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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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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

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