When you get married or start a relationship the idea of staying faithful seems like an easy one for most people. But time and circumstances can take their toll and bring changes in a relationship. Even if your relationship is solid, temptation can appear when you least expect it and have an effect that takes even you by surprise.
There is no question that infidelity is severely and, at times, irreparably damaging to your relationship. Between the hurt, broken trust and human collateral (kids, family, friends), cheating is always a bad choice. So, what can you do to — as much as possible — “affair proof” your relationship? Check out the tips below for important ways to keep your vows and promises strong.
- Say I love you often — and mean it. The words “I love you” are powerful and should be taken seriously. Make a point to not only remind your partner that you love her or him, but to remind yourself why. Finding reasons to value and appreciate your partner is crucial to maintaining your connection and therefore overcoming temptation. Feeling your sincerity will help your partner avoid temptation as well. Take a moment a few times a month (more if you can) to think about the reasons you love your partner. Tell your partner what they are and let your partner know how much your relationship means to you.
- Spend time together. Seems simple, but we all know with work, kids and life in general that people can fall into that ships-passing-in-the-night routine. Proximity is important when creating desire and connection. Too much time spent with others and not balanced with needed time together can create disconnection and allow temptation to strengthen.
- Steer clear of bad influences. When friends are behaving badly it can start to open the door, even just psychologically, for it to be okay for you to do the same. If you have a friend who is cheating, distance yourself. If you feel the need to counsel your friend on making better choices then do so, but beware of your friend’s justifications and influence on you. People look for excuses that make their bad decisions seem okay and some people can be very persuasive. They may even draw you in with comparisons between your life and theirs. Steer clear. Remember that even people you respect and love can make poor and damaging choices.
- Have sex — with your partner. Sex isn’t the only way or reason people cheat, but it is one of the most common. Relationships can fall into a rut and there are a number of reasons your sex life may suffer, but a healthy sex life is as important a component in a healthy relationship as anything else. So make an effort to keep the passion alive. If your partner isn’t interested find out why. Maybe there is something you need to address within your relationship or something going on with your partner that he or she needs to talk about.
Cheating can be a relationship killer. An affair makes staying in a marriage or relationship very difficult. At best it takes years to overcome and some of the damage can never be undone.
If you find yourself thinking about straying, consider changing your surroundings. You can’t always control your internal reaction to others, but you can control your outward behavior and your exposure to temptation. If you can’t seem to get past the urges to cheat you should consider speaking with a professional counselor. There may be issues that you need assistance to work through. Also, learning strategies to stay faithful can be invaluable.