How to prevent the powerful damage of emotional and sexual affairs, before they even happen.
When you're in a long term commited relationship, there is simply no room for emotional or sexual cheating. Sadly, more than 50% of partners of both sexes, do have such relationship-destroying romps. Usually, it all starts with an emotional affair that then rockets mindlessly into unintended sexual behavior. Most cheating happens at work and increasingly online.
It turns out that most cheating partners earn their "cheater" status primarily through ignorance and a complete lack of critical relationship protecting boundaries that go with it. For example, there's no such thing as harmless flirting. In fact it's a complete contradiction in terms. Flirting by definition is genrally a form of sexualized invitation disquised in playfulness. Flirting is healthy and even essential to the health of a relationship, but only when it stays within the clearly established boundaries of the primary relationship.
To summarize, flirting often leads to emotional intimacy, which is the rocket track to sexual intimacy. Both of these forms of intimacy are the life-blood of a healthy long term relationship or marriage. My 4 simple rules of "Cheat-Proofing" that I share with my thousdands of monthly blog readers and the many distressed couples I've worked with as a professional Counselor are:
1) Keep all flirting inside your primary relationship (infact, practice flirting creatively everyday, but only with your partner).
2) If you wan't to keep your relationship or marriage healthy and for the long term, don't have any informal "friendships", with members of the opposite sex, outside your relationship. For example, a team member at work may be just that, - team member or co-worker. That's a formal relationship. It needs to stay that way. There is no need to have informal exchanges online either.
3) Sometimes, there are temptations. Come up with a "cheat-proofing" safety plan together for those "high risk situations." Usually this means getting to your partner fast with any fleeting sense of attraction to emotional or physical interactions with any potential affair partner. You then problem solve together to prevent serious trasgressions from developing and getting out of control.
Many people report worrying that their partner may see this a sign of weakness. But on the contrary, this level of complete honesty is exactly the kind of communiation that healthy, long term relationship thrives on. What better way to say "I love you", than to admit your deepest moments of weakness for the sake of the relationship?
This also allows you to experience the reality of your partner's emotional distress at the idea of your cheating on them. It's also where healthy, emotional-soothing needs to come into the picture, - the kind of soothing that deepens and expands your relationship-sustaining emotional intimacy.
4) Finally, never do, say or text anything away from your partner's eyes, that you would not do, say or text directly infront of them. It's just not worth the heart break!