Are you worried about your partner or spouse cheating on you? Then this post is for you. I still believe in the whole “prevention is better than cure” approach to this, which is exactly what this post is about. Rather than worrying about all the variables for why cheating happens, we’re instead looking at 7 strategies to strengthen your love life. Focusing on these will help you buffer your relationship and give it the best chance of being strong and “cheating-proof.” But, please note, NOTHING is full-proof and I’m not claiming these to be either.
“The truly scary thing about undiscovered lies is that they have a greater capacity to diminish us than exposed ones. They erode our strength, our self-esteem, our very foundation.” ― Cheryl Hughes
This is a tough topic to write about and even tougher dealing with it.
I wish this on no one.
But cheating happens.
And maybe you’re reading this right now as someone who is seriously worried about the possibility of cheating in your relationship.
If that’s the case, I hope to share a few insights with you today that will help strengthen your love life and avoid it from ever happening.
The reality is cheating can have devastating consequences on a relationship.
We have to accept the fact that sometimes there’s nothing you can do to prevent your partner from cheating — that’s just the way they are or choose to be.
And as long as you choose to stay with them, you’re opening yourself up for much heartache and most likely conflict most of the time.
You’ll find your relationship turn into a type of cat-and-mouse game with a boatload of mind-games going on.
It’s exhausting and not fun at all.
I’ve worked with couples before who have been there and I can tell you that it makes for some of the hardest and most difficult of relationship counselling work.
With that being said, however, cheating can also take place because the relationship is eroding or unfulfilling.
That is also a possible reality.
Cheating can be a result of emotional or physical issues in the relationship.
And if that’s the case, there are some ways to prevent this from happening.
In many cases, couples have also come back from it and healed their relationship to be stronger and better than before.
But, I’m not going to lie to you.
Once the trust with your partner is broken at that level, it can be a long and difficult road getting back to a good place.
Some partners struggle for years after infidelity to get over what happened as well as the constant lingering fear that it might happen again.
So, let’s start putting things in place as soon as possible to keep your relationship strong OR make it fulfilling again if you are in a tough place at the moment.
The first step is to realise that by actually paying attention to your relationship, you may be able to see the warning signs and make positive changes to get your relationship back on track before it derails.
Try these following strategies to help keep your relationship fulfilled:
- Avoid getting lazy in your relationship.
This goes without saying but it’s so important because it’s so easy to fall into.
It may be tempting to put your romantic relationship on autopilot while you focus on children, grandchildren or your job.
But, choosing to do that can have a serious long-term impact on your love.
Couples often assume their relationship can continue while they ignore each other.
This is especially a trap if you’ve been together for a long time.
You start taking each other for granted and stop actively nurturing the relationship.
However, if you believe that, I’m sad to say but you’re wrong.
If you take a plant and put it in the corner of your office and forget about it to fend for itself, it will die given enough time.
Now, initially it won’t look that way as the plant is fresh and new, but after some time without food, water and too much/little sun, it will start to wilt.
The same with a relationship.
If you don’t actively take care of it, it will also wilt over time.
And it doesn’t matter if you’ve got great excuses or reasons why you put your relationship on the back burner, the result will be the same regardless.
It’s therefore important to pay attention to your relationship and take action each day to strengthen it.
You don’t have to do big things, as small consistent actions are more valuable in this case.
2. Make your communication with each other a top priority.
Communication is the first step to noticing any issues and resolving them.
Again, I know this goes without saying, but you’d be surprised how many couples never talk about the state of their relationship and how to keep growing it.
The only time most couples do “address” their relationship is when something is wrong and they are arguing about something.
But, these arguments are not the same as constructive conversations and open communication about where you’re at as a couple, where you would like to be, and what needs to happen to make it so.
In fact, when many couples do have an opportunity to talk about this when out on a date or weekend-away, they fill in their time with other trivial things (also important at times) rather than seeing it as an opportunity to actively work on improving the quality of their relationship.
It’s absolutely crucial to keep talking to each other about everything that matters in your relationship.
Deep conversations about your fears, hopes, dreams, and goals are super important.
By sharing intimate information with each other, you’re building trust and making the relationship stronger.
If you want to keep your partner from straying, it’s important that you keep building deeper levels of connection that last.
When people become detached to something it loses its value and priority in their lives.
Consequently, they start looking for other things to meet their needs.
Other things might not necessarily be someone else, but there are more than enough men who cheat on their wives with their jobs or women cheating on their husbands with their girlfriends.
Make communication with each other your top priority.
3. Continue to date each other.
Marriage doesn’t mean that dating has to end.
Experts note that courting is a crucial part of successful marriages.
You can continue to date by having date nights or lunches and setting aside time for each other.
I appreciate that once kids come along this becomes more difficult, but it is not impossible.
Right now, somewhere in the world, a couple just like you is doing everything YOU need to be doing to strengthen your relationship.
The only difference between them and you is the fact that they are making different decisions then you are.
There are no excuses for letting your relation wilt. If it is important enough to you, you will make time to do what needs to be done to prioritise your partner and your relationship with him/her.
Make a conscious effort to continue courting your partner.
Take them on a date. And don’t wait for your man to initiate it — if he’s taking too long, you take the initiative.
Perhaps by setting an example that you’re still very keen on doing these types of things, he might get the message.
And if you want him to take you but he isn’t getting your subtle hints, just tell him.
Also, think outside the box. Small gestures such as buying each other little gifts or flowers can go a long way in improving your romance and intimacy levels.
And don’t buy into the idea that your partner “isn’t into that type of thing.”
Then find his or her “type of thing” and use it.
Every person wants to be cherished (in their way) and feels like the most special person in the room when they with their loved ones.
The problem is, life gets in the way and we keep putting this off.
But before we know it, so much time has gone by that we’ve actually allowed this very important “relationship muscle” to atrophy.
We get so out of shape that we reach a point where we don’t know how to be and act in love like a young couple anymore.
You have to make a concerted effort to keep that from happening.
By setting aside time to date each other, you’re bringing the focus back to your relationship.
4. Show your appreciation.
Your partner needs to know that you appreciate their love and that it’s important to you.
This doesn’t change simply because you’ve been married for 30 years.
In fact, the longer you’ve been together for more important this becomes.
Sometimes cheating occurs because partners feel unappreciated.
And not once or twice, but over an extended period of time.
If you show them that you still truly care, then it’s less likely that they will seek love from someone else.
And again, you can show your appreciation in many ways, ranging from a simple thank you with some flowers to more elaborate ideas like a surprise weekend away without the kids.
As long as you constantly show your partner that you truly understand them and are grateful to have this relationship, it’ll go a long way in keeping your relationship strong (or making it strong again).
So ask yourself right now:
“How am I showing appreciation to my partner?”
“When’s the last time I showed appreciation to him/her?”
“What can I do today to show that I truly appreciate them?”
Then go and do something about it.
5. Remember intimacy.
Intimacy is an important part of any marriage, and its disappearance over time can lead to cheating.
This is also a tough one and there are no easy answers, but it doesn’t negate the importance thereof.
And again, don’t be fooled into thinking that this becomes less important the older you get or the longer you’ve been together.
I don’t believe that to be a case at all.
Yes, perhaps how intimacy is expressed might change over time, but the fact that it has to form part of the relationship is a given.
Now, I can give quite a few suggestions as to how to spice up your sex life, but this is neither the place of time for that.
What I would say however is that it is important you find ways you’re comfortable with to initiate intimacy regularly and focus on keeping the flame alive.
It will be different for every couple but you have to talk about this. With grace, compassion and understanding of course.
It’s also really important for couples not to neglect this aspect of marriage because of stress or busy schedules.
I appreciate that “busyness” can become a very convenient scapegoat, but unless you find a way to keep intimacy alive in your relationship, it will eventually erode the foundation of your connection which might lead to either one or both of you seeking some form of intimacy elsewhere.
Now, let me just make this clear — by no means am I suggesting that because you’re struggling with intimacy that it’s an excuse or reason for your partner to stray.
That would be absurd.
What I am saying, however, is that it’s important to keep the importance of intimacy in a relationship in mind and work towards finding a good place with this.
I would suggest that you do whatever it takes to find some way to keep this part of your relationship healthy and alive.
I heard Dr Phil say something once years ago which I actually agreed with.
He said something to the extent of:
“When your sex life is good, it only contributes to about 10% of our overall happiness. When it’s struggling, however, it becomes 90% of the problem.”
This is too important to just ignore and hope it goes away or your partner will understand (“if they love you”).
It won’t and they won’t.
6. Avoid temptation.
I’m going to be straight up with some of you reading this, right now.
If you’re thinking of cheating, realise that it’s easier to prevent cheating by avoiding temptation.
It’s easier to avoid temptation than to live with deceit.
If you know certain things (will) tempt you to cheat, then it’s important to identify and avoid them.
Because simply by reducing the opportunities to cheat, you can make it easier to stay faithful.
It’s like removing all unhealthy food from your pantry to keep you from binge snacking at night after dinner.
Does alcohol affect your inhibitions and make you want to find another person for the night?
Then avoid alcohol when away on business trips.
Do long work trips make feel lonely?
Then consider phone sex with your partner.
Not only will it spice up your romance, but it will keep you from doing something truly stupid you’ll regret and your kids will hate you for.
By making adjustments in any of the situations you’ve identified as possible temptations for you, you can reduce the possibility of cheating.
Also, if you know that this is an ongoing problem for you, I would suggest that you go and talk to someone professional.
Some strategies might work in the short-term, but perhaps there is something deeper going on with you that you need to address and work through to.
And that is not your partner’s problem.
Do what you need to do to work through what you need to work through in order to show up for them as the man or woman they deserve.
7. Use other strong couples as examples.
In an earlier post, we talked about the eight things happy couples do.
The point I made in that article is that we can “model” the success of others.
And that includes successful couples or marriages.
So, do you admire another couple because of their ability to keep their marriage strong?
Then mimic (model) their ideas to build your own relationship.
If you don’t know how they’re doing it, then make a coffee date and invite them to talk to you about it.
One thing I know about “successful” people is that they love sharing their ideas with others.
Just imagine how much this could mean for your own relationship.
And by paying attention to how other couples avoid cheating specifically, you can discover a wealth of wisdom that can literally save your relationship.
I appreciate that there are much more to say on this topic, but I just wanted to give you a start.
And I hope I did that.
In a nutshell, relationships need to be nurtured to avoid cheating.
That is the long and short of it.
So make your relationship your top priority.
And I mean that literally.
By doing that, your partner will enjoy your attention and most likely reciprocate, leading to a more fulfilling relationship for both of you.
Before you go …
Have you seen my latest eBook on overcoming infidelity or cheating?
Click here to get access to the eBook below.
A version of this post was previously published on Medium and is republished here with permission from the author.
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