How can a couple guard against an affair?

Published on December 7, 2013

It is faulty thinking to believe that if you are attracted to someone else there must be something wrong at home. It is possible to be attracted to somebody else, even if you have a good marriage. The single most important protector against an affair is appropriate boundaries. In a culture where men and women are working so closely you must make sure you are not creating opportunities for an affair to occur, especially at a time when you might be vulnerable - like right after a fight with your spouse. One of the most common doorways into an affair is where a man and woman who are 'just friends' innocently begin to discuss problems in their primary relationship. They are doing their marriage work with someone who might not be a friend to the marriage."

Statistics suggest that 25 percent of women and 40 percent of men will have an extramarital affair at some point in their marriage. In looking at many cases of infidelity, family researchers suggest that the primary issue is one of intimacy and secrecy. For example, if you walk every morning with a woman who is not your wife and your wife doesn't know about it, you are violating your obligation of intimacy by having a secret from her. It is when the relationship must be kept secret from spouses that an important boundary has been breached.

Research into infidelity also finds that only 10 percent of people who leave a marriage to pursue a relationship with their affair partner actually end up with them. Most people involved with an extramarital affair say they wish the affair had never happened and they had invested more time and energy in saving their marriage.

How can a couple guard against an affair?

  • Establish clear boundaries. Set some standards that will keep any extramarital relationship innocent. For example, if you find yourself hoping to meet the other person in secret, you know the emotions have gone too far. If you are not willing to tell the other spouses about activities involving the partners to the relationship, a limit has been crossed.
  • Stay connected to your partner by communicating. Instead of creating walls of secrecy, talk with your spouse. Talk about everything going on in your life, including your relationships with other women. Don't keep anything secret. This level of personal intimacy will help you keep and set limits with others.
  • Keep the romance alive at home. This may seem obvious, but continue to do little things for your wife that lets her know you love her and think about her. Call her during the day just to chat for a few minutes. Make time for a weekly date night. Every couple of months or so, arrange for a sitter and spend a weekend away together. Keeping the home fires burning will help you not feel like you need to find romance and adventure with someone else.
  • If you feel attracted to someone else, never let them know it. Sharing feelings of attraction only opens the door for others to share their feelings. It is when attraction is known to be mutual that problems have a tendency of starting. And you have to be very careful about this in relationships with co-workers lest you find yourself in a sexual harassment situation.
  • Stay away from environments where infidelity tends to flourish. Clandestine lunches, stopping at the bar after work, and other such places are fraught with danger. So are business socials where drinking and dancing happen and spouses aren't present.

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Category(s):Couple Counseling, Divorce / Divorce Adjustment, Ending a relationship issues, Family Problems, Infidelity, Marital Counseling, Pre-Marital Counseling, Relationships & Marriage

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