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7 Things Every Couple Should Do To Protect The Relationship From Infidelity

7 Things Every Couple Should Do To Protect The Relationship From Infidelity

Studies show a variety of results on infidelity, but the general consensus is that 30–40% of men and 20–30% of women will cheat on their partner at some point in their relationship. Don’t let those numbers cause despair! You don’t have to be resigned to the fact that you will cheat or be cheated on. Talk to your partner and try these seven things to protect the relationship from infidelity.

1. Be honest with yourself about your weaknesses.

If you go out to a bar with friends and have a few drinks, do you get a little flirty? If so, be honest with yourself. Don’t let yourself drink enough to get to that point, or stay with your group of friends instead of letting your eyes roam. If you play off your weaknesses as just harmless things that happen, you’re more likely to easily write off excuses for further indiscretions. You have to call yourself out on what potentially negative habits you have and keep them in check, otherwise they could pick up steam and turn into a mistake you’re going to regret.

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2. Discuss your boundaries.

Talk with your partner about what fidelity means to you. Does flirting count as cheating? Can they have close friends of the opposite sex? If they talk on the phone for hours with that friend, are you confident that it’s only a friendship? What about reconnecting with exes on social media? Make sure you both want fidelity in the relationship, and set guidelines for what that fidelity entails. If you don’t agree, then you might need to rethink the relationship. Make sure to keep an even playing field – if you think flirting is infidelity when your partner does it, you can’t do it either, even if you know it’s not going anywhere.

3. Avoid tempting situations.

Don’t put yourself in a situation where you’ll be alone with an attractive member of the opposite sex, or where you’ll be drinking without your partner, but with some cute bar patrons. You might think you’ll have no problem turning anything down, but once you’re already in the situation, it’s incredibly easy to keep going with the flow – the flow that might lead to a mistake that ends your relationship! It’s much harder to get yourself out of a tempting situation once it’s started, so it’s best to avoid them completely.

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4. Talk to friends who will hold you accountable.

If you’ve had a fidelity problem in the past, or think you might cheat on your current partner, surround yourself with friends that can help you through. Make sure you trust them completely and know that they won’t just say they’ll help you through, then egg you on once you’re knee deep in the tempting situation.

5. Make better choices.

This goes hand in hand with being honest with yourself about your weaknesses and avoiding tempting situations. Making better choices means you’re consciously making the effort to better yourself and save your relationship. Any time you find yourself in a questionable situation, or having thoughts that might lead you astray, you need to make a decision to stay on track and do what’s best for your relationship.

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6. Don’t keep secrets.

Being honest with your partner is just as important as being honest with yourself. You don’t need to tell your partner every time you think about someone other than them, because that will just hurt their feelings and bruise the relationship, but do tell them if you’re having the thoughts in general. Tell them if you’re worried about going out with certain friends because of the environment and mindset everyone will be in. Don’t keep secrets about things that happened during your work day, even if it involves your attractive coworker. Keeping secrets about even the smallest things makes it easier to keep the big issues quiet, too. Keeping secrets of any kind is the first step towards damaging a relationship that used to be strong.

7. Communicate openly.

Make sure you can communicate openly with your partner. Don’t get angry when they tell you their thoughts and feelings, and let them know you expect them to stay calm when you talk, as well. Tell them whatever’s on your mind regarding yourself, them, your relationship, and your hopes and dreams for the future. Sharing everything and making sure you’re on the same page about your relationship and how it’s progressing will make you feel closer, and feeling closer will make you less inclined to cheat because you’re happy with what you have.

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Featured photo credit: Guian Bolisay via flickr.com

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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