In times when infidelity ranks as one of foremost reasons for divorces, every marriage carries the risk of succumbing to an affair. In fact author Peggy Vaughan says in her book, The Monogamy Myth that as high as 60 percent of men and 40 percent of women will have an affair at some point in their marriages. If you are worried about you or your partner straying away, here are a few tips on how to affair-proof your marriage.
TIP: Read the guide to prevent a break up or get back with your ex.
At the very outset, recognize an affair for what it really is – a futile attempt to escape from the mundane realities of life. Understand once and for all, that an affair will not make you younger, sexier or smarter than you really are. And neither it will make your life more meaningful or help you to find nirvana. People who are going through depression or mid-life crises especially are prone to affairs since the rush that they experience on connecting with someone new fools them into believing that this is a person who will solve all their problems. Once a married person is able to recognize this reality, it will be much easier for him/her to say “no” to an affair.
Have regular “date nights”
It is only natural for the romantic excitement in the initial days of a marriage to wane before the pressures of balancing a family and career. However it is essential that partners continue to spend some time away from all other commitments on a regular basis. This may be as short as an after-dinner walk in the neighborhood park when the kids are very young or more elaborate as having dinner at a nice place, once every weekend. The time spent exclusively with each other is essential for partners to reconnect and keep alive the devotion in their hearts.
Nurture other friendships
No matter how close two people are in a marriage, it is extremely unlikely for them to share every interest in exactly the same way. So while you both may be fitness freaks, you may prefer hitting the gym whereas your partner may be more comfortable jogging in the outdoors. Again it is more common for women to browse through malls, window-shopping to their heart’s content while guys would rather watch football at home or in a pub. Since no single marriage can satisfy all your interests, it makes sense to have safe friends with whom you can do the things you like doing. So, encourage your husband to go fishing or golfing with other guys while you check out that new boutique in the company of your best girlfriend.
One of the best ways to affair-proof a marriage is to keep communicating with each other. Lack of effective communication may not only keep a troubling issue from being resolved but may also make partners more likely to seek meaningful interaction outside marriage. So talk about your day to your partner – about your feelings, likes and dislikes as well as your hopes for the future. After you finish don’t forget to invite your partner to do the same and when he/she does so, be quiet and actually listen.
Learn how to fight right
All couples have fights now and then – it is an inevitable part of a free and equal marital relationship. Only marriages where one partner completely controls the other will be devoid of any argument or disagreement. However in order to express your differences creatively, learn how to fight fair. Let your disagreements be about issues and not about perceptions and emotions. For example if you are reluctant to spend money on an expensive purchase, point out that the money could be saved for future use or invested to increase earnings. Don’t use the issue to blame your partner of being ‘reckless’ or ‘irresponsible’. Also, always refrain from personal insults, disrespectful remarks about your partner’s family and physical violence. Arguments can act as safety valves in a marriage, letting off steam on simmering issues which can otherwise destroy a relationship. But in order to prevent your fights from becoming excuses to seek comfort in another person, learn to fight according to certain rules and keep it fair.
Be around happy couples
Recent research suggests that divorce, like a flu, can also be catching. So if you are perpetually hanging around with guys or girls who think nothing of cheating on their partners, you are more likely to believe and perhaps do the same yourself. On the other hand, being around committed partners will make you more aware of the practical benefits as well as the emotional satisfaction of staying together and thus less likely to stray into an affair.
Don’t forget to have fun
One of the primary attractions of an extra-marital affair is that it lets a person forget, however momentarily, the responsibilities of being a spouse and a parent. In a affair, a person can go back to being carefree and unconcerned about the pending files at work or the dishes in the kitchen sink. If you can introduce moments of fun and a joyous freedom into your marriage, there would be no reason to look outside. So make it a point to spring silly surprises for your partner every now and then, go to the zoo or the amusement park or just share a joke at the end of the day and have a good laugh.
Have a creative outlet
Despite the representation in movies, affairs are not always about steamy passion or instantaneous falling in love. They are more often the result of boredom or plain ennui. So make sure that you have some creative focus in your life. You may like your work and being a parent but try to pursue something just for the sheer joy of it – not for a material reward or an individual’s approval. The satisfaction that you attain from such a pursuit will go a long way in making life meaningful and vastly reduce the necessity of seeking validation from anyone else, especially outside a marriage.
Partners may stray for a variety of reasons and there are no infallible equations to prevent a marriage from succumbing to infidelity. However if you can strengthen your relationship from within and find purpose in life on your own, there is no reason why you and your partner cannot affair-proof your marriage.