Is It Normal to Desire Others Even When You’re Happily Married

There’s a reason the first few weeks after getting married are called “the honeymoon phase.” No matter how long you’ve been with someone, the act of marriage can reignite a spark and make you feel like you’re on cloud nine with your partner. 

But, the honeymoon phase doesn’t last forever. 

After a while, that “spark” can fade. 

Does that mean you don’t find your partner attractive? No. Does it mean you’re unhappy in your marriage? Absolutely not. In fact, most people readily accept that they won’t feel butterflies for their spouse for the rest of their lives, and are perfectly content with that. 

But, is it normal to desire others, even when you’re happily married? 

The answer is yes. If that surprises you, let’s dig a little deeper into why it’s more common—and more normal— than you might think. 

Breaking Away From What’s Socially Acceptable

Chances are, the reason you’re questioning whether it’s normal to desire others when you’re happily married is society. 

Societal norms have, over the years, connected monogamy and attraction. In reality, the two don’t have to link at all. 

Think about it at its most basic level: If you see an attractive person walking down the street, do they immediately make you want to leave your spouse? Probably not. So, why is it so easy to assume that desiring other people is wrong, or that it will lead to something like infidelity or the end of your marriage? 

Breaking Things Down

To step away from societal norms, it’s important to break down things like attraction and desire. 

As a human being, you can’t control what/who you’re attracted to. Emotions demand to be felt, and that’s one of them. It’s what you choose to do about that attraction that matters. If you think you’re alone, consider that one survey found 61% of women and 90% of men have sexual fantasies about people they meet. 

That doesn’t magically go away when you’re in a happy, healthy relationship.

If you’re attracted to someone, physically or emotionally, fantasizing or desiring them is normal, and it can even be healthy. It shows that you have a strong, passionate drive and even makes sense with your evolutionary needs. 

Finding Some Normalcy

Not every corner of society finds this way of thinking unacceptable. 

For example, the kink community tends to go against traditional norms and monogamy. That doesn’t mean you have to be sexually active with anyone else. But, it can open up a world to you that allows you to see your desires as normal and accepted. It can offer you a sense of community and might even help you and your partner further explore your desires with each other. 

It’s important to keep in mind that there’s a difference between desiring others and acting on your fantasies. One is completely normal and healthy, especially if you’re happy in your relationship and have no intention of leaving or hurting your spouse. The other is maladaptive and can damage your marriage. 

If you’re considering acting on your desires, it could be a sign of something more serious in your marriage. In those cases, marriage counseling may be the best choice if you want to save your relationship. 

But, if you’re truly happy in your relationship and don’t want things to change, don’t let societal norms cause you to feel guilty. One of the best things you can do is talk to your partner about how you’re feeling.

It might surprise you to find out they think/feel the same things. In the end, you can make your relationship stronger and feel closer by expressing your desires, no matter what they may be. 

Contact Integrative Psychotherapy Group