Nip Infidelity in the Bud

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Think cheating is something that can never happen to your relationship?

Think again.

Statistics from the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy suggest that 15% of wives and 25% of husbands have had heart without losing your mind.

“If they are going through changes and you are fairly certain no one else is involved, this is an opportunity,” he says. “Join in and spice up your relationship.”

Red Flag No. 3: Unconstructive Criticism

“If your partner says, ‘You need to see a psychiatrist,’ ‘You need help,’ ‘Get a job,’ ‘Lose weight,’ or ‘Go to the gym,’ and is constantly critical, it’s all part of the same theme — which is that there is something wrong with you,” points out Elizabeth Landers of Gross Pointe, Mich., co-author of THE SCRIPT: The 100% Absolutely Predictable Things Men Do When They Cheat.

“Unconsciously, they are setting it up to say their partner was nuts and wouldn’t even go for help.” “Another tip-off is when he or she starts picking fights about something you are good at, so you fight back and then he or she calls you argumentative,” she says. “These things happen 100% of the time.”

Marriage Saving Solution: Listen and Learn

“If a man says ‘I have grown and you haven’t,’ the natural reaction is that he is being critical and insulting. But talking about feelings is good,” she says. “Encourage him to talk more because he will feel that you understand him,” Landers says. Use a counterintuitive approach, she advises. “If a man says to his wife, ‘Those two women are attractive’, her natural reaction is to say, ‘I don’t want to hear it,’ but encourage him so he will feel that he can talk to you about anything and that can keep him to words — not action.”

Red Flag No. 4: the Tony Soprano-Style Guilt Gift

On HBO’s The Sopranos, mobster Tony Soprano often presents his doting wife with lavish jewels so she will look the other way about his extramarital activities. “Sometimes it’s a guilty, look-the-other-way gift or a see-I-am-really-a-good guy-even-if-I-leave-you gift,” Landers says. “It could be a diamond bracelet, a cashmere sweater, a new car. Or if you are former President Bill Clinton, it could be the state of New York,” she says, referring to Clinton’s now notorious philandering and his wife Hillary Clinton’s ascension to New York’s senator. “It may seem normal to think, ‘He’s obviously not cheating; he just gave me this gorgeous bracelet’ — but don’t be fooled,” she says.

Marriage Saving Solution: Nip It in the Bud

Don’t turn the other cheek, she says. “It can be so frightful if it’s true that it is difficult to accept [potential shoulder at your husband’s company holiday party where everyone used to be friendly, it’s a sign,” Landers says. “His colleagues either know about the affair and figure you are on the way out, so why be nice? Or your partner has been making critical comments about you so they think you are no good.”

Marriage Saving Solution: Address It Head-on

“Don’t make excuses,” she says. “Bring it up and open the lines of communication as soon as you notice anything unusual,” she says. “When your doctor prescribes pain relationships outside of the marriage,” he says. For example, pre-emptively discuss how much you will open up to people outside of the relationship as a way to safeguard against affairs down the road, he suggests.

But remember that nothing is fail-safe, Van Epp says. Many people who stray do so from a relatively good relationship.

Praver adds that affairs don’t necessarily mean a marriage is over. “An affair can bring about change,” she says. “A partner may need more companionship; they often don’t have affairs just for sex.”