by J.M. Duell – N.P.S. Senior Director

A happy home is a healthy home, and a happy union of two people isn’t ever distracted … yet it sometimes happens. Most of the modern world has some form of social media, and of course a collection of people they network with. Though social media can really be a blessing if used properly, it can also wreck a happy union by just a little pinch (and that is all it really takes.) I want to focus on who and what we let right into our living rooms and how safe we assume it may be. I have talked with a lot of people who passively express a comfort of safety and contentment, but in their voice I could easily tell they weren’t so sure themselves. Sure, it’s a web existence within a browser such as IE, Mozilla, Chrome, and so forth and we can easily just close it out, but how many of you just don’t or won’t out of curiosity? How many of you finally connect with people from your past, and you think; “well my husband (or my wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, significant other) isn’t home so maybe I will see where this goes?” Guess what! Though you may think you are just texting it is actually cheating. It is mentally cheating if you begin to let it grow because what you are doing is opening this door of possibility without being upfront and stating something like; “hey, I am flattered that you like me but I am happy with (insert name here).” What you have done is allowed the thought to enter your mind, and whether you believe it or not? It can manifest itself into something more, and do you really think it would be worth it in the long run? When you discover that there may be someone who is actually disrespecting you by doing such a thing, my advice is to immediately block them. By replying at all, you are actually giving them hope that something will come out of it. If they can’t respect you enough to leave things be when they discover you are in a relationship, then they aren’t worth a moment of your time. I don’t care how lonely you may feel that day, don’t feed into it, you will only open doors you may not have wanted open.

Let’s take a look at what I commonly call ‘the benchwarmer.‘ A benchwarmer (in my opinion) is the worst type of person to have in your life. They are somebody who will literally sit around and wait for the opportunity to either breakup your happy home for their own gratification, or try extremely hard to persuade you into something you may not have wanted at first. Some of these people are very smart at knowing what to say to persuade you, and typically target people who are passive, easy going types who are desperate for attention and are probably lonely for whatever reason. They like to assume this sort of target as weak, and will prey upon them at all cost to achieve what they are after, and that is most likely sex. Honestly, who wants to ruin their home-life for … what …. a lousy 5 minutes of bump and grind? After they have used the person up, and wrecked the current home relationship, they move on. Benchwarmers are commonly insecure individuals who feed off of the challenge and aren’t ever really satisfied, but they sure sneak in through any opening they see, including social media. Be smart! Nobody should ever support a couple’s separation unless the situation is bad or violent. If you discover that you have a benchwarmer in your circle, be cautious and never give them the power to destroy your happiness for their selfish need.

There are those people whom also become sharks in the water. They know you are with someone and yet they persistently come after you. This should be a huge warning sign that says to you STOP! Think about what is happening! A person who knows you are involved should never attempt to push themselves in no matter what they may want or think. If they are cold enough to do this, then imagine when someone better (in their eyes) comes along; how hungry that shark will become for that person. Not only did you hurt the person you once had a union with by giving in to that shark, but you you will get eaten alive by its hunger for the hunt!

We really have to be careful when we first build a home. We have to be certain it is what we want, and we have to remember the other person has a heart and feelings and wants to be involved. They chose to make a home with you for a reason. In such a union, there should always be open communication and 100% trust for another. Without these two key factors, you have nothing. When you become involved; make sure that you are not only certain, but that you trust your partner and know that they are as well. Uncertainty can build walls, mistrust, and a whole box full of trouble and its a matter of time before the ship sinks. Never just settle half way simply because you don’t see any other options, what you are really doing is killing off the part of yourself that could grow from a healthy relationship full of love and trust as well as you are hurting the person you are just settling with. They may have a great amount of feelings for you and imagine how they would feel when they discover you weren’t really happy to begin with.

I focused at first about social media, but it can also occur in the workplace. Any man or woman who cheats on their spouse with a co-worker obviously has their priorities in the wrong place and if they’re cheating on a spouse, they will do it to you, too. If you were the one who has been cheated on, may it be a serious lesson to you that perhaps it wasn’t meant to be, and that can happen. Use it as a way to grow stronger, and move on when you are ready to something where you are never made to feel second best. I personally was taught in my youth that a love union should be absolutely true to the word love. If you are that unhappy that you have to cheat with a co-worker, do you wonder if the person you are with is doing much the same? Or do they really love you? Do you think about their feelings at all? When you are at work, and you feel some attraction to a co-worker who is otherwise taken, do you consider their love partner in the midst of your hunt? Here are things you ought to consider before you attempt to cause such pain:

If you are aware that somebody is involved, then you need to step back. Certainly we can’t help our feelings but try to put yourself in the shoes of the partner who is involved with the person you set your eyes on. Nobody wants their heart ripped out of their chest, and certainly nobody wants to live in lies and distrust, it just isn’t good for the soul. Do you want that sort of thing to happen to you? Always consider the broader picture before you make your move. Another thing we should look at is pushing yourself on to somebody who doesn’t seem as interested in return. You probably don’t understand how annoying and uncomfortable it is for the person you are trying to push yourself onto. Real love just happens, it isn’t forced or sought out at a bar, at work, on social media or any other avenue. People are in love and happy, and the last thing they ever want to deal with is someone desperately pining for their attention.

Sometimes we have close friends, and here’s another angle I want to cover: never let anyone outside of you and your spouse control your destination in love. A real friend will know better than to try and take sides in a lover’s quarrel. Many of us fight with our emotions when our heart is involved and sometimes we reach out to friends simply to vent. Typically people will say things they don’t mean when in emotional disputes, however, there’s always those friends who thrive on drama and will pick apart your partner and we all know someone who will take the friend’s bad advice and run with it. Never be that friend who tries to split two people up. You may assume you are helping the situation but you’re really making it worse. When a disagreement occurs, try to avoid such things as an angry social media post, or a tear driven phone call to someone who really doesn’t have the right to be involved in your personal life. A healthy relationship has nobody in the middle of it. Our relationships are personal, and should always remain behind closed doors. A great friend will always listen, but never interfere in someone’s personal relationship because nobody knows your heart like you do. Why would you ever allow such control to another? If it’s so painful you must tell someone, try either keeping a diary or seek a friend you know won’t try to coerce you into something you may later regret. Remember, you are the captain of your ship, you shouldn’t be willing to blindly leave anyone other than yourself at the helm.

Jealousy can be another disabling element between two people. Jealousy cannot only disrupt your life, but it can ruin everything you probably worked hard for. Nobody wants to constantly walk on egg shells for fear that their jealous lover may pick them apart at any moment. Let me talk to you for a moment about myself: I made several friends in social media who are male authors. I chose to network with them solely for the experience of working with independent authors with a lot of talent. I have never once made either author feel uncomfortable, and I made it a point to make sure to add their spouses to show that my networking effort with their husbands was strictly professional. I didn’t want to lose the connection over something as shallow as jealousy and I felt it was important that it was understood that my only interest was to network with other independent authors. Be like me. Be that rational caring person to friends and family and be sure to never give anyone any reason to be jealous. Also, try not to be so jealous yourself, if they are so interested in anyone else, then why stick around at all? I mentioned before that trust is a huge key in a healthy relationship, and it is. Jealousy is a sign of a lack of trust and can only lead to bigger problems later.

Finally, one of the keys to true happiness is in love. Love shouldn’t be something that hurts, or leaves you up late at night wondering where your partner is, rather, it supports you and is always there for you. Love isn’t easily handed away to some person in a messaging system or bar patron, nor is it between the sheets. Love feels like a deep warmth that never disappears from the heart. It consists of all the little things that only one special person could give you. It never puts you second best to anyone or anything, and it supports you no matter what you choose to do without criticism or judgment. It’s there for you when you are weak, and shines with you when you are strong. It never strays and it never thinks twice. Real love is something to be cherished and should never be taken for granted. Don’t hurt the other person if you aren’t in love, try being real and open about it, just maybe you make better friends, and that is also okay. We’re not always going to get it right the first time but if we want to be happy, we must first start by being real. Nothing fake ever lasts … it expires and leaves a residue on you and anyone involved.

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