Are you thinking that you shouldn’t have to affair-proof your marriage? Your partner should know better, right? If your partner has an affair, there’s something wrong with your partner and not with you!
But it doesn’t make finding out about an affair any less devastating. It doesn’t make it any easier to make that next decision: should we stay together or not? It doesn’t take away the pain, the hurt, and the anger.
More important, affairs happen, a lot more often than most people think. I know because I hear about them and I see them in progress. Married men quite often proposition me when I’m out with my friends. They feed me a load of crap like, “My wife doesn’t mind that I do this. She won’t have sex with me. Woe is me. I need an outlet.” Ladies: take comfort. I usually respond to such talk with this: “Well I completely understand why your wife doesn’t want to have sex with you.”
Note: Someone accused me of being a man hater in the comments after I wrote this post. I actually like men, but I don’t like when they think I’m dumb enough to fall for something like that. It’s an insult to my intelligence, which is why I use the insulting come back. I also really dislike using the he/she construction, which is why I often pick one or the other. So, for the rest of this blog, know that: men and women both cheat. Sometimes they have compelling reasons to do so.
Through this blog, I also hear from men and women who are contemplating an affair, who are in the middle of an affair, or who are feeling guilty about an affair.
Their spouses have no idea.
I also have heard from many people who are floored when their spouses walk out of the marriage, usually to start up a relationship with someone else. They never saw it coming and often say things like, “I don’t know why she left me. I gave her everything. I was the perfect spouse.”
Here’s the thing about affairs: they are easy. That’s why they happen. Getting a divorce? Not easy. Repairing your marriage and getting what you need from your spouse? Definitely not easy. Having a fling with someone who offers you the few things your spouse does not? Much easier.
That’s why you need to affair proof. You cannot take your marriage for granted. Here are 5 ways to do it:
1. Have sex regularly. I often hear women say things like, “I get back at my husband by withholding sex” or “We stopped having sex a long time ago. It’s not important to us.” Here’s the thing: it might be very important to him. If that’s the case and he’s not getting it from you, he’ll be more tempted to find another way to get it. And he’s going to feel justified about it, because you were the one who shut him out. The more often you have sex with each other, the less often either one of you will be tempted to have sex with someone else. Exhaust your sex drive at home.
2. Never stop flirting. Part of the lure of the affair is the “I like you” and “I like you right back” validation. After many years of marriage—once we’ve gotten set in our ways—we forget to validate our partners and then the excitement and lust drains out of the relationship. Try to compliment your spouse everyday. Tell her that her butt looks great in her jeans. Mention something about how flat his stomach is looking lately. Eat each other up.
3. Never stop dating. In the beginning, you probably planned fun things to do together. You saw movies. You went on weekend trips. You went on hikes. Then you had kids. Now your idea of a date is watching TV once the kids are in bed. Bring romance back into your marriage. Go on vacations without the kids. Bring back activities that you both love, but have stopped doing together. Find new ways to connect.
4. Emotionally stimulate her. I’m going to go on one of my sexist benders here. Go ahead and complain about it in the comments area. Here goes. Men tend to have sexual affairs. Women tend to have emotional ones that happen to also be sexual. In other words, men tend to stray in order to get laid. Women tend to stray in order to have someone to talk to, someone who understands them. This is why a woman’s affair tends to end a marriage. She usually falls in love with the object of her emotional affair. Men: this is why you just can’t ignore your wife’s need for conversation and emotional stimulation. Yes, she needs a life outside of marriage. Yes, she needs emotionally stimulating friends. And yes, she needs you to talk and listen every once in a while. If you don’t, she might eventually meet someone else who fills that need.
5. Continually work on your marriage. Once every so often rate your marriage on a scale of 1 (I wish you were dead) to 10 (I am thrilled to have you in my life). Talk about ways to get your marriage closer to 10. The happier you are together, the more invested you will be in your marriage and the less likely either one of you will be to stray.
Do you think it’s important to affair-proof your marriage? Do you have additional affair-proofing strategies to suggest? Leave a comment.