4 Step Plan to Avoid Cheating in a Relationship or Marriage

by Relationship Coach Rinatta Paries on September 12, 2008

in Affairs, Break-ups and Divorce, Dating, Marriage, Relationships

The reason a man or a woman has an affair 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 in the primary relationship, while keeping the primary relationship intact.

Back some years ago the Oprah show did a segment on a book by Gary Neuman 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, as I have been telling clients for years. Interestingly women cheat for a slightly different reason, when their need for connection and being wanted are not met in their primary relationship.

How is it that important relationship needs go unmet in a primary relationship or marriage? For more on how needs work in relationships and marriages read my recent article on needs.

For now let’s just say that once partners’ needs go unmet in a relationship or marriage long enough, the relationship is in danger of triangulation, or cheating.

What can you do to avoid the devastation of cheating in your relationship or marriage? Here is my 4 step plan:

1. Appreciate

For women: Appreciate what you husband or partner is doing for you, your family, 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 in this domain 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 or as if you own him or her.

4. Do not criticize

Criticism makes people feel small and ashamed, which makes them want to see others who will make them feel ok about themselves. It’s ok to not like what your partner is doing and ask for what you want, but you need to do it 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 in trouble because men and women in long-term relationships or 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.

6. If your relationship is having issues, get help sooner rather than later.

Couples tend to wait to get help, hoping what ever 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. And while you too are trying to see if you can work it out on your own, and negative things you do in the relationship cause more deterioration.

You can affair proof your relationship or marriage. It’s not rocket science, but it does take right conscious choices and effort.



Ryan June 16, 2010 at 4:00 am

I spent years dropping hints big & small to my wife about our sex life. It is the classic case described in this book. Little or no sex, but worse she is very unattentive and not very affectionate. This is where I think the emtional part comes in. Sometimes its not just about the sex but its the little things that make a man/person feel loved and wanted. After actully telling her I would get my needs met outside the marriage for years and her still not seeming to care I finally did. Now that she knows about it I amthe bad guy in all of this. What more can aman do to get his wife to pay more attention to the realtionship. We have been together for 25 years and have three children…& before all you women start asking I will answer you…I am very affectionate…always letting her know I loved her and wanted her but. I agree if a man does not get his needs met at home he will stray. It may sound chauvinistic but true. I would wlecome any advice..

Rose Cutler May 9, 2010 at 11:40 pm

After a 22+ year marriage 1 daughter both of ours and my son 30 from a diffrent relationship. 2 grand kids both are 1 1/2 years old. Due to a huge lay off my husband went to work in Nevada, he couldnt find the $’s we needed to survive. after him being in Nevada and I in Washington State I have discovered he’s been cheating , we have not had sex in over 2 years. and we have been argueing alot. due to some real bad problems from my employers. Now that he has verified my suspions I feel as though I have a knife twisting in my heart. This is killing me also my kids are hurt although they are older. Hes had sex in our 5th wheeler with the other and we havent . I want the matress and sheets removed it makes me soooo sick. He says he still loves me but I dont see how since he has made himself availble . he’s going to come home in about 4 days I want to be loved but I dont want him touching me right now.I am so confused. I thought we had plans when he retired traveling together . and the grand kids. I actually get a stomah ache thinking about this, I feel bad for our daughter she is 21 but it does hurt all of us. sometimes I feel like I hate him. I just sit here and think what do I do

Dr. Jenn October 13, 2008 at 7:28 pm

One more point I’d like to add, of course all of the emotional needs are important. But let’s not forget sexual needs. In general, men are more likely to cheat for sexual reasons than women are. And it’s often because their wives have stopped having sex with them. Granted it may be because the man needs to step up in other areas. But still, I often wonder what a bind this puts men in, their wives essentially saying: “I won’t have sex with you, but I expect you to be faithful!” Ouch, all the way around! So what needs to be done to revitalize the love and the sex- they go hand in hand if we want to prevent cheating.

Nick B. October 10, 2008 at 2:56 pm

Jenny, I agree, its more up to the man to step forward, try loving her, giving his love, his presence, his fun in love, to melt her first. Then the truth of the situation can reveal itself, whether the partnership has enough love and vitality to continue and grow.
A good woman can only respond and truly open up to love and fresh ‘Manly’ presence. And the man needs to just give his love with no ‘hooks’ (the result of hopping into bed and getting what he wants). That may happen, but to love is not to expect or demand an end result. True love is continuous.

Love Coach Rinatta September 14, 2008 at 12:05 pm

Jenny, you are right, it would be good for men to learn to do more for women, as some men in our culture still don’t quiet get what they need to do in order to have a good relationship. There are plenty of books on that topic. On the other hand, I would read any book on relationships as applying to both men and women – we are first human, than divided into genders and we are much more alike than different.

Jenny C. September 14, 2008 at 11:21 am

I too read the first few pages of the book, only to find complete disappointment. Why is it victimized for men. I as a woman feel the same exact way as the cheating man. Unappreciated, emotionally drained. Thing have changed amongst society, we need more publications that point out why men need to do more for a woman.

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