December 10, 2013
by Casey Truffo, LMFT
You probably know at least one person who is being unfaithful to their spouse. It would be no surprise if you know more than one. Maybe your best friend or someone in your circle of friends is being untrue or is contemplating such behavior. Sometimes finding out someone is having an affair can actually take you on your own emotional roller coaster. When this happens, do you find yourself suddenly wondering, "Could this happen to me?", "Am I being too lax in my marriage?", or "I wonder if my spouse is really going to play cards with the guys every Tuesday night?" One of the more common things that happen before an affair is one or both of you gets tired of the situation and withdraws. When this happens, an affair is almost inevitable. People need to be wanted and appreciated, and when these things are not provided at home, they find someone else to fulfill their needs.
Here are several ways to protect your marriage from the temptation of infidelity and from becoming a statistic. Some of these things you have definitely heard before; some of them are not. Consider what you can do to maintain happiness in your marriage in order to avoid suffering as the result of a spouse who decides to stray.
- Maintain appropriate walls, but keep the windows open at home. Be sure to put up walls to those who could become a threat to your marriage, but keep the windows of communication open at home.
- Beware of relationships at work that go beyond anything but professional. Don't take breaks or go out to lunch with the same person all the time. If your job requires you to travel, never meet coworkers in a room with a bed. Always meet in a public space or a meeting room at a hotel.
- Avoid emotional intimacy with anyone other than your spouse. You may listen to the problems of a friend or coworker of the opposite sex; however, you should never be inclined to rescue them when they are wounded.
- Discuss your issues with your spouse, at home, rather than with the girls at lunch. Nobody but you and your spouse walk in your shoes.
- Keep past love interests as far away from your relationship as possible. If you have exes that attend your class reunion, never attend without your spouse. If you are invited to have lunch with your ex, decline. If you find that your ex is suddenly calling you at work, end it.
- Don't consistently hang out with friends who are single. Of course it's okay to have unattached friends; however, be sure that you have friends who are married as well.
- Don't cross the line with Internet friends. If exchanges become sexual, either outright or inferred, tell your spouse what happened, show them the emails, and end the friendship.
- Every day, show your spouse appreciation. Either prove this fact by words, or by doing thoughtful things, such as showing up when you say you will, noticing when your spouse has had a bad day, or being helpful with household chores or the kids' homework. Marriages built on honor tend to remain intact because there is no reason to search for validation elsewhere.
- Have an agreement with your spouse that there will be no secrets. One of the best ways to do this is to be sure that you do not say or do anything that you would not say or do if your spouse was standing right beside you.
- If you bump into an ex on the street or at the gas station, tell your spouse. If you choose not to mention it, you are lying by omission and if found out it can seem as though you were hiding something. Although it may hurt your spouse to know that you ran into your ex, or they may begin worrying, at least you did the right thing by getting it out into the open.
- Be sure to have sex. If you have to schedule it or add it to your day planner, do it. Many couples think this is ridiculous, but treat it just as you would an appointment or event that you would not want to miss.
- Go on dates. If you can afford it, go on a weekly date. It doesn't have to be to an expensive venue, just get out there, together, no kids. Don't talk about the kids. Focus on your marriage and your connection to each other. If you can't do this once a week, do it at least once a month, no questions asked.
- Have a strong sense of self. Never stop working on improving your own well-being. Surround yourself with people who love you and who make you happy. When you feel good about yourself, your spouse will notice and will see you in a different light.
It's important to get help when you first start noticing problems in your marriage. Often people notice a problem, but think it will pass, that it's just a phase,, or they have no idea how to deal with it. Some people ignore the obvious signs, and others become depressed. Chances are, if you ignore the signs, things will become worse and worse over time, and you may have to suffer through the pain and damage that infidelity will cause to your marriage.
If you feel that your marriage is going through a downward spiral, it's time to find a counselor. Arguing isn't pleasant, but withdrawing from each other is worse. The counselors at the Orange County Relationship Center are here for you and can help you get your marriage back on track. Call today at 949-220-3211 to schedule an appointment with our trained professionals or make your appointment using our online tool.