The reason a man or a woman in a relationship or marriage cheats is because his or her needs are not getting met in the primary relationship.
Most often, these needs are emotional rather than physical. Affairs are not a way to exit a relationship or a marriage by finding a new partner. Rather, affairs are entered into in order to meet the needs that are not being met while keeping the primary relationship intact.
Some years ago author Gary Neuman wrote a book called The Truth About Cheating, where he details the research he did about why men cheat. In his research Neuman discovered that a man will most likely cheat if he feels unappreciated and unloved by his wife.
This is absolutely true, and has been one of foci of my work with clients for years. Interestingly women cheat for a slightly different reason, when their needs for connection and feeling wanted are not met in the primary relationship.
How is it that important relationship needs can go unmet in a primary relationship? For more on how needs go unmet in a relationship or marriage read my recent article on needs.
For now let’s just say that once partners’ needs go unmet long enough, the relationship is in danger of cheating.
What can you do to affair-proof your relationship or marriage? Follow this simple yet vital 6 step plan:
For women: Appreciate what you husband or partner is doing for you, your family, and around you, regardless of what else he may or may not be doing. Tell him that you appreciate him and what you appreciate about him often.
For men: Appreciate her beauty, her body, her mind. Make her feel wanted. Make it a practice to find the things you appreciate about her and then tell her about these things often.
2. He needs to be your hero. She needs to be your queen.
This might sound incredibly corny, but if a man feels like the hero in his relationship or marriage, he will never consider cheating. Similarly if the woman feels like the queen in a relationship or marriage she will be completely devoted to her partner.
3. Give Respect
If there are things that bother you about what your partner is doing or not doing, how he/she is treating you or not treating you, ask for change in a loving, respectful way. Do not treat your partner as if he or she owes you something.
4. Don’t criticize
Criticism makes people feel small and ashamed, which makes them want to seek others who will make them feel good about themselves. It’s ok not to like what your partner is doing and ask for something different. But you need to do this in a way that leaves your partner intact, rather than tearing him or her down.
5. Pay attention
If your partner or you are repeatedly asking for something in the relationship and not getting it, your relationship is in trouble. It may not seem like it because men and women in long-term relationships and marriages tend to be patient. They will ask for what they need for a long time before they get fed up and head towards seeking to meet their needs elsewhere. But make no mistake – even quiet requests that go unmet for too long put your relationship in danger.
I can help you untangle your relationship situation to create an affair-proof relationship. Schedule a 30-minute Get Clarity Coaching Session to get started.
6. If your relationship is having issues, get help sooner rather than later.
Couples tend to wait to get help, hoping whatever trouble they are having will get better over time. Unfortunately once a relationship gets into a difficult pattern it is very unlikely to right itself without outside help. While you two are trying to see if you can work it out on your own, the negative things you do in the relationship continue to erode it.
The 6 steps of this plan are simple, but they can be difficult to apply in the face of the many triggers and set-in systems in a long-term relationship or marriage. Be aware of what’s going on in your relationship and be intentional about what you want to create in order to affair-proof your relationship.