa suggested to Tom the two attend counseling sessions. She says, “It really opened the dam. We started sharing feelings, things we’d been bottling up for years because we were afraid of hurting the other’s feelings…”

Today the connection between the couple is reignited. “Therapy was a lot of hard work, and often very painful, but I have my husband back. And yes, our sex life has gone from non-existent to hot-hot-hot!”

3. Put boundaries on time spent with your crush

Amy’s feelings for her co-worker, Tim, grew largely because the two spent so many hours together. “He was my work husband — we’d do lunch, dinners if we had pressing deadlines, took all our coffee breaks together… no wonder it started to feel dangerous.”

Married 14 years, the 40-year-old says, “Most dangerous — Tim and I had started teasing each other and using sexual innuendos. I found myself dressing as provocatively as one can on the job to see if he’d notice.”

Her husband noticed her inattention. “When Rick asked me if everything was alright between us, I seemed really distant, I took stock in a hurry. I reined stuff in with Tim. Things stayed friendly between us but I stopped the sexual tension stuff and also the long, private meals and personal sharing.” Thankfully it did the trick. Her emotional attention is back where she wants it — on her marriage.

4. Flirtation isn't the only way to handle personal restlessness

Marie found herself crushing on a man she ironically met through her husband of five years. The 33-year-old confides, “When John brought home Paul, a friend he’d met at his bowling league I found my perpetual state of boredom lifting for the first time in ages. Suddenly there was someone, something, fun to think about for the first time in ages. John noticed, and asked, only half joking, ‘Why do you keep asking me if Paul is coming over again? Should I be jealous?’”

She did some intense soul searching and realized for too long life had been stale. “It wasn’t my husband who bored me. I was boring myself. I’d stopped pushing myself — doing anything fun or interesting or challenging.”

Marie not only sought and won a work promotion, she took up some new adrenaline-creating hobbies — surfing and diving. Even better, her husband joined in these new pursuits. Marie shares her new-found wisdom: “It’s never good to become too complacent with life. That’s when we look for diversion in someone else. Thank goodness I didn’t wreck my marriage over my personal restlessness!”

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