Love

8 Ways To Stop Yourself From Cheating (Even If You Really Want To)

Photo: Ayo Ogunseinde via Unsplash
How To Stop Yourself From Cheating, Infidelity, Or Having An Affair In Your Marriage

If you suddenly find yourself in a boring marriage, the temptation to have an affair is exciting, but the truth is, you really don't want to fall into the hole of infidelity. Someone just caught your eye in a totally new way — someone who is not your spouse. Maybe you've known them for years or maybe you've just met. The logical part of your brain says, "Don't do this. Cheating is not right." But, your brain's reactive limbic system screams, "Yes! Yes! Yes! Let's go for it!"

You stop for a moment and wonder...how did you end up here?! How did you end up considering turning into a cheating spouse?! If this sounds familiar, you aren't alone. Many experts say that women experience an increased desire to have an affair between 6-10 years of marriage, with a peak urge between ages 40-45 (just prior to menopause). Meanwhile, the desire for men to break their vows grows the longer they are married. Their infidelity rate peaks between ages 55-65. 

RELATED: The Question Your Partner Might Ask You Right Before They Cheat, According To Research

Why do men cheat? Why do women cheat? Why do people cheat on the spouses they claim to love? There are many studies that examine all the potential answers. Most agree that individuals are more likely to ignore their marriage vows when they feel jealous, angry, hurt, or intimately or emotionally unsatisfied. A team of Israeli researchers recently decided to look at the other half of the coin and explore how tempted folks stop themselves from cheating. They discovered that people who successfully avoid an affair tend to:

  • Have high moral/religious standards.
  • Worry that because of the affair, they might end up alone.
  • Fear that the affair might harm their children.
  • Consider who else might be hurt, specifically their new romantic partners.

If you are on the verge of being unfaithful and want to stop before it's too late, you first need to calm your brain's reactive limbic system. Go somewhere quiet and breathe, slowly. Once you feel more relaxed, consider the points above that make sense to you. As a marriage and family therapist, I've seen the immense damage infidelity does to relationships. The anger and loss of trust can be devastating. So, while you fight the urge to go off with someone else, invest in your current relationship. According to Marilyn Volker Ed.D., a nationally respected intimacy therapist, there are eight forms of intimacy.

RELATED: How To Prevent Cheating, According To Research

Here are 8 ways to stop yourself from cheating, even if you really want to:

1. Affection

Thank your partner for something they do. Say, "I love you" or "I'm so glad we are together." Give them a hug and a quick kiss when they arrive home from work. 

2. Physical

Go for a walk, a swim, or a bike ride together. If you have a ping pong table, challenge your partner to a game or two.

Photo: Helena Lopes/Pexels

3. Aesthetic

Go outside and watch the sunset together. Stroll through an art gallery and view the paintings. Join your partner in the den and ask Alexa to play a song you both enjoy.

4. Spiritual

Pray or meditate together. Discuss a spiritual topic, and attend church or synagogue together.

5. Intellectual

If you share political views, discuss the election. Or, talk about a topic you recently heard or read about. 

RELATED: Why Some People Simply Cannot Stop Themselves From Cheating

6. Social

Go out to a restaurant, see a movie, double date with friends, etc.

7. Emotional

Share your feelings about something.

   

   

8. Intimacy

Shower together, share a bubble bath or more. So, don't be a cheating wife or a cheating husband. Avoid the temptation of having an affair by doing at least one of these 8 things in your marriage each day. As you may have guessed, being physical isn't the only way to build intimacy in a relationship.

Couples therapist, John Gottman, found that it takes 5 positive acts to make up for each negative one. That's how powerful hurtful words and actions can be. Use these forms of intimacy to help build up the number of positive acts you do. They will, hopefully, help you heal and strengthen your relationship. Are you in a good marriage that you would like to make even better?  

RELATED: The Most Surprising Reason People Cheat, According To Research

Janis Roszler is a licensed marriage and family therapist, board-certified therapist, author, and award-winning medical media producer. She travels internationally as a speaker on relationships and health-related topics.