He cheated. Is it over?
If an infant's mother is absent, busy, or insecure, the baby can't form a secure bond with her. This makes the child anxious, and creates insecure attachment. Our early childhood attachment pattern affects our adult relationships, so we use the term LoveStyles to describe these patterns. How you relate to your partner is, in large part, a result of your unique LoveStyle.
Couples are subject to many forces at once: upsets, dissatisfaction, attractions to others, and a broad range of temptations. Unless there is a mutual commitment to create a secure bond with each other, and the ability to be vulnerable and truthful when feeling disconnected, there is a higher likelihood of temptation winning out. The basis of a sustainable, happy relationship is to intentionally co-create an enduring bond based on mutual security and trust. This takes productive communication and a strong commitment by both partners — far beyond the marriage expectations we grow up with.
Our free, 5-minute quiz, the LoveStyle Profile, is an excellent way to learn about your unique attachment style. You'll receive a customized ten-page report to help you understand the dynamics of your LoveStyle within your relationship. Visit www.ConfusedAboutLove.com, and click on the LoveStyle Profile tab. We recommend that you ask your partner (or potential partner) to take it, as well.
Betray-Proof Your Relationship
The thought of infidelity threatens us. The act can destroy us. So what can a couple do to betray-proof their marriage or relationship?
Most people assume that their partner shares their beliefs about commitment and fidelity, but the vast majority of couples have never discussed it openly, because the topic itself is so threatening. The more conscious planning you do, the less havoc you suffer. It's similar to recognizing that a disaster might happen, and purchasing an earthquake preparedness kit as insurance.
We recommend our clients spend a couple of hours discussing the difficult topic of infidelity. Doing so adds a layer of protection to the security of the relationship. Ask each other these questions, and hold each other in loving compassion while you do so (even if you get triggered by their answers):
- What will we each do when we feel dissatisfied in our relationship?
- What will we each do when we feel an attraction to another person?
- What specific behaviors are OK to engage in with another person of the opposite sex? Being alone with them? Touching? Having a drink? Feeling turned on?
- What is the specific expectation you each have about the use of pornography, romance literature, and fantasies? Is it OK to think about another person if you don't act on it?
- What truths will you tell each other, and what truths will you withhold to protect the other's feelings? Will you feel resentment later if you weren't told about something because your partner wanted to protect your feelings?
- How can you ensure that your partner feels safe and secure during "dangerous" situations, such as parties, meetings with attractive colleagues, traveling on business trips, etc.?
- What are the specific rules you both agree to abide by?
Write your answers into a "Commitment Love Agreement" that you can refer to and expand over time. You may find obvious differences in values, beliefs, and perspectives when you engage in this potentially uncomfortable conversation. If you find that the topic is too charged, or you can't navigate the difficult terrain by yourselves, seek professional help from a marriage counselor. If you are willing to do the hard work, and clarify your mutual agreements, you will help betray-proof your relationship.
Every relationship gets tested for fidelity. Some couples — those with the Secure LoveStyle — are more apt to pass the test with hardly a disturbance in the field. Couples who have an Insecure LoveStyle are more likely to be vulnerable to temptation (it may just be fantasies of straying; it does not mean they will act it out). Once trust is broken, it CAN be restored, but only if both partners refocus their efforts on creating safe and secure conditions for each other. When you commit to the Secure Lovestyle Practices, you're much more likely to avoid the heartache of betrayal.
The first step is to take our free, 5-minute quiz, the LoveStyle Profile. You'll receive a customized ten-page report to help you understand the dynamics of your LoveStyle within your relationship. Visit www.ConfusedAboutLove.com, and click on the LoveStyle Profile tab.