Listen up closely.
As a marriage counselor who works with couples all over the world online, it's by far the most common presenting issue, and I help couples recover and transform their marriage from it.
I normally cover this in a lot more detail in my private online programs, audio downloads and 1 to 1 sessions, for now, I’ll give you the best overview I can to help reduce the chance of an affair and prevent the building of resentment.
Examining the factors contributing to affairs is futile, a bleak outlook doesn’t help a couple remain connected or move forward after an affair, so here are 4 critical steps to affair-proof your marriage (or ruin a cheating husband or cheating wife’s affair if it’s happening in your marriage):
Note: The below does not apply to those who have a sex addiction, which requires a different strategy — please contact me in confidence on this matter.
1. Recognize we all have the capacity to cheat.
We are all vulnerable, and it can happen to anyone and any couple. More often than not, it comes down to needs not being met.
If there is any amount of frustration, hurt or resentment about our needs not being met over time and someone comes along and offers us those needs we will be tempted.
Whether it's attention, affection, sexual needs, engaging conversation, care, or protection, if we feel we are lacking it, we become resentful. If someone else offers, even those with the strongest willpower may crack — ONLY if they are not aware that they are all vulnerable.
It may sound strange but this awareness is the first key to protecting your marriage.
Often, the person someone has an affair with is never someone they could see themselves with long-term; it’s literally a case of missing needs being offered. Once you are aware of what you need and what your partner needs, you can set about giving that to them.
Some people have a problem with this statement, they say to me "Nicola I would never cheat." That may be so, but my experience has taught me that in certain circumstances and conditions, many are susceptible.
2. Give your partner the 4 A’s: Attention, Affection, Appreciation and Admiration
They will reciprocate — the impact of this is massive. One person has the power alone to transform a marriage. Focus on turning these 4 A’s into actions you take daily.
A make it a habit to greet your partner when they come home. Kiss and cuddle them every morning and night before you say goodbye or goodnight.
Ask them how they are and really listen, give them your undivided attention, no phones, TV or other distractions.
Express and show appreciation for their unique qualities, not just a "thank you" or "you’re great". Be specific about what is special about them.
Admire them. We love and need to be admired by our partner — it makes us want to be around them more. If we feel criticized, not good enough, or not respected, we will want to avoid our partner.
Make an effort to do this, especially if you're spending time apart. If one of you travels a lot for business, make sure the first 4 hours you or they return home, you give each other undivided attention, affection, appreciation — this will set a positive loving tone for the rest of your weekend or week.
It’s loving actions, not talking about problems, that can save a marriage and help prevent a cheating husband or wife.
3. Take control, set boundaries, and protect your marriage.
The best thing you can do for your marriage if you feel yourself getting close to someone inside or outside of work is to pull away and avoid being alone with that person. Ideally only see them in group settings and decline any one-on-one invitations to protect your marriage.
Another thing that works well is to bring your spouse along to meet them or invite them over for dinner with your spouse. It will change how you interact and that is a good thing if flirting has been going on.
Some married men and women end up avoiding the person. While that may seem a bit extreme, are your marriage and family worth protecting? Most people say "yes", especially those who have cheated.
You need to be honest with yourself, if you do this your spouse won’t need to control you. Controlling each other doesn’t work, monitoring each other’s phone, social media and whereabouts will drive you further away.
4. Use fantasies to improve your marriage.
If you do find yourself fantasizing about what it might be like to be with someone else, look for what the fantasy could be telling you about your relationship.
Could it be a signal that you need more attention, affection or a more fulfilling sex life? Is it highlighting that something is missing? Can it give you clues of what you and your partner could work on to be happier?
Analyze your thoughts and see what you can learn from them, they can often teach us how we wish we were with our partner. Then, you can use the information to increase the love, passion, and happiness in your own marriage.
To reconnect, you need to focus on their needs and they will reciprocate.
I recommend you first ask them, how they view the relationship, what you could do to make them happier. This open approach, if done well, can spark transformation and a new era for your marriage.
I offer many tips on how to motivate your spouse to change in the save my marriage program, and offer a bonus 2-part infidelity audio recording to keep.
Connection is key.
It is important to note that couples who socialize together and stay connected when a spouse is absent thrive abroad.
In contrast, other couples that lead separate lives, tend to suffer a loss of connection, this can make them more vulnerable to affairs happening.
Nicola Beer is a Marriage Transformation Specialist and Founder of Save My Marriage Program. Get the 7 Secrets Now.
This article was originally published at savemymarriageprogram.com . Reprinted with permission from the author.