“It seemed like a good idea at the time. I was just having fun and the mood was filled with expectation. We were dancing, then touching. Surely a little kissing wasn’t wrong.”
What one person will accept in their partner’s behaviour can be very different than another. The important issue for a couple is that they have clearly agreed upon expectations of the limits they will accept.
Falling in love is a wonderful feeling. It is very different than being overcome with lust. The feelings that rage into a frenzy with sexual arousal are more about a physical response and desire for conquest than love.
Once the arousal has cooled it is easy to say; “That didn’t mean anything to me.”
The partner who feels annoyed, jealous or rejected by their partner’s behaviour doesn’t want to accept that the obvious display of attraction was meaningless. They feel embarrassed, cheated and eventually lied to. What they observed did not look like something harmless or meaningless. It appears more like a direct threat to their relationship.
Resolving the feelings that watching a partner flirting and making sexualized contact with another person is challenging. Intense conflicts often follow holiday parties. It is important to work through these emotions without destroying the trust of your spouse. Getting the issue resolved helps avoid building resentment that can ruin a relationship.
Rather than staying in the blame stage of a relationship, move on to the learning phase.
Before going to the next gathering the couple needs to agree on issues like:
- If dancing with someone other than their partner is acceptable?
- Is being naked in the hot tub tolerated?
- Will group sexual activity be an expectation of this party?
- Is pressure of coercion used that takes them beyond their comfort level?
- Are drugs and alcohol acceptable? If so, which ones and how much.
- Do they agree to leave together?
- What action will be taken if the other strays from the agreement while partying?
Celebrating important events with others is part of life. Having group fun helps build a long term lifestyle. Building relationships with people with similar values and expectations helps couples wake up after the partying is over able to talk about the fun and feel good about themselves and their relationship.