Author who’s ditched all her male friends since getting married insists everyone should do the same – and says alone time with the opposite sex is a ‘recipe for disaster’
- Bolaji Eyo, from Hertfordshire, is author of What I Never Knew When I Said I Do
- Mum-of-three, 35, offers advice on maintaining peaceful and loving relationship
- She addresses steps to take if you ever become attracted to another man
- Also highlights common issues faced by young couples and mistakes to avoid
It’s a worrying thought that rears its ugly head in many people before they say their marriage vows – what if I ever become attracted to another man?
That’s just one of the many common concerns author Bolaji Eyo, 35, from Hertfordshire, addresses in her new book, What I Never Knew When I Said ‘I Do’.
The mother-of-three, who is a motivational speaker, entrepreneur and novelist, has penned a guide to maintaining a ‘peaceful and loving relationship’.
Her book highlights the common issues faced by young couples and observes some of the key mistakes to avoid.
One of the problem areas she covers is developing feelings for someone other than your spouse.
Admitting she doesn’t love her own husband ‘every day’, Bolaji points out that we do not live in an ‘ideal world’, so assuming you are immune to other men’s charms as soon as you get married is foolish.
Here she tells FEMAIL why she has no male friends since she got married – and her reasons for believing spending time alone with the opposite sex is a ‘recipe for disaster’…
Bolaji Eyo, 35, from Hertfordshire, is the author of What I Never Knew When I Said ‘I Do, a guide to maintaining a ‘peaceful and loving relationship’
In an ideal world, you meet the man of your dreams, settle down and get married. Your hormones switch off and you never find another man attractive for the rest of your life.
Unfortunately, we do not live in an ideal world and it is a mistake to assume that you are immune to attractions to anyone other than your spouse. You might say, ‘I love my husband so much, there’s no way I would cheat on him.’ And that is great. I applaud that. I used to think like that, too.
I would say, ‘I have a lot of self-control. I will never be unfaithful.’ And while I am not saying that I cheated on my husband, I have come to accept that I am human.
That is a good start – admitting that you are human and, therefore, are not infallible. The next step is to protect yourself and your marriage by removing yourself from any compromising situations.
Years ago, I was talking to my friend Bimpe about the fact I don’t have any male friends, which would have been unthinkable to me before I got married.
It felt like all my male friends had slunk away as soon as I had got married. Strangely, I didn’t miss any of those relationships. They weren’t beneficial to me and it was nice not to have to deal with any drama or jealousy within my marriage.
One of the problem areas Bolaji covers is developing feelings for someone other than your spouse. Pictured is the author with her husband, who did not wish to be identified
‘My husband is close friends with a female work colleague. They talk on the phone almost every day, and sometimes those conversations go on for hours,’ she blurted out.
‘How do you feel about it?’ I asked. ‘I hate it,’ she admitted. ‘But he said there’s no reason to be jealous; they’re just friends.’
I wish I had had some advice that would have helped her back then. Unfortunately, what I said was, ‘Yeah, that’s what a guy I once dated said, but as soon as we broke up, they started dating,’ which further deepened her suspicions and insecurity.
It is possible that the relationship is completely innocent, but if it makes your spouse uncomfortable, is it worth it?
For me, the answer was and still is no. If one phone call to a male friend means five hours of discomfort in my home, you can bet that I will go as far as blocking the number from my phone.
I thank God that my husband and I have the same stance. Spending a lot of time alone with the opposite sex in an enclosed environment is a recipe for disaster.
Admitting she doesn’t love her own husband ‘every day’, Bolaji points out that we do not live in an ‘ideal world’, so assuming you are immune to other men’s charms as soon as you get married is foolish
What if you’re not attracted to the person – surely it shouldn’t be a problem then? But what if by spending time together, you begin to open yourself up to this person? You start building common ground and physical attraction may well follow.
I’m not saying that it will always happen, just that it can happen. Speak to people who have cheated on their partners and most of them will admit that, ‘It just happened.’
That is all it takes to ruin a marriage and the trust you’ve built with your spouse: the ‘it’ that just happened.
Another common theme is ‘I don’t know what came over me.’ By this, someone means that they lost all control and their lustful desires took over.
Mother-of-three Bolaji has penned a guide to maintaining a ‘peaceful and loving relationship’, highlighting common issues faced by young couples and pointing out the key mistakes to avoid
In some cases remorse and guilt follow immediately. They’ve thrown away the lives they’ve built with their partners and the security of their children on a callous mistake.
You can protect yourself by being honest with yourself. Be aware when you feel an attraction to someone else bubbling under the surface.
Some people say you should discuss it with your spouse. I don’t know. Only you know your spouse enough to determine if this is an appropriate action.
I don’t think I would want to know that my husband has feelings for someone he works with, unless he plans to leave that job. I know myself and I am honest about it. That is not to say that I don’t trust him. I do. But I also know that he is only human.
And so every day when he goes in to work, I would experience pangs of anxiety, checking up on him constantly, wondering what he is doing. Is he talking to her, or spending more time with her?
Do they sit together at lunchtime? Are they talking about me? Is he telling me only half of the story? What time will he be home? Shouldn’t he be home by now? It only takes 20 minutes to get home and it’s already 5.23 pm. Insecurity does crazy things to your mind.
What would I do if I found myself in a situation where I was attracted to someone other than my husband? I would pray about it.
You might have to choose between your job and your marriage. If possible, get transferred to another team or building. Don’t be complacent or nonchalant about it. Don’t say, ‘I have to work with him. It’s my job; what can I do?’ At least try something.
Bolaji says spending a lot of time alone with the opposite sex in an enclosed environment is a recipe for disaster
Cut off all unnecessary contact. If the two of you usually have meetings together, make sure there’s a third person present at the meeting. Find a way to include another department or individual in your conversations.
It might be tempting to want to see the other person, but if you give in to temptation, bring up an image of your spouse in your mind and what it would do to them if you ever gave in to a little harmless flirtation.
Just as a tiny spark has the potential to erupt into a fire that consumes everything in its path, a little flirtation can escalate into a full-blown affair. Hearts are broken, families are torn apart. People who look up to your marriage have lost a role model.
Personally, I don’t feel like I love my husband every day. Sometimes I have to make a decision to love him; to love him according to the one true definition of love.
Make a conscious decision to love your spouse. And work together with your spouse to ensure you have an aligned definition of love.
Three most common mistakes young people make in relationships
Blaming: I don’t know how it got so bad but it always seemed that everything that went wrong on a daily basis was my husband’s fault. Because he ‘could have just prevented this from happening’.
One morning I had missed my train – again. I called my husband, who happened to be working from home that day. As ridiculous as it was, a part of me blamed him. I had asked him if he could drop me off but he was too tired, so I had called a cab.
The first step, then, is acknowledging that the idea that your spouse is to blame in a situation where they are powerless is ridiculous. So, when I catch myself blaming my husband, I ask myself what he could have done to prevent it from happening. Also, I ask myself what I could have done to prevent it.
After taking responsibility, the next step is to let it go – and for me, it’s not an easy thing to do. I proceed to punish myself for not doing what I know I could have done to prevent the bad thing from happening. However, this is unhealthy and I’m learning to take a deep breath, face the consequences and just move on.
Playing the victim: At some point in your relationship, you’ve found yourself playing the victim. It feels gratifying to release ourselves from any responsibility and to lump it on someone else, and who better to carry the cross than our husbands?
It’s similar to blaming, but this time, you’re the victim. You constantly have negative experiences and emotions in your marriage, and it is never your fault or your responsibility.
When you catch yourself using phrases such as ‘he didn’t let me’ or ‘he made me’, stop yourself, take a deep breath and run through the situation in your head but this time without the victim glasses.
Have you ever heard someone go on and on about how terrible someone else is? Then you ask how or what the person did and they are unable to give you a clear or direct answer.
What impression did you have of the person complaining? Did you think, ‘Oh, this lady is a saint; she’s been through so much.’ Or did you start running through your chore list in your head, only half-listening to the barrage of complaints, willing it to end, possibly liking or respecting that person a little less?
That’s the impression we give when we vilify others and make ourselves into victims.
Holding on to resentment: This not only hurts the one you resent, it hurts you as well.
In the first five years of marriage, resentment was a word that was bandied about in our home, and it mostly came from me. I was resentful over so many things but what it all boiled down to was that I hated myself for not standing up to the things I was unhappy with.
My husband would say something or make a decision that affected me but instead of tackling the issue, I would say, ‘Okay.’ The resentment festered until it became a living, breathing thing between my husband and me.
I was addicted to the resentment; I say this because it got to a point where I was putting out bait to feed my resentment and most of the time he played into my hands.
Sometimes I would be upset with him but would struggle to explain to myself what he had done to deserve my anger. It became the default setting in our relationship: the cold shoulder and the blank, vacant look. But it was self-induced because I wanted to avoid confrontation.
When you get into an argument or when you feel any resentment towards your spouse, you can try this exercise. Think about what upset you. Try to verbalise it. Write it down; read it to yourself. Then decide what action to take – either let it go, or tackle it head on.
Forgive those who’ve wronged you and it will become much easier to forgive yourself when you make mistakes too. You are human, you will make mistakes, but it will not, should not, must not, define you.
Avoid holding your spouse’s mistakes against them. It’s hard to do, which is why it is important for us to make an effort at it.
In the end, what is important to me is that we’re together and happy. Where we are or what we have is a lot less important.
What I Never Knew When I Said ‘I Do’ is published by Onwards & Upwards and is on sale now for £8.99.
Source: Read Full Article