5 tips to AFFAIRPROOF your mar­riage

Strength­en­ing your re­la­tion­ship starts with hav­ing the right ap­proach

Women's Weekly (Malaysia) - - Relationship - W

While no one sets out to cheat, sadly, it seems to hap­pen all too of­ten. “We es­ti­mate that around 40 to 50 per cent of peo­ple will end up cheat­ing in a long-term re­la­tion­ship,” says re­la­tion­ship ex­pert Dr Gabrielle Mor­ris­sey. This is de­spite most cou­ples hav­ing the very best of in­ten­tions to re­main faith­ful to each other.

“Be­ing proac­tive in deal­ing with com­mon re­la­tion­ship hur­dles that cause peo­ple to stray is healthy be­cause not only can it af­fair-proof your mar­riage, it can ac­tu­ally strengthen your union.”

Talk It Out

We have all been there: You come home from work to find a sink full of dishes that were not there when you left, or dis­cover a pile of dirty clothes right next to the wash­ing bas­ket.

While these day-to-day an­noy­ances might seem too petty to dis­cuss, it is im­por­tant that you sort them out sooner rather than later.

“Just like a phys­i­cal ail­ment, if you ig­nore the lit­tle things, they can de­velop into some­thing big­ger and more se­ri­ous," says Dr Mor­ris­sey. "The un­der­ly­ing is­sue – which could be that you feel un­ap­pre­ci­ated – will not just re­solve it­self.”

De­fine Monogamy

De­cid­ing what both you and your part­ner qual­ify as cheat­ing is as im­por­tant as choos­ing where you want to live or which re­li­gion you are in­clined to prac­tise.

“You need to know what each other’s deal-break­ers are,” says Dr Mor­ris­sey.

While this is some­thing that should have been dis­cussed at the start of your re­la­tion­ship, it is never too late to bring it up. In fact, mod­ern life makes it even more vi­tal to be frank about this most im­por­tant rule of your re­la­tion­ship.

“How you de­fine cheat­ing needs to be ex­plicit and not as­sumed – and that is largely thanks to the in­ter­net, where peo­ple can have a vir­tual re­la­tion­ship without their part­ner ever sus­pect­ing a thing,” she says.

For ex­am­ple, what you think is an en­tirely harm­less email con­ver­sa­tion could be per­ceived as dan­ger­ously flirty by your part­ner.

Be Trans­par­ent

Now that you know what is the deal-breaker for your part­ner, be aware of this in your daily life.

“The rule of thumb is, ev­ery­thing you do when your spouse is not around should be some­thing you would be com­fort­able do­ing if they were present,” Dr Mor­ris­sey ad­vises.

“For ex­am­ple, if you are chat­ting with your co-worker at a pub, or danc­ing with an­other guy at a salsa class, con­sider whether your part­ner would be com­fort­able with your be­hav­iour if they were a fly on the wall.

“If the an­swer is no, then you need to re­move your­self from that sit­u­a­tion.”

Pri­ori­tise Each Other

At the be­gin­ning of a re­la­tion­ship, we long to spend ev­ery minute to­gether and sim­ply can­not get enough of each other. But as the years roll on and work, kids (then grand­kids) ap­pear on the scene and spend­ing time with your part­ner can tend to take a back­seat.

“Many cou­ples who end up seek­ing help for their strug­gling mar­riage re­veal that they

ac­tu­ally spend very lit­tle time with one an­other,” Dr Mor­ris­sey says. “Talk­ing about any­thing mean­ing­ful or do­ing any­thing fun is so far down their pri­or­ity list that their part­ner is of­ten left feel­ing ne­glected, which is why they might try to find at­ten­tion else­where.”

Ac­knowl­edg­ing that there is a lack of time spent to­gether is an im­por­tant first step. Next, you need to repri­ori­tise things in your life.

“Re­mem­ber those early days of courtship. Try mak­ing each other your pri­mary source of en­ter­tain­ment, sup­port and fun again, as you once did,” Dr Mor­ris­sey sug­gests.

Fall In Love Again

After years of be­ing to­gether, your mar­riage can be­gin to feel more based on com­pan­ion­ship that the big heady rushes of love.

“One of the most com­mon rea­sons peo­ple say they cheat on their mar­riage is be­cause their needs are not be­ing fulfilled in an in­ti­mate sense,” Dr Mor­ris­sey says.

“It might be daunt­ing to try to reignite the spark after a long lull, but in my ex­pe­ri­ence, in­ti­macy builds again very quickly among cou­ples who have been to­gether for a long time.”

That does not mean sud­denly jump­ing into bed with your part­ner sev­eral times a week.

“For cou­ples who have not had sex for a long time, it helps to re­move the pres­sure to talk about why you have not had reg­u­lar in­ter­course by fo­cus­ing on rekin­dling your de­sire for one an­other in­stead,” says Dr Mor­ris­sey.

Go for a walk, hold hands, try a new hobby to­gether, and slowly re­build that close­ness that makes you pre­fer each other’s com­pany over any­one else’s.

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