Majority of women view sexual relationship with valued commitment. They do not allow themselves to be persuaded by their partner who believes that sexual intimacy is part of having a relationship. On the other hand, old-fashioned and modern day women acknowledge the belief that sexual relationship is much persistent within marriage life. This could be true since emotions flow and desires could be much prevalent in the intimate moments of married couples. However, this assumption can be a predicament, finding that intimacy within marriage somehow unpredictably vanishes, and consequently unlit the once flaming emotions.
In western cultures and highly developed countries, it is publicly acknowledge and as a normal happening to observe teenagers already sexually aware, accepting that having sexual relationship is a customary expression of love. In fact, sexual orientation is part of the educational curriculum, embarking on the sexual awareness of teenagers at their early age. However, sexual awareness does not pinpoint much the linkage of keeping a happy marriage which is seemingly less emphasized in the sex education, discussing the development of sexual maturity.
Either in marriage or in a platonic relationship, one of the important elements that should be present is emotional connection. However, experts believe that the key to successful relationships within marriage lies on adding the aspect of emotions to physical intimacy or sex. Coping or surviving an affair is determined by the sexual intimacy as partly the emotional means. Marriages come to an end because one or both parties are not emotionally attached to each other. They do not see their spouse as a partner in life but as a different individual which tends to be obsolete over time.
This research paper will discuss and examine how relationship of couples is survived by several factors within their married life, relating how the effect of emotional connection to physical intimacy or sex is significant features. The review of several literatures and other information is the method used throughout the examinations and findings. Literature Review Overview In the United States, the common causes of divorce are found by experts to be purely emotional, rather than the usual infidelity of a partner.
Vis-avis infidelity is also causal to several emotional disturbances, like failure to achieve sexual satisfaction can be disappointing and may cause one party to look for another sexual partner. The troublesome underpinning of failed emotional connection to a partner then becomes a baggage of couples right through their married life. Emotional connection is very crucial in every relationship, specifically marriage. This is why it is important for the couple to get to know each others emotions before deciding to exchange vows as the next level of commitment.
Emotions could be the result of openness according to the individual liking or disliking that can be connected by simple understanding, agreement and appreciation (Paulsen, 2008). Sadly, emotional connection gradually disappears as the married life of couples matures. The intimacy that is required to make their marriage strong is displaced on the side, as couples seem to have separate lives within the home setting. When simple differences set in, their individual “baggage” comes in which initially ignite the unfulfilled emotions that cry out loud as a hostile ground of resentments.
The conflict begins beyond disagreements and feeling of neglect, resulting to resolve at the option of divorce. Emotional connection is important in the survival of marriage, enabling couples to iron out differences and work out a solution without parting ways. The convergence of emotional attachment allows couples to make compromise in order to set aside the beliefs that separation would resolve the disagreements (Johnson, 2008). Thus, several factors must be established as the converging point of emotional connections.
Importance of Emotional Intimacy in Marriage According to an article written by Shruti Paulsen (2008), creating emotional intimacy in marriage is vital to its survival and success. He likened married life to traveling on a ship with two pilots. At first, the two pilots know what direction to take as well as their destination. However, as the trip goes on, one of the pilots decides to shift the direction to the surprise of the other pilot. In a sense, this is what happens to marriage. In the first few years, the couple has a shared direction and goal.
In order to establish emotional connection, it is important for couples to communicate with each others directions. Human culture has the notion that it is bad to be dependent and is a sign of weakness. The truth of the matter is that being emotionally connected with another individual is not. In fact, it provides some sense of security and safety. The basic tenet of the attachment theory is that being apart from another individual can be a traumatic experience (Johnson, 2008). On the other hand, the absence of emotional connection puts into jeopardy an individual’s need for security.
Without someone to be emotionally connected with, there is a reason for an individual to panic and become worried. Being emotionally disconnected can play a crucial role in married life as well as in the life of partners. It develops into mistrust of a spouse of their partner (Johnson, 2008). Emotional connection paves the way for couples to develop a deeper understanding of themselves. Establishing intimacy requires sharing of feelings, thoughts, and beliefs. There are various factors that can affect the ability of couples to become emotionally connected to each other.
Rearing of children and hectic schedule at work can contribute to the loss of emotional connection and intimacy. Aside from their failure to communicate with each other, there are other factors that can also lead to emotional insecurity such as low self-esteem, childhood experiences, past rejections, and failed relationships. When emotional connection is lacking, marital problems can set in. One spouse views their problem differently than the others (Marriage Quest. Org, 2007). Treatment Issues Warning Signs of Marital Problems
When emotional connection is lacking, marital issues can develop some vital signs of marital problems, such as (1) feelings of isolation; (2) increase in arguments or negativity; (3) lack of affection; (4) increase in anger, hostility, and/or sarcasm; (5) avoidance of each other; stonewalling; (6) mistrust. Unfortunately, majority of couples do not possess communication, anger management, commitment, conflict resolution, and intimacy skills (Relationship Institute, 2004). According to Relationship Institute (2004), a study conducted by Dr. J.
Gottman from the University of Washington has found the following ‘Four Signs of Relationship Breakdown’: ? Criticism is more than a complain when a spouse finds fault in their partner and attacks the personality and character of the other. ? Contempt shows intention of a spouse to insult or psychologically abuse the other. ? Defensiveness shows unwillingness of a spouse to listen to what their partner wants to say out of fear of being attacked or hurt by the other person. ? Stonewalling is for the spouse to completely ignore or make distance from the other.
The Relationship Institute (2004) further cited that a similar study of Dr. Markman and Dr. Stanley from the University of Colorado has described the ‘Four Indicators of Relationship Breakdown’, as follows: ? Increased negativity during interactions of couple shows increased complaining and criticism of each other. ? Invalidation of couple does not show any interest in understanding each other’s point of view. ? Negative Interpretation occurs when one spouse does or says something neutral or positive, but their partner perceives it as hostile or negative. ? Avoidance and withdrawal shows the disagreements.
Lack of emotional connection can likewise lead to look for a substitute for the lost intimacy. The substitute can be sexual in nature, such as a sexual partner (infidelity), sex over the phone, pornography, nightlife related to sexual mingling, internet blogging, chronic masturbation, to name a few, or non-sexual in nature, like sports activities, gambling, shopping, pets, community activities, among others. Therapists view these conditions as a disease or addiction, in which sex therapy is suggested to determine the underlying problems (Marriage Quest. Org, 2007).
Another potential problem that may arise as a result of the absence of emotional connection is emotional affairs. Having an emotional relationship with another individual is as dangerous as having a physical affair. In marriage where emotional connection is conspicuously absent, one of the spouses finds emotional intimacy through circle of friends. The spouse finds ease, safety and comfort in confiding with another individual, wherein the emotional bond between the couple can become blunt which may jeopardize the marital relationship (Wasson, 2007). Most spouses deny speculations that they are emotionally attached to their friend.
In which case, the spouse do not have an idea on what their intimacy with their friend or another person can do to his or her marriage life. While the attachment may not be obvious on the outside, there is however an underlying “physical chemistry” which can heighten the emotional bond between the individuals involved. The person with whom the spouse has an emotional intimacy with can either be an old friend or a co-worker. It can also involve an individual whom the spouse met through online chatting (Wasson, 2007). Eventually, this individual could transform as the spouse’s primary source of emotional strength.
As this develops, the spouse would slowly feel that the friend or co-worker understands them better than their spouse. This would become a major marital problem because it would reach the point that the spouse would keep the conversation a secret to their partner. The spouse would then feel betrayed or deceived by their partner who would bring about a fracture or barrier in their marital relationship (Wasson, 2007). A certain John Gottman who has been undergoing research for more than 18 years, revealed that there are four potential contributors to unhappy marriage namely defensiveness, criticism, contempt, and stonewalling.
Divorce is a potential end result due to the couple’s lack of communication. It was found in a study involving 130 newlywed couples that (1) lack of emotional connection was lacking as reflected in the husband’s rejection of the influence of his wife, (2) the negative feelings of the wife during conversations, (3) the failure of the husband to weaken the low-level negative effect of his wife, and (4) the absence of physiological soothing in the male (Levine et al, 2005).
Studies have also revealed that the negativity of their wives has an adverse affect on the husband. This is evident when they withdraw from conversations raised by their wives’. As a result, the relationship satisfaction of the wife declines. The couple then undergoes a negative cycle wherein a high degree of negativity from the wife leads to higher degree of withdrawal from the husband (Levine et al, 2005). Infidelity Having an emotional affair is also known as emotional infidelity.
Although there is no physical component that might be involved, emotional infidelity is an act wherein a spouse invests love, time, and attention to another person other than their partner. Components of emotional intimacy are present such as sharing, understanding, companion, self-esteem, and close relationships. According to a 2003 study, 57% of women and 44% of husbands revealed that they were emotionally connected to another person without involving intercourse. The study also revealed that women are more prone to emotional infidelity than men (Piercy et al, 2005).
Infidelity refers to the “breach of a contract of sexual exclusivity between two individuals” that is dating, being married, or committed to each other. Recent definitions have expanded to having sexual relationships with another individual aside from the partner. It may also involve cybersex, pornography, physical intimacy, or emotional attachment with another person which jeopardizes the primary relationship. Infidelity may also involve issues which are connected to time, energy, and resources in order to maintain the other relationship (Piercy et al, 2005).
According to statistics compiled by the National Center for Health Statistics from the 1980s to the early part of the 1990s, approximately a third of marriages end up as a failure in the first 5 years and about fifty percent to two-thirds results to divorce. Several studies reveal that a marriage which started with love, care, affection, sense of humor, commitment, and optimism usually results to satisfaction. This was reflected in a longitudinal study involving 95 newlywed couples who perceived that the marital bond between partners would stay married or divorced within the first five years of married life (Levine et al, 2005).
Effects of Infidelity Emotional infidelity has a significant effect on the lives of couples and families. It transcends in the couple, family, as well as in the social network of the couple. Upon the discovery of the affair, the couple needs to make a decision whether to continue the relationship or part ways. To the offended spouse, they would become angry at their partner for betraying them. Eventually, they would lose their trust in their partner for their deception (Piercy et al, 2005).
Aside from anger, the offender spouse may also become suspicious of their partner, having mistrust of the same cheat. They may continuously inquire about the whereabouts of their spouse. In return, the involved spouse may need to report about their activities and may be judged by their partner. Psychologically, emotional infidelity may lead to guilt feelings and loss of self-esteem. The involved spouse may develop the need to protect their partner from being hurt as a result of their deception. Consequently, this may hurt the couples’ chances of working on their relationship.
They would develop fear of resolving some difficult issues as well as feeling unsafe communicating with one another (Piercy et al, 2005). Infidelity may also bring about physical effects. The combined factors of stress, agitation, and exhaustion can result to health issues for both partners. Likewise, the involved spouse may place the primary relationship at risk with the threat of sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV and herpes. Some STDs can be a lifelong suffering which could have a significant impact on the life of the couple and their families (Piercy et al, 2005).