According to Gottman’s research, couples either systematically build commitment and loyalty, or they systematically build the basis for eventual betrayal.
Think about this in terms of sex. Are you going for your own pleasure Are you excited by your partner’s erotic pleasure? This is much more likely if you are committed couple.
If you are on the other path, you may be thinking, “I could do better. There is some real or imagined relationship out there in which I could do better, be happier. I invest less in the relationship and sacrifice less. I work to get the best deal for myself in negotiating any conflict.”
When that happens, “I avoid self-disclosure and start avoiding conflict…start keeping secrets. They don’t deserve it and I do not benefit from telling them. I start thinking what is in it for me? Then quite frankly, why should I do anything? They don’t do anything for me.”
It is a slow process and you can see how it happens. I begin to vilify and trash partner in my mind, then to a confidant. People talk about the friend at work or at a church that is giving them support as they go through a painful divorce. It is okay to get that support and that is why I recommend doing that with a trained professional, do not trash your relationship to someone of the opposite sex who is equally vulnerable. Bad things happen.