It is only through constant micro-corrections that we can stay engaged, in love, and connected in your primary intimate relationship. We don't ever get a day off from being compassionate and thoughtful. And when you are well-attached to your lover it becomes easier to make choices that move towards their heart rather than away from their heart.
I'll stay out of her business and assessing her state of mind. But there's a good bit of the story that is left out when I take this repose about my divorce. It was a good thing given the toxic circumstances of my crumbling marriage. So in that respect, yes, she did us all a favor. But let's dig a bit deeper to see where things went foul.
It's not about cheating in the biblical sense, it's about cheating them out of the full, authentic, and attentive you.
I did learn to love full-on in this marriage. I learned to put my whole soul into the project and come back with the joy of being a parent, and being in love, and being married. This total commitment is part of what blindsided me in the divorce.
Long-term monogamy takes work. It takes a willingness in both partners to work on keeping things open, honest, and a bit spicy. When one partner begins to check-out or begins denying the flow between you, there is very little a solo-enthusiast can do to reconnect the lust. Perhaps it is like a faucet. At some point, she was turned off by me.
It seems the biggest marker for success is the general outlook of the other person: Happy camper vs. unhappy camper. In my second marriage I thought we had a match, but the stress and change brought on by having kids sort of flipped her mode.
It's not uncommon for the dad to be the big "player" in the house. I continued to wrestle and chase and hug-hold-squeeze my kids with abandon and intensity. Perhaps at some point, I was using that affection to replace what I felt was lost between me and their mom. Still, we sailed along as a family, doing the best we could.