Let me say right out of the gate that there is no way to 100% protect your relationship from infidelity. You can do and say all the right things and yet there are still some people who are pre-disposed to being unfaithful. It is a pattern, weakness or character flaw that has shown up in their life history. Why these people enter committed relationships is a mystery, and why others knowingly align themselves with someone like this is even stranger. However, I do believe the majority of affairs start with people who never dreamed they would do such a thing. I am not excusing or condoning it, I am merely stating that for THOSE people, one or more of these strategies might have helped.
These strategies are not a pick one and go, but a combination of useful information that if followed will set you up for a happier, closer and more intimate bond with your partner, which I am sure is the goal of everyone who entered in a relationship for the right reasons. So, let’s go.
RESPECT your partner. Did you know you can like, and possibly even love, someone and not respect them? Of course, you did because you may have done it before, but this does not work in a relationship because your partner must believe in and feel respect. This does not mean acceptance of all behaviors or attitudes, but it does mean that you value, admire and appreciate who they are and what they bring into your life. If your partner believes their opinions and contributions are needed and important they will be much less likely to seek that validation from anyone else. We all desire to bring quality to the relationship table. When your partner does that, let them know how much it means to you. Respect the work, integrity, commitment and love they show and give it all back to them in multi-fold return.
HUMOR your partner. Remember when you first dated, and you laughed, talked for hours, had pet names, sent silly messages… yeah, THAT stuff. Why did you stop? Oh, I know, life happens, and we can’t be cutesy and adorable 24/7, but THAT stuff is still very important. Having a good sense of humor and being able to laugh or find the positive in a situation is extremely sexy and lists as one of the top things people look for in a partner. If you have become grumpy, sulk most of the time, never satisfied, difficult to please, picky, degrading…do you see where I’m going here. Displaying those attitudes on a regular basis is going to drive your partner away, and not closer. No one really wants to snuggle with a porcupine. Look, we all have bad days and we get on each other’s nerves. I understand that, but we can’t live in a perpetual state of dissatisfaction and full of complaints and expect our partner to shower us with attention and affection. They will eventually run into someone who does THAT stuff, and the rest is, as they say, history.
TOUCH your partner. Yes, I mean sex. If you want your partner to keep the love engine revving for you, you are the one who must keep the gas in the tank. Don’t start with the hate mail, I know everyone isn’t always in the mood, and I also know there are legitimate situations that arise that can douse the fire a bit, but those should be the exception and not the rule. I heard a recent analogy that said if you starve your partner of bread, they will eventually find a bakery. Sex is not a weapon or a tool. It should never be withheld purely as a punishment or used as manipulation. Sex is the one thing that separates a relationship from any other type of friendship. Intimacy at that level is the adhesive bond that holds you together through the tough times. Let me also be clear to point out that all touch does not have to be sexual to also be powerful. Time and location do not always allow for certain activities, but you can still find ways to express your love. A kiss on the cheek, a rub of the shoulder, brushing back hair with a sweet caress, holding hands; there are hundreds of ways to physically connect with your partner throughout the day to let them know they are the ONE and stand out above all the rest. Touch is powerful. It is healing and magical. Never underestimate its worth.
I know this may sound like a lot of work, and honestly, it is. No one said a successful relationship would be easy. (Well, there are those who have said it, but I’m not sure they ever really had one.) It shouldn’t be excruciating, but it does take effort. But these strategies are not just for YOU, they are for BOTH parties involved. One person cannot shoulder all this responsibility. It is a reciprocal process. And I was very careful not to assign gender to any of these ideas. Both men and women need all three things and both men and women need to contribute all three things.
My Hopefuls, for those of you who have found a love worth believing in, it is my desire that you maintain and protect it. It is never OK for someone to have inappropriate contact or cross that line. It comes down to a personal choice they made to do the wrong thing, and they should not try to shift the blame onto you. However, there are safeguards and strategies available that will go a long way to keep your relationship strong, vital and greatly lessen the possibility of an affair. Believe and apply the strategies and see for yourself.
Hope With Abandon