The Love Lint – Relationship Forum and Dating website in Nigeria › Forums › Infidelity Forum › 4 Signs You're About To Have An Affair…Plus How To Stop It
January 19, 2016 at 11:57 AM #3534
These days, stories of cheating are dime-a-dozen. And it’s not only Oscar winners, athletes, and political hotshots whose lives are being ripped apart by infidelity, it’s also people you know: your neighbors, that cute couple from your kid’s school, a coworker, a friend. You hear the same heartbroken refrain: “I didn’t see it coming.” Is it any wonder that even those of us in happy marriages are scared?
Renowned marriage and sex therapist Dr. Jane Greer says that our fears are not unfounded. “I’m seeing more and more couples — good, nice couples — who are struggling to put the pieces together after an affair,” she says. “And, in my experience, women and men are cheating in equal numbers.” During 20 years of counseling, Greer has identified signs that a relationship may be slipping toward infidelity. “I’ve seen hundreds of couples enter into what I call the Cheating Zone,” says Greer, the author of What About Me? Stop Selfishness From Ruining Your Relationship, out this fall. “The Cheating Zone is that place where one partner isn’t getting what they want from their relationship. His or her dashed hopes lead to anger and resentment and set the stage for the justification, ‘I have a right to make myself happy.'”
Make no mistake: Cheating is never the fault of the person who is cheated on. Stepping out on the person you vowed to stick with through thick and thin is the dishonorable path of least resistance. Still, barring the public examples of people who seem to be missing the gene for self-restraint (Tiger, Jesse), most cheaters are made, not born. “They’re acting out of deprivation and neediness,” Greer says.
Okay, so how do you stop an affair from happening? Better yet, how do you make sure neither of you is even tempted? You look out for Greer’s red flags. “You can address the underlying problems before someone cheats,” she says. Following her advice won’t just head off infidelity — it’ll keep your marriage happy, connected, and, yes, hot.
Warning sign: Your relationship is last on your to-do list
Was there anything more intriguing than your spouse when you two first met? In those early days, you wanted to know everything about him: what he was like as a baby, where he spent his summers as a teenager, and why exactly he thinks Journey is the best band of all time.
Chances are your days of blowing off girls’ night or a work deadline if it meant an extra hour with your man are long over, and that’s fine. A full adult life entails balancing multiple relationships and responsibilities. Still, if you’re more likely to spend your downtime on Facebook than face-to-face with your hubby — or, on the flip side, if he’s more interested in reading the business section than hearing news of your day — you need to reprioritize.
IF HE’S TOO LOW ON YOUR LIST: Figure out the ways you’re cutting your partner out, and fix your behavior. “It could even be a small tweak, like turning off your cell phone when you’re at dinner,” Greer says. In some cases, you might need to make a bigger change to save your marriage, like relocating to cut down your commute time or bowing out of your family’s annual beach vacation in favor of a just-you-and-the-kids adventure. When Madeleine’s* husband told her how unhappy he was, the California photographer decided to pull back on her work. She had been traveling nonstop, spending only a day or two at home between shoots — and in her absence, her husband attended parties and work functions with a female coworker.
Luckily, he communicated his feelings to Madeleine before anything happened with his coworker. “He came to me and said, ‘Things are developing, and it’s not right,'” Madeleine recalls. “He told me, ‘I don’t want a substitute wife; I want you. I need you to stop traveling so much.'” So she did. “It was a reminder that I couldn’t take our relationship for granted,” she says. “I wasn’t willing to sacrifice my personal life for work, so I started saying ‘no’ to jobs and made a point of making more time for us.”
IF YOU’RE TOO LOW ON HIS LIST: Tell your husband you feel neglected. “He may not be conscious that his actions make you feel ignored,” Greer says. “Offer him suggestions of how he can actively demonstrate more appreciation for you.” Agree to set aside time every night to check in and share your thoughts and experiences. “Often the biggest fix he can make is dropping everything to just listen to what you’re saying,” Greer says.
Warning sign: You don’t really argue anymore
You can’t always see eye-to-eye with your partner. The two of you are different people with different upbringings, life experiences, interests, and pet peeves, and every intimate relationship will have its moments of conflict. So when one of you just goes limp, agreeing on what to eat for dinner, how to spend your weekends, which couch to buy, it could be a surprising sign of trouble.
“The partner who has stopped arguing has thrown his hands up and is starting to check out,” Greer says. “And it’s easier to justify getting your needs met elsewhere if you feel like your perspective is not being acknowledged and that nothing in the relationship is going to change.” In order to get your marriage back on track, you need to jump-start the dialogue in your household, even if it means revisiting tiresome or painful discussions.
IF HE’S COMPLETELY GIVEN UP: Has your husband reached that ‘Whatever you say, dear’ phase? When that happens, you need to acknowledge that you haven’t been listening to his point of view. At first, Celeste, a client of Greer’s from New York, was thrilled that her husband had stopped putting up a fight when she wanted them to spend every Sunday with her mother. “He used to present me with a list of alternative plans, like ‘Let’s see a movie,’ or ‘Let’s go on a bike ride,’ but we always ended up at my mom’s.” But when the couple started seeing a therapist, Celeste learned that his newfound agreeability was just a cover for the resentment he felt. “He told me that he had given up trying to be heard,” she says, “that he was angry and reconsidering our future.” Greer’s advice for Celeste: Start a conversation by telling your guy you want to find a compromise you can both live with. For example, she could suggest they spend every other Sunday with her mother and that her husband could choose their activities on alternating weekends. “Don’t avoid the flare-ups,” Greer says. “You’re not always going to be able to find a tidy solution to your disagreements, but you can always demonstrate a willingness to make the relationship work for both of you.”
IF YOU’VE COMPLETELY GIVEN UP: You should never completely resign yourself to the idea that nothing is going to change. “By shutting down and being inactive, you are as much to blame as he is for the relationship imploding,” Greer says. You need to take immediate action. “Tell your partner you want to talk to a counselor to help you two figure out how your needs can be met in your marriage. Frame it positively. Say, ‘I don’t want to grow further apart.'”
*Names have been changed.
Warning sign: You two aren’t having sex
This one seems like a “duh,” but Greer says many women are very skilled at denying its significance. After all, there are plenty of reasons you might not be getting it on, including mismatched libidos, conflicting work schedules, and extended family drama. In fact, most long-term relationships suffer from periods of diminished sexual passion — fatigue and the daily grind can be mood-killers. “Having sex once a month isn’t necessarily a problem,” Greer says, “unless one of you is feeling resentful.” If you are just flat-out turned off by the idea of sleeping with your husband — or if you sense he feels that way — you need to do some deep soul-searching to find out why. Sex is a vital part of a healthy, loving relationship, and it’s important to devote time and energy to intimacy.
Pamela, a mom in Pennsylvania, knew that her sex drive wasn’t as strong as her husband’s, but she didn’t know what to do about it. “After we had kids, my libido dropped,” she says. “For a long time, he was always the initiator, but then about a year ago he became less aggressive.” Eventually, Pamela learned her husband was having an affair with a woman he met at work. Today, the couple is struggling to save their 20-year marriage. “In our sessions with a therapist, he said that he felt like I didn’t love and value him. He wanted to feel that way again and was looking to regain the part of our relationship that had been lost.”
IF YOU’RE NOT HOT FOR HIM: The fact that you’re rarely interested in sex could be a sign that you’re too caught up with your responsibilities as mom/boss/daughter to feel sexual and desirable. “It’s hard to be passionate with your partner if you’re not passionate yourself,” Greer says. “Don’t lose sight of the things that give you pleasure.” Carve out time for activities that make you feel good about yourself, like going for a run or listening to live music with friends. “Coming home full of positive energy could help reawaken your sex life,” Greer says.
IF HE’S NOT HOT FOR YOU: First step: Initiate sex — don’t wait for your husband to reach for you. Everyone wants to feel wanted, and often that alone can be enough to spark the flames of your marriage. If making the first move goes over well, schedule a weekly sex date. “You once had the luxury of having sex whenever you were overwhelmed by passion, but that’s not how it works once kids and other responsibilities enter the picture,” Greer says. “Designating time for sex sends the message that you desire each other and carves out a space where other responsibilities disappear for a while.” Reestablishing a regular sex life goes a long way toward making both of you feel fulfilled in the here and now.
Warning sign: You’ve stopped indulging each other’s fantasies
In Greer’s experience, an individual who feels like his or her partner is unwilling to please sexually feels fundamentally deprived and rejected. “That can lead to justifying seeking satisfaction elsewhere,” she says.
About four years into the relationship with her ex-fiancé, Rachel started to feel like he just wasn’t into her bedroom fantasies. “Whenever I asked him to be more aggressive, to hold me more firmly or even spank me a little, he said no and told me I was twisted and needed help,” she says. “After a couple of years, I told him that making me feel bad about my desires — which, by the way, are perfectly normal — tempted me to find a lover who would fulfill them. That’s when we knew it was the end.” The trick, says Greer, is not waiting years to address this sexual gripe.
IF YOU’RE FEELING REJECTED: Talk to your husband. Tell him that unless your fantasy is truly repugnant to him, you’d like for him to try it once. “Being willing to do something purely for your partner’s pleasure is what matters here,” Greer says. “As long as he shows he’s willing to please you, he should be allowed to say, ‘I don’t like that’ without you taking it as a personal rejection.”
IF HE’S FEELING REJECTED: Hey, maybe wearing four-inch heels to bed feels bizarre to you, but it’s a small sacrifice to make if your husband perceives it as a loving gesture that communicates your desire to make him happy. “You don’t have to do things that way every time — or even ever again,” Greer says. Use his fantasy as a launching pad and come up with racy scenarios that work for both of you. And if he thinks you look extra-hot in stilettos and little else, take him at his word and try strutting your stuff.
Culled from http://www.redbookmag.com/love-sex/relationships/advice/a6359/stop-cheating/
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