Whether you just got married, or you're on your way to your twentieth wedding anniversary, you don't want to think about the possibility that one of you could cheat, right? You're probably thinking: affairs happen to other couples, it won't happen to us. You and your partner have probably even talked about it. Your conversation probably went something like this:
"Oh honey, infidelity only happens to unhappy couples who don't talk, never have sex and aren't as perfect as the two of us, right?"
Affairs happen because of opportunity. Some studies show that almost 45% of all spouses will cheat at some point in their marriage. Peggy Vaughan, author of "The Monogamy Myth," agrees. She says that "conservative estimates are that 60 percent of men and 40 percent of women will have an extramarital affair" at some point in their marriage. The numbers today are assumed to be much higher. In fact, there is more opportunity for affairs than ever before due to the accessibility of social networking and the internet. Janis Abrahms Spring, author of "After the Affair", says that infidelity now affects one out of every 2.7 couples.
Couples who manage to stay true to each other for the long run have a lot of things going for them. Here are my top three:
1. They have a commitment to the integrity of their monogamy agreement. They have discussed it, agreed on what it means and they revisit it every couple of years to make sure it still means the same thing. Does going to a friend's bachelor party count? How about having lunch with friends of the opposite sex?
To prevent an affair, talk about your monogamy and what it means to each of you. You might be surprised at some of the ways you disagree.
2. Couples who manage to avoid cheating are also having lots of great sex. Not just lots of sex, but lots of really good, rewarding, connecting and fun sex. This means that you have to find new and innovative ways to stay erotic throughout your marriage. Sure, it's fun now. But when you're tired, cranky or frustrated with each other, you still have to get creative and find ways to please each other in bed.
One way to keep it fresh is to have one new fantasy with each other every couple of months. It's less important that you act out the fantasy and more important that you learn the language of sexual empathy and sharing.
3. Couples who do things together and have an active investment in their busy lives together usually don't have time to cheat. Find hobbies you can share, or places you enjoy going together. You don't have to be attached at the hip to keep each other faithful. But you do have to work to find things that have meaning for the two of you, and build memories for a lifetime.
These memories and habits can shelter you in moments of doubt, and when those opportunities to cheat come up throughout your lifetime (and they will) you will have those thoughts of your spouse so close to you that there will be no room to let someone else in.
Talk to you partner today about affair proofing your marriage, and visit www.drtammynelson.com for more about writing your monogamy agreements for a lifetime of passion and connection.
Follow Tammy Nelson, Ph.D. on Twitter: www.twitter.com/drtammynelson