Affair Proof Your Relationship
Many marriages end up in divorce when one couple is caught having an affair. Security and trust are easily destroyed. Thankfully, couples who decide to stay and go through counseling regain that sense of security and trust again. To protect your marriage or relationship and have a happy one, you need to make it affair-proof.
Here are a few ways to affair proof your relationship:
1. Keep your Insecurities and Jealousy Under Wrap
When it comes to relationships, individuals often come into relationships with their own personal insecurities and things that may set off the jealousy alarm. Projecting personal insecurities on your partner can cause distance, leading to a snowball of unhelpful thinking and behaviors that can impact the relationship. Attending to your own personal insecurities by doing things like engaging in self-reflection, journaling, and attending individual therapy to learn how to work through these insecurities can all be helpful tools. Keeping insecurity and jealousy under wrap leaves space for healthy communication, growth, and deeper connection with your partner.
2. See Each Other as Family
Your spouse is your nuclear family. Healthy families always operate in the best interest of their loved ones and the same should be applied to the relationship with your partner. Respect, love, and trust are some of the values that many families attain and should continue to apply to the relationship with your partner.
3. Maintain Open Dialogue About Sex
It is important for couples to express their needs both outside the bedroom and inside the bedroom. This could be all the way down to specifics, frequency, what you like, what works for you, what does not, etc. Once you and your partner on the same page about sex, understand each other’s needs, and continue to keep an open dialogue, intimacy will continue to build.
4. Talk About Fidelity and What it Means to you
Ensure that you talk to your partner about fidelity, how important it is to you, and how it would affect you and the marriage if there is ever a betrayal. Your partner might not know how important it is to you or what your reactions towards it might be. It is more difficult to cheat when there is a continuous discussion about faithfulness and your feelings towards it.
5. Keep your Sex Life Active and Exciting
Feeling neglected, tolerated or unwanted can be a big push into someone else’s bed. Don’t allow your sex life to sink gradually and feel there won’t be any consequence. Show your partner that you desire him/her by accepting advances and being playful.
6. Ensure That your Relationship is Intimate
Sometimes, affairs happen because someone is feeling disconnected or angry. Use that passion to turn towards your partner instead of away by sharing intimate thoughts and feelings.
7. Keep Things Romantic
Don’t let your partners daydream about a candlelight dinner or a trip to Paris with someone else because they know you won’t do it. Say sweet things like “I love you,” “I miss you,” “I am so fortunate because I have you.” Yes! All these mushy things don’t go out of style.
8. Spend Time Together
When couples stay with each other for a long time, they tend to get too busy and have little time for each other. Spending too much time with friends instead of your spouse can make it easy for someone else to step in. If you feel the connection between you and your spouse is wearing off, it is time to change things quickly.
9. Stay Away From Temptation
You are always going to meet someone more attractive than your spouse; it may be a neighbor, co-worker, high school sweetheart. Avoid that person or any comprising situation that might lead you into temptation.
I have been able to work with many couples to help them identify strengths in their relationships and areas of improvement based off the needs of each couple. Couples counseling can be a great way to help explore specific needs of each partner so nothing goes unmet and you and your partner can have a safe space to learn ways to deepen intimacy and connection to affair proof your relationship
So there has been an affair in your relationship.. Is it possible to rebuild trust after there has been an affair in the relationship? Yes.
Regaining trust in a relationship can be challenging but it is not impossible. The unfaithful partner must be willing to demonstrate their trust through actions and not just words. Dr. John Gottman emphasizes that trust is an action rather than a belief.
First off, couples should actively decide whether or not to end the relationship after an affair. Both partners should talk about their feelings without blame, judgement, or criticism. Marriage counseling can be a great place to explore these steps and learn healthy ways to communicate with your partner. I have had a lot of success working with couples after they have experienced an affair and I have helped couples reignite their passion for each other and their marriage.
Utilizing Atone, Attune, and Attach to rebuild trust
Gottman’s Trust Revival Method is a process that can be utilized to help couples recover from infidelity. This approach has been successful in my work helping couples heal after an affair.
This phase allows for the partner to express remorse and gain an understanding of feelings impacted by the affair. This is the first stage where trust begins to rebuild.
- Express genuine remorse for actions
- Ensure contact has been cut off with the other relationship
- Taking continuous action to cease all harmful or tempting behavior
- Understand the impact and hurt caused by the affair
- Express and validate feelings
This phase is where couples can focus on rebuilding their relationship, move forward with forgiveness, and utilize non-defensiveness and nonjudgmental listening to explore behaviors in the relationship. In this phase we look at areas where the relationship was not meeting needs and fine tune adjustments accordingly. The steps of attunement are as follows:
A – Awareness of your partner’s negative emotion
T – Turing toward your partner
T – Tolerance
U – Understanding
N – Non-defensive responding
E – Empathy
The third phase focuses on rebuilding connect and sexual intimacy. It is no surprise that the betrayed partner may find it difficult to build genuine sexual intimacy after the affair. Physical intimacy is vital and is the main goal of the attachment phase.
- The ability to attune must reach the bedroom, slowly
- Intimacy is vital in a relationship and a necessary component for the relationship to start again.
Many couples wait too long to mend their wounds in the relationship. Having a couple’s counselor can help guide the healing process and help you and your partner find ways to rebuild, reconnect, and find that spark once again. Affair recovery is a long, uncomfortable, and challenging road to take, but with help from a couple’s counselor and committed action between both parties, that journey will be well worth it.