Many people look at infidelity as if it was a natural disaster; no one could see it coming; it just inexplicably happened. Perhaps this is because we have abandoned our belief in personal responsibility. The truth is that not only can men see it coming; they can prevent it from happening as well.
According to Peggy Vaughan, the author of “The Monogamy Myth,” 60 percent of men and 40 percent of women will have an affair at some point in their marriage. In other words, the person who stays monogamous within his/her marriage is among a growing minority.
It is possible to affair-proof your marriage. Will it be a lot of work? Yes. But that’s what you signed up for when you decided to marry your sweetheart.
What is Infidelity?
Infidelity also known as cheating can simply be defined as marital disloyalty or adultery. It can also be said to be unfaithfulness, perfidy, betrayal, lack of religious faith especially Christian faith. It is also a breach of trust or a disloyal act; transgression.
Having sex with another person other than your spouse is obviously cheating. But it’s also possible to be unfaithful without having to go that far. Infidelity has shades of gray that should likewise be avoided. It is possible to be emotionally unfaithful without crossing any physical boundaries. A perfect example of this is online infidelity. More and more married men/women are having online romantic and sometimes sexual relationships with people other than their spouse. While there’s no physical contact, I would definitely say this is cheating. Married people who “date” online are violating a trust that their spouse has put in them to be faithful – both body and mind. It can either be with actual intercourse or without.
Types of Infidelity/Cheating
• Sexual infidelity: This is the voluntary sexual relations between an individual who is married and someone who is not the individual’s spouse. Adultery is viewed by the law in many jurisdictions as an offense injurious to public morals and a mistreatment of the marriage relationship. Sexual infidelity is often only about the sex and is therefore nothing emotional.
• Emotional/Online infidelity: This is when there’s no smooching, but lots of sentiment. You’re spending lots of hours on instant messaging (IM) with someone who’s not your husband, spilling your secrets to a woman who’s not your wife, turning to someone else instead of your partner in times of need. Clearly not good for your primary relationship
• Traditional infidelity: this is where you have two parallel partnerships that are both sexual and emotional.
Now let’s get down to business of how to immunize your marriage against infidelity.
Ways To Affair-Proof Your Marriage:
• Make your Marriage your number 1 Priority
Successful marriages don’t just happen. You have to be willing to put in the effort. This is especially true as couples get busier with careers, kids, or community/religious activities. Those things are important, but if you want a strong marriage, your wife or husband must come first.
• Keep Dating Your Spouse
I’ve written about this before, but it deserves repeating. Establish a weekly or at least monthly “Date night” with your spouse and treat this time as sacred. Your dates don’t have to be fancy, but you do need to work to keep them fresh. A recent study showed that injecting freshness into your dates can bring back the butterflies you experienced when you were first courting. So visit a new restaurant, try a new hobby, or go watch a movie together.
• Stop Watching Pornography Tapes
Bringing porn into your marriage is not healthy. It’s like bringing another woman/man into your marriage, except he/she’s polished and doctored. Porn will only create an unrealistic expectation in your mind about your spouse’s libido, body, and comfort level with unusual sex positions. Pretty soon you’ll find that your spouse isn’t satisfying you and your eyes will start to wander. Do away with the porn!
• Focus On Being Romantic
Any woman will tell you it doesn’t take much to be romantic. A romantic letter or email only takes a few minutes to write. Also on the part of the woman, little gifts like a shaving kit aren’t too much to get your spouse once in a while. These small gestures show your spouse that you’ve thought of them and help you reinforce your commitment.
• Initiate Affection
Studies show that couples who are affectionate with each other stay together. Make an effort to initiate unplanned affection with your spouse. Give him/her a hug or surprise kiss and tell them how much you love them. Hold hands with them when you’re out together. Also, don’t make your spouse cuddle-rape you. Invite cuddling with them without making it a sign to sex. These small gestures will help strengthen the physical connection that every relationship needs.
• Have SEX Regularly
Many men stray because they’ve gotten bored with their sex life with their wife. It’s pretty easy to get into a decline in your sex life when you’re married. Things just get busy and by the end of the day, couples are just too tired for it. Make sex with your spouse a priority. It doesn’t have to involve serious acts and sexy underwear. Just do it. Frequent sexual encounters with your spouse will strengthen your emotional and physical attraction to them.
• Spend Time Just Talking
Find some time each day to have meaningful conversations with your spouse. If you have children, do it after you put them in bed. Talk about what you did during the day. Discuss what you’ve been thinking about lately. Share your dreams with them. The idea is to deepen the bond between both of you. It’s harder to cheat on your spouse when you’ve made such an emotional investment. Deposit into this investment by frequently engaging in meaningful conversations.
• Share A Common Interest
A big reason men stray from their wives is that they begin to find less and less in common with them. When you first started dating, you probably had everything in common. Well, at least you thought you did. So you would spend lots of time together doing things you both enjoyed. Then you got married and started working and your wife either started working too or stayed home to take care of the kids. Pretty soon there begins to be much fewer areas in which your lives connect.
Avoid this by maintaining a common interest or hobby with your spouse. Just find something that both of you can enjoy and participate in it together.
• Have A Sense Of Honor And Duty
Remember that when you got married you made a sacred promise or vow that you would be faithful to your spouse. There was a time when a gentleman was judged on whether or not he was a man of his word. Sadly, people today don’t take those sorts of things seriously. Many people feel justified in breaking their promises when something stops being easy and pleasurable. Forget about the trend. Be a man/woman of your word. The honorable thing is to fulfill the duty to your spouse that you freely took upon yourself the day you got married. I know some will say, “You shouldn’t stay in a terrible marriage just to avoid breaking your vows.” Perhaps not, but you do have the duty to do everything you can to save that marriage before calling it quits. And I mean everything.
• Establish Boundaries
Many men feel they are manly enough to handle any situation with a woman. For them, setting firm boundaries preaches weakness or unnecessary enthusiasm. But that is what every man thinks, right before they take it too far. It is far better to be safe than sorry. If people think you are archaic, so be it. If they think you are outdated going home to the love of your life each night with a head held high, fine!
In your quest to avoid temptation, it should be understood that there’s nothing wrong with having friendships with other men/women. In fact, it’s inevitable. You probably work closely with other men/women at work or school. The key is to know where to draw the line and then to stay as far away from it as possible. This will require you to do some serious self-examination and figure out what your boundaries are.
Here are some things you can do to help you in that process:-
- Establish Boundaries With Your Spouse: Sit down with your spouse and find out what he/she’s comfortable with in regards to your relationships with other men/women. It will be different with each couple. For example, you might make it a rule that neither of you will drive nor ride alone in a car (unless absolutely necessary) with a member of the opposite sex or dance with a member of the opposite sex alone.
- Evaluate your Vulnerabilities. Sit down with your spouse and evaluate your vulnerabilities. Many people don’t realize that they may have personality traits that open themselves up for infidelity. These traits don’t have to be bad either. For example, you might naturally be an empathetic listener. There’s nothing wrong with that, but some people may take this attention the wrong way.
How do you know if you’ve crossed the Line between Friendship and Something More?
There are three signs that indicate that you may have crossed the line into infidelity:
1) Emotional Intimacy
Do you find yourself sharing more of your feelings and thoughts with your female/male friend than with your wife/husband?
2) Sexual Tension
You instinctively know when it is present. It’s always a particularly huge red flag. Don’t rationalize it away.
Do you close your email window when your spouse walks by? Or you delete your chats before dropping your phone? Do you leave out details of your day because they include encounters with your friend? The minute you fudge anything about your relationship with your female/male friend, you’ve stepped over the line.
If you see any of these signs, it’s time to re-evaluate your friendship with that other woman/man. You may need to broaden your boundaries in order to avoid any temptation in the future.
Meet in groups, if possible. If you know you can’t handle situations of being alone with another woman/man without it crossing the line, avoid being alone with them.
Avoid frequent conversations about your personal life. Many an affair begins when people start talking about their problems with another person besides their spouse. They feel like the other person understands them better than their spouse. They feel a closer connection with them, so they start spending more time with them. If not checked, it may eventually lead to infidelity. Not always, but why risk it?
Stay away from online dating sites. A recent study shows that a large percentage of men who surf online dating sites are married. Virtual affairs are still affairs!
It’s Harder to Cheat on Your Spouse than Stay Faithful
Think about the consequences. It’s actually much harder to cheat on your spouse than it is to be faithful to them. When you’re unfaithful, you have to start sneaking around, hiding phone calls, and lying. That’s a lot of serious work. While being in a committed relationship takes a lot of work too, it pales in comparison to the problems you’ll have to go through to have those few moments of excitement with another person.
Another way infidelity makes your life harder is having to deal with the consequences when you’re finally caught. Imagine having to face your children and tell them you haven’t been completely faithful to their mother/father. Imagine the look of hurt and sadness you’ll see in the eyes of that spouse you told you would love forever. If that doesn’t make your stomach sink a bit, then your conscience is waning out.
Making your marriage affair-proof requires a large investment of time and emotional capital. But the investment is well worth it. Set high standards for your marriage and for yourself. Man up and you’ll never stray.
Best of luck in your marriage!
Culled from: One good spouse deserves another by Bukola Oyetunji