5. If your focus is on "damage control" with your spouse, you are acting like a victim of abuse.
Dr. Phil says "Don't go along to get along. Peace at any price is no peace at all." If you find yourself simply avoiding his anger, his snide remarks or his silent treatments, you are behaving like a victim. If you go along with his requests just so you all can get along, don't speak up or don't affirm yourself, you're exhibiting victim-like behaviors. Instead, you shut up, you lose yourself, and you give in. The result is a happy husband and a trophy wife: one satisfied spouse and another spouse who once again "won" by not getting yelled at. But note that only one spouse is satisfied. How do you feel? Similarly, if you have sex with your spouse (or comply in any other area) just you can get him to say "yes" to what you want, you are a manipulator. There is no love in that.
6. If your believe your sexuality and appearance can keep your spouse from cheating, you are acting like an enabler.
Melissa Gorga writes: "The way I see it, if a wife is a puttana, her husband will never feel the urge to go outside the marriage to actual whores, or strip clubs. He won't hit on women in bars, or drool over his friend's girlfriends or the secretary. He'll rush home to his wife, who makes sure he'll have a good time (the best time) in the comfort of his own home."
You are wrong, Melissa. His cheating is not your fault! I can't believe that women still fall for that. His cheating is all about himself. It is something he does to himself and to you, not because of you.
Dr. John Grohol explains the "Fallacy of Change" as a cognitive distortion. When you think that somehow you can change or control other people, you are practicing magical thinking. What you wear, or how tight your abs are or how often you have sex with your spouse will not change your spouse! If your partner lacks integrity and strength of character, any reason will be a good enough reason for them to cheat. If dinner is not always ready on time, if your hair color is off, if the kids are loud at dinner time, if his clothes are not ironed... these are not acceptable reasons for him to find pleasure outside of the committment he made to you. If you spend your energy and time trying to keep the other person from cheating, you are actually enabling their self-centeredness. The opposite of this is to set clear boundaries and consequences. You can own your part — yes, look your best and invest in your health. However, set boundaries as to what you are and are not willing to live with, and let your spouse know what you will do if he violates your boundaries.
How we are raised, and what we believe is "culturally acceptable" will always influence our values. However, we can choose to re-write the cultural scripts and to edit our traditions to embrace true love and sanity. It can be painful and scary. We might lose a few friends and relatives. But making those tough choices will always be worth every tear.