The threat of infidelity is one of the biggest fears facing many married people today. We fear the betrayal, the rejection we’ll feel and the task of trying to rebuild a trust that may be irrevocably broken. But is it possible to make your marriage affair-proof?
This weekend, Howard J. Markman, PhD, Professor of Psychology of the University of Denver and the Co-Director of the Center for Marital and Family Studies, weighs in on the subject in his post, “David Petraeus Affair: Could This Happen to You?”
The article appears on the Huffington post website and takes a look at the David Petraeusur incident and whether or not you can actually make your marriage affair-proof.
Dr. Markman says that a recent poll on infidelity might make many people feel relieved.
The best available data (to my knowledge) is that about 25 percent of men and 15 percent of women engage in an affair during the course of their marriage. While most of my colleagues that I talk to in the couples therapy and research field view these rates as high, many readers may breathe a sigh of relief, perhaps saying to themselves ‘the risk of infidelity in my relationship is lower than I thought’.”
But should married couples fearing the possibility of a spouse’s affair feel more relaxed? Is there something they can do to keep infidelity from ruining their marriages?
The answer is that while you and your partner can not completely affair proof your marriage, you can do things alone and together to decrease the risk of EMI (extra-marital infidelity). Here are three research, theory and clinically based recommendations:”
1. Recognize that an affair is a decision.
Dr. Markman asserts that while a cheating spouse may make excuses, a decision is made when a married person has an affair, even if it doesn’t feel like a decision at the time. He cautions people considering an affair to remember that this could be one of the most important decisions they will ever make.
2. Protect your commitment.
Markman advises couples to take a proactive stand to protect the commitment they’ve made to each other. This can include avoiding situations that may become tempting and calling home when out of town on business.
3. Recognize and act on the warning signs.
If your partner starts becoming secretive, seems to be working late more often or is telling lies, ignoring these signals is not the answer. Talk to your spouse and seek counseling if necessary, while there is still time to intervene.
No marriage can be completely affair-proof, but these steps have been shown to be effective ones against infidelity in marriage. In any event, following them can only strengthen your marriage, making it less likely that you’ll have to deal with infidelity.