Self, Heartbreak

The #1 Way To Prevent Cheating From Happening

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The #1 Way to Prevent infidelity From Happening

I have written and talked much about the many factors that can contribute to infidelity.

However, there is one way to prevent infidelity that trumps all others — open and courageous communication.    

The biggest problem with interpersonal relationships is that we suppress, hold back, and hide our feelings, preferences, and desires that we think may provoke the other person or "get us in trouble".  

By observing my clients, I have discovered that conflict avoidance is one of the more common antecedents to infidelity. So the best way on how to prevent infidelity is by asking yourself these questions:

  1. What is something that is difficult to share with my partner?
  2. What is my biggest fear about sharing it?
  3. What do I want that I have overlooked in order to have peace even at my expense?
  4. What is something crucial to my well-being that I do not get from my spouse?

You then need to sit with your partner and have a conversation that allows for more open communication.  

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To go into some more detail regarding how to communicate more openly and courageously with your partner, think of the word "and".  

Your communication has to be about both you and your partner. In other words, you can ask for anything you want and express whatever you feel as long as you keep in mind the experience of your partner.  

Rather than demand for something you may want (sexually or otherwise), make a request. Rather than make a judgment, lovingly tell your partner what you would rather have your partner do or say.

Too often, open communication leads to defensiveness and attack so the couple ends up avoiding a potentially unpleasant experience by not communicating at all.

RELATED: 8 Rules You MUST Follow When Fighting With Your Husband

If you find your emotions escalating to the point where you are about to get harsh or reactive, ask for a timeout to calm yourself down and say you will be back in (no more than) 5 minutes to resume having an adult to adult conversation.

Lastly, practice perceiving your partner as an ally and not an enemy. If your partner is disappointed or angry with you, remind yourself that they are your ally and these are just feelings that your partner is experiencing.

If you practice creating this kind of safe and open communication environment, you will more easily overcome your fear of conflict.  

As you lubricate the channels of communication between you and make communication rewarding, you will reap the benefits of having that open and deep relationship that is the biggest buffer against infidelity.

If there is a lot of resistance, you may want to think of getting a seasoned therapist such as myself that will help you both broaden your communication channels. 

Creating a relationship that allows for more self-expression for both people is going to be the best prevention strategy against any future affairs.

Todd Creager is an expert in relationships. For over 30 years, he has worked as a relationship therapist, specializing in marriage, sex and couples counseling.

Watch Relationship Expert Esther Perel's TED Talk on infidelity, what causes it and why it can cause trauma.

This article was originally published at Todd Creager's website. Reprinted with permission from the author.