I was listening to a friend recently talk about temptation. You know that feeling of being tempted that takes hold of you and you just can’t put on the brakes and whatever it is that you are temporarily obsessed by seems like you just have to have it no matter what? Yeah, that’s temptation.
Being seduced by an idea, a substance, food, music, or person is probably the most human experience we can all have. We all wake up on some days and crave something. Maybe it’s coffee or tea or soda or a donut. We start with an idea. We get tempted with a thought. The thought becomes a craving and then it is a must have it.
Overcoming Temptation Can Be a Struggle
So, if this is a human function, why do so many people get trapped in what they are tempted by? I think that many of us understand that some things will be provocative to us and we will feel pulled in by them and want to experience them. This can apply to people we meet and situations we want to say yes to.
What about helping ourselves to another piece of pie? We know we shouldn’t and yet we are tempted and sometimes do. So now we get to the biggest temptation of all, being enticed by another individual. If you are in a relationship and this happens what do you do? Do you think, “It’s OK if I talk to them. I am not doing anything but talking to them.”
Overcoming Temptation is Harder When Your Needs Aren’t Fulfilled
Do you recognize the feelings you might be having as you have this conversation? Are those feelings more exciting than you would be having with other people you know, or your partner? Do you feel you should justify and rationalize this conversation with yourself so you feel OK having it? If this is you, don’t you think you could explore what is happening with yourself as well?
All of us will be excited to meet a new person sometime in our lives. How we entertain that excitement is how we preserve what we are connected to. Many of us feel attraction, but we don’t encourage it. If we are more interested in having a new experience with a brand-new person, that tells me there is a dead zone in your current relationship. This is where you don’t feel you are seen, understood, or valued. If the slightest words or moments from a stranger can perk you up, then you have been undernourished in your relationship for a long time.
Make a Conscious Decision to Resist Temptation, and You Will Overcome
Recognize that feeling tempted is human. Thinking about the temptation and deciding to do something about the temptation, well that’s human too. And if you feel you must keep your secret temptation private you are embarking on something greater than a temptation. You are committing in that moment to leaving your current relationship.
And what separates those that think of the temptation, but don’t act on it, and those that can’t help themselves and do act? Since the experience starts in the head, that’s where the difference lies too: in our minds. We decide, in our minds, whether to follow through with what is in front of us or whether to use our judgment and say “no.”
My suggestion: roll the tape of the encounter. First, imagine if your partner found out. Then ask yourself if they would feel hurt. And after you have played it out in your mind, you will know exactly what to do.
Overcome Temptation in Your Relationship
Read a Book About Relationships
Overcome temptation that might be testing your relationship, by reading Linda’s book, Safe. Happy. Loved. Simple Skills for Your Relationship. It might help you and your partner communicate better, helping you feel more understood, connected, and even loved. Those feelings just might reduce temptation to seek fulfillment elsewhere. Give it a read.
Get Couples Counseling
Come in for couples counseling. Couples counseling can help you and your loved one get the most out of your relationship. It'll equip you with coping strategies and tools for communication that can help you argue less and love more.