Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue


9 Ways to Affair-Proof Your Marriage

posted by Beyond Blue

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According to Peggy Vaugn, the author of “The Monogamy Myth” and the website “Dear Peggy.com,” 60 percent of men and 40 percent of women will have an affair at some point in their marriage. In other words, the person who stays monogamous within her marriage is among a growing minority.

Twelve years into my marriage, I can appreciate that statistic. Eric and I are getting to the hard part, where the pressing responsibilities of raising kids and growing two careers could easily blow apart the vows we recited on our wedding day. We look around and recognize the dark circles caused by sleep deprivation on many friends’ faces, the overwhelmed expressions that we wear much of the time.

It’s that time when any escape or relief from a messy house and loud kids sounds all too enticing, when others flock to the arms of another man or woman to experience a sense of excitement and mystery again, an attempt to go back to the days of perfume and lingerie. This is the season of marriage in which both sets of our parents called it quits.

Because I want my marriage to stay on the happy side of the percentage–and knowing my susceptibility toward addiction and all things mood altering–I’ve been reading up on affairs: why they happen, and what you can to do prevent one in your own marriage.

Here are the suggestions I arrived at, both from research and from asking a lot of nosy questions to friends, friends of friends, and the cousins and nephews of those friends.

1. Nurture safe friendships.

This is the most important affair-preventer in my life. No marriage can give you everything. A husband is going to have interests that his wife will never care about like fishing, hunting, golfing. So he’s less likely to stray if he can find some good guy buddies with whom to fish, hunt, and golf.

Early on in our relationship, I realized that Eric was never going to be able to recite the “Hail Mary” or the “Our Father,” or be able to tell them apart. He’ll never get excited about faith or depend on it like I do. So I feed my spiritual hunger by having coffee with my religious women friends, and with my safe male friends: Deacon More, Fr. Joe, and ex-priest Mike Leach.

2. Recognize the drug.

Depressives and addicts are especially prone to affairs because of the head rush that happens with infatuation. The spike in dopamine and norepinephrine we experience upon connecting with someone fools us into thinking that the sexy man or attractive woman at the bar holds the key to our nirvana and the end to our problems. Just like, say, the high from cocaine. Explains Neely Tucker of the “Washington Post”:

These chemicals are natural stimulants. You fall in love, a growing amount of research shows, and these chemicals and their cousins start pole-dancing around the neurons of your brain, hopping around the limbic system, setting off craving, obsessive thoughts, focused attention, the desire to commit possibly immoral acts with your beloved while at a stoplight in the 2100 block of K Street during lunch hour, and so on.

Tucker then quotes Helen Fisher, an anthropologist at Rutgers University and author of “Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love.” Says Fisher:

Love is a drug. The ventral tegmental area is a clump of cells that make dopamine, a natural stimulant, and sends it out to many brain regions [when one is in love]. …It’s the same region affected when you feel the rush of cocaine.

3. Keep dating.

You’re thinking: “Puh…lese. How many Good Housekeeping articles have you read lately? Next you’ll tell us the key to a happy marriage is found in de-cluttering the home together, expounding on a joyful memory from the past each time you empty a drawer.” No I won’t. But visiting with your spouse with some regularity–just the two of you and no one else–my therapist regularly tells me, reaps some very definite rewards in a marriage. Because by doing so you learn how to TALK to each other. And when the kids are studying for exams at Harvard (hey, I can dream), you will have to TALK a lot, with no teenager with attitude in the middle of the kitchen distracting the two of you.

In her book, “Mating in Captivity: Reconciling the Erotic and the Domestic,” Esther Perel argues that there has to be enough “otherness” or separateness in a marriage to keep both partners interested and passionate. Too much merging together, and there is nothing to discover, she says. Perel urges a client to imagine her spouse as if she has just met him, to put him into that mysterious category again. This is really bloody hard when you got a little one screaming, “Wipe me!” from the bathroom. However, when you can pull it off, I find her theory very effective. One way I let Eric become sexy again in my own mind is to walk by the houses he has designed and observe them not as the wife of the architect she wanted home three hours ago, but as a woman fascinated by this man’s skill.

Here are a few rules for date night:

* No kid talk
* No eavesdropping
* No fighting
* No flirting (with other people)
* No whining or crying
* No flatulence or incontinence
* No technology (cellphones, BlackBerries, iPhones, or iPods)
* No interrupting
* No belching, spitting, or vomiting
* No heavy boozing or pot-smoking
* No blogging about it
* No Christmas sweaters, polyester dresses, or ratty underwear

4. Pray together.

I know how those two words sound, especially together: just like the instructions of a couple leading a Pre-Cana marriage preparation program who told the engaged couples to “hold hands while they fight.” Yeah right. Thanks for the advice.

And, as I said in suggestion number one, Eric isn’t all that jazzed up by religion. So where am I going here?

I’ve had this conversation over and over again in our house: we need to go to church as a family. But last September it stuck because David is now in Kindergarten at St. Mary’s, and the teachers STRONGLY ENCOURAGE families to attend Mass together. As they should. I want to set a good example for our son. I also want him to see his dad sitting with me on the pew. And I do think going to church together gives me extra insurance that all of us are sticking together, even if I’m outside half the time with Katherine screaming “Jesus is poopy!”

I can’t help but think there is some truth to what my high school teacher said about the braid of a marriage: you need God as that third strand to create the beautiful bond between a man and a woman. And that Fr. Peyton really knew what he was talking about when he coined the phrase, “a family that prays together stays together.”

5. Find a creative outlet.

People get lured into emotional and physical affairs because the infatuation provides an exciting, stimulating place where they are energized. And it’s a hell of a lot easier than a lasting marriage. I remember the marriage advice of an ex-priest friend to me awhile back: “There’s a lot to be said for a one-night stand.” He was trying to tell me that when the real relationship gets rough, don’t be fooled into thinking a night of savage sex with a guy you hardly know is what you need.

So you have to find other sources of stimulation and excitement, like writing a blog! I can’t wait to log onto the Internet each day to see what all of my dear Beyond Blue readers have to say. When I get overwhelmed by the domestic chaos of our lives right now, Beyond Blue provides me that outlet where I can create something new, where I can run away, however temporarily, from the stress.

“The desire to give oneself completely and purposefully pursues us always, and has its part in pushing us into more and more distractions, illusory love affairs, or the haven of hospitals and doctors’ offices,” writes Anne Morrow Lindbergh in “Gift From the Sea.” In order to not be torn into pieces by all of life’s distraction–and affairs fit into this category–Lindbergh urges women (and I add men) to seek a creative outlet, something of her own, in which to pour that energy that could so quickly shatter her integrity.

6. Hang out with happy couples.

According to the newest study on obesity, the risk for obesity increased 171 percent among persons with obese friends. The risk only increased 37 percent for persons with an obese spouse, and 40 percent for folks with obese siblings.

That says to me that peer pressure never really goes away, and that your friends influence you more than you think. So if you’re hanging with a bunch of guys (or girls) that see nothing wrong with sleeping around, you are much more likely to do it yourself.

The good news is that the opposite is also true. If you have a set of friends committed to their marriages, you will be less likely to cheat on your spouse. This also means going to happy couples–not cheating couples–for advice. Whenever I need an insight or two regarding my marriage, I go to Mike Leach, my foster dad, who has the happiest marriage of any man I’ve seen (remember, he is an ex-priest).

7. Learn how to fight.

I’m not going to tell you to hold hands, like that woman at the Pre-Cana session. But this good advice did actually come from the couple who facilitated Eric’s and my Pre-Cana (marriage preparation) obligation. They told us to wait before saying something really ugly, and make sure you weren’t tired or hungry, or in a stressful situation.

I’m not saying that you can’t confront your spouse if you’re tired, hungry, or stressed, because then we’d live in a silent world. BUT it’s a good idea to recognize situations that tend to accelerate arguments. For Eric and I that’s two places: in the car (because I’m a nervous passenger, and so is he), and on a sailboat (where we argue about which one of us is a more capable skipper and can better read the wind). Thus, we have given up sailing. Since, you know, we do need to drive places.

8. Be nice and listen.

“Duh,” you’re saying to yourself. But think about it. This is the hardest part about marriage. Listening. Keeping your mouth closed when the other guy is talking. And then, at the appropriate time, saying something like “I’m so sorry you’re feeling that way” as you rub his back, instead of “If you would have done it this way, then you could have prevented that, Butthead.”

In my unofficial study–the feedback I received from the men and women I interrogated about their affairs–the number one reason for pursuing it was this: “She listened to me. I mattered to him.”

9. Remember these tools.

Here are some tools offered to me by those healing from extramarital affairs, insight to keep in mind when you feel that familiar head rush and are tempted to abandon logic for the thrill:

• Don’t go there: meaning don’t put yourself in a threatening situation. Skip the conference in Hawaii with the colleague that flirts with you. If you absolutely have to go, avoid all opportunities to be alone with him.

• You’ve got mail: when you don’t know if your e-mail crosses the line into appropriate language, send it to yourself first. Read it again, and ask yourself: would I feel comfortable showing this to my husband?

• Dress with intentions: one woman told me that she saved her lingerie for her husband, and wore the ratty old underwear to the high-school reunion where she’d see a flame from the past. Remember that scene from “Bridge Jones Diary,” where she wears the ugly underwear on purpose to keep her from doing something stupid?

• Talk about your spouse: a guy friend told me that whenever he is alone with a woman he finds attractive and things are getting uncomfortable, he’ll start talking about his wife–what her hobbies are, and how much he loves her. It immediately kills the mood. Along this line, take pictures of your spouse and family. If there is an awkward silence, get the photos out.



  • Anonymous

    Thank you, Therese, for all of these great suggestions. My children went to a parochial grade school when they were young. Although I am more spiritual than religious, I always felt that it was important that I be involved with my husband and my children in the church, since it meant so much to my husband.

  • Anonymous

    to lose the love of a spouse and family is one of the worst kinds of pains imaginable. to live life for one minute in the loving bosom of a family is a gift beyond compare. if you can hold onto it, do. i will thank god for that minute every day of my life.

  • ChatteringMind

    David Deida writes the best books on love, marriage, spirituality and totally hot sex. Here’s a link to his website.
    http://www.deida.info/books-and-audio-david-deida

  • therapydoc

    Boy, I wish it was that simple.

  • Margaret Balyeat

    The frightening thing to me in terms of your list, therese, is tht I DID all of those things while married; and THOUGHT my ex also did them (He got the last laugh on that one!) The best advice I can give after having lived through it is not to ignore (intentionally or not) the red flags that pop up during your courtship. I can look back and see several of them that I chose not to see at the time, things which would have saved me a lot of heartache had I been open to recognizing them when the first occured.Contrary to what we may be tempted to believe, the depth or special nature of our love for someone else WON’T change old behaviors or magically heal imperfections. I honestly remember believing that my ex cheated on his first wife because she was such a “cld” individual, that my ability to love him the way he “needed to be loved” wouldprevent that from happening in OUR marriage. WRONG That should have been a HUGE red flag to me, yet I chose (subconsciously) to believe that my “special brand of love” was all he needed to be fulfilled and keep him happy at home. While it was /is true that I was/am a warmer kind of person than his first wife, it WASN’T enough. There were other flags I “choose’ not to see as well, many of which i’ve only just recognized as I’ve been turning the story of our courtship and marriage into a book over the past year or so. I’ll be writing and then have an “AHA moment that leaves me feeling totally stupid for not identifying it before it was too late to save myself the heartache of being the cuckold.

  • Anonymous

    I think for a marriage to be successful, like you said, it has to be intentional. Everyday. I thank you for bringing up these suggestions and reminding us all it takes intention.

  • Janet

    This goes out to BOY I WISH IT WERE THAT SIMPLE…..take a long look at it….it is that SIMPLE. ONCE A CHEATER ALWAYS A CHEATER, the truest of all words, if they do it once they will do it again. There is no cure for that it is something unless admitted by themselves as a problem and dealt with PROFESSIONALY, NOT BY YOUR LOVE….they don’t stop it. Also I have a question did he cheat with you? If that is the answer then Karma has a CRUEL SENSE of RE-PAYING people back. My marriage isn’t perfect at all we have our isses some more major then others. I can not 100% say my husband or I wouldn’t ever cheat I would in a dream world if I made that comment. SUCH IS LIFE, people do things, but sometimes if you WORK at it then it may not happen. Marriage and life truly is that simple really. I believe that people choose to make it hard people ALLOW themselves to make things more difficult then actually are. First step never go with a married man/woman. Second if you know a man/woman has cheated in the past, chances are they are going to do it again. THIRD MOST IM PORTANT RULE OF LIFE…..remember we are all human and you have no say on what happens just put your one foot ahead of the other and take a LEAP OF FAITH. Life always has its ways of working things into where and how they are meant to be! I hope I never experience for myself or my husband an affair, I think about it but I try not to worry about it. I have no control over anyone else in this world on myself and I will try my best to not let that happen……just some thoughts……take care and I wish you all the best ….and always LIVE LIFE!!!

  • Tim

    This is a saying we have in our home and I keep it in a place where it will be seen every day. There is reason for divorce in every marrage over 1 week old the trick is to find and keep finding reasons to stay married. There is a book called the five love languages this was a great read, if you want to find out more about your self and your partner and why the love feeling fades.

  • samantha

    I believe that no matter how strong ones love is to another if someone want to cheat they will especially knowing they will get away with it especially a man, the real reaSons we will never understand i do know men/women who dont cheat is becouse of being scared of getting caught so it is especially important that u discuss with ur wife/husband how theres NO exception if you cheat its over if it was that important to hurt me then its that important for me to move on i refuse to sit here and allow someone to cheat on me IM TO GOOD OF A WOMEN i love my husband that much i would never put myself in that predicament where im attracted to some one or vice versa just the thougt of hurting him is enough for me not to ever cheat and lets not forget how S.T.D and H.I.V are on the rise

  • TJN

    Romantic love is merely an addiction; producing a love that is blind. True love expects nothing. Love, without our insistence, deals or bargaining is rare. And so, love is a school for the heart & soul, where we painfully learn to drop our ego, practice patience, tolerance, forgiveness–and learn to live in the present moment. Doesn’t sound very romantic, does it? Yet, joy can be found here.

  • Billie

    I beleive that if you are not happy together, in any relationship, you should evaluate the situation in it’s entirety. That is, there should be communication between two people about the problems in the marriage/relationship and find solutions that both can live up to. However, there are always limits to how much a person change or grow. I don’t like the saying that people never change, that is rediculous as we witness change everyday in our own lives, it seems to be an excuse people use when they don’t want to admit that it takes two to make it work. In my personal experience, some of us can see when there has been exceptional growth but at the time, it is just not enough for either party. Affairs are not the answer as in this or any situation, an individual needs time to reflect and find their new purpose in life if it is not to be a wife or husband any longer. Bringing another person into the mix will only complicate matters and drive the confused, lost person to even more self destructive behaviors. Cheating on a spouse is the result of looking to fulfill something that is missing in your life. That void should be filled with understanding your purpose here on earth. Perhaps you will devote more time to your children if you have any or other family members and friends who appreciate your company. There was life before a spouse and there can be life after if the relationship can not be saved as a marriage. Maybe your role to eachother needs to change into friendship. Good luck to anyone who has to battle with this mental and emotional struggle and know that everyone has weaknesses and if you do find yourself making a mistake, don’t throw your life away in despair, there is always time to start over.

  • Mike

    Marriage is hard work. Mine lasted for 17 years. Through that time I cheated on my wife 4 or 5 times, once with an old high school flame. (Make that twice because I did it around year 5 into the marriage and then again at the end – which really DID end that marriage.) I admit to taking the moral low ground while my ex gets to say she did nothing wrong, but wow is that a loaded statement. Affairs are marriage killers, for sure. I like the advice that this woman gives when she says to ‘pay attention’ to your man. That she looks at his archictectual designs and realizes his talent is a hugely important part of making a man stay focused on you. Continue to show him that he is the ‘big man on campus’ and you are impressed with all his talents. Admiration for your spouse goes a long way towards giving him the self esteem and security he needs to turn down opportunities presented by other women who do find him to be an ‘amazing’ person.

  • Trisha White

    Where were you when i was going through this stuff. I didn’t like to watch sport. So my husband found someone who did. So they had an affair and They had a baby together. But, i kept the faith an GOD. And i forgave him. But, now the trust is gone. But, I love him dearly. But, it’s been 9 years since that happen. But, now the trust is back. But, now i do the thing he like to do. But, sometimes it hard. Because,i find my husband still looking at other women. So, I don’t no if he is attractive to other women. Or is that how man do all the time. I just want to do more about my marriage. We never get time to have a date together. Because, my 13 yrs old Son will not give us the space. He always have to be there. He’s always on my heal. He will not let me breathe. I move he move. So, I just bare with the troubles. And i just pray to GOD that he keep my marriage STRONG. Because, i love my husband. ANd i also believe in my vows.

  • darleen

    This was a very good article and so true. I just wanted to let you know that there is life after an affair. I had been married about 17 years and my husband was an irresponsible drinker and did not want to do anything but drinka nd work on cars. Oh yes, he did the ocassional load of clothes and there were other things, but not the important things that I felt needed done. We had lost our home several years before and I found that I would change locations every year thinking this would change things and he would get better. The year before I finally said enough, I met a man who said all the right things and just knew how to treat a women (he was a woman’s man) and I knew I was not the only one, but I didn’t care. I had told my husband I could not be married anymore and that my heart was no longer a part of the marriage. I was still married but had the affair and my husband knew about it. He loved me enough to do all that I had asked for 17 years and I watched as a transformation took place. The bad part was the emotional turmoil I went through and the guy I had the affair with did not want to let go. Oh, i should say that this guy had also been married but I guess his marriage was terrible also. I returned to my husband, first on a dating basis. We had moved into separate places, and decided that the foundation and the bond were important and precious enough to make things work. It was hard at first, and yes the guilt is horrible, but slowly our trust grew and I feel as probably the only person in the world that had I not took a step away from our marriage we would not be where we are today. We have been married for 32 years and have three grandchildren, have gone through breast cancer and yes, our marriage is still not perfect and I hope it never is. We have come to be the best of friends, saying ‘I Love You’ is the first thing and the last thing we say to each other and many times in between. We have found a common ground in spirituality. I am the spiritual one and he is but not as open with it. Our interests have become those that we do together and I am thankful for it. I feel that god has kept temptation away and because we are always together, we show everyone we meet that our happiness cup runneth over. We still have to work at it, and I realize when I look at couples that have been married 40, 50 and 60 years that there have been some sour cherries to deal with and I am comfortable with that. It has made me feel that I am not alone in that things get to much to deal with at times but that God is always there and gives strength at just the right time to be able to make it through the storms.
    Thank you for allowing me to tell my experience. Your article is very true except for the part where each person has there own interests. I think if we take the interest and enjoy what the other feels is important, the enjoyment will come and it will be a ‘togetherness enjoyment that you look forward to doing.

  • Pat

    My 19 year marriage just ended as a result of my husband having a year long affair. I can NOT even tell you the hurt that this has cause both me and our children. The comments above about paying attention to your man are good but what about the man paying attention to his women – it works both ways. I believe the reason for my ex’s affair was based soley on his drinking and the other woman not giving up on him even after finding out that he was married. I have NOW lost my soul mate because of someone who could not find her own man. Ladies, if they are married – LEAVE THEN ALONE because what goes around WILL come around and I can’t wait for that day!!!

  • Alice

    I must admit that I read this article twice just to make sure that it wasn’t just me reciting what I have learned on how to avoid any type of affair. As I pleasantly say it, don’t put yourself in any situation that you can’t handle. No over the line, emails, flirts with “females friends”, find common ground with your mate and things in common so that you don’t get bored. Dating is essential. Treat each other from time to time like you used to in the beginning stages in your relationship. Encourage your spouse or significant other. My final words, God took Sunday off to worship, the Devil works 24/7, so always be prepared and try not to fall into temptation. Good Luck to all.
    P.S. I love this article, only if we could get more couples to read and comprehend stuff like this.

  • Miss Cook

    Ever read, His Needs, Her Needs? This will explain why people cheat and what to do before it happens and after it happens. Once you read this book, it will open up so many doors for men and women. I cheated with my first husband. I am now in a wonderful relationship for over six years. We both read the book and I can tell you that since reading that book that if I ever cheat again, it is my fault and I can’t put the blame on that he didn’t give me what I was looking for. If something is missing in your relationship you have to talk about it. Also, you have to give them what they need too. It is a two way street.

  • Anonymous

    I usually don’t post, but this topic rings very close to my heart. After almost 18 years of marriage and 20 years together my husband had a fling with a female coworker. It lasted about a month and the woman vowed to ruin him after he broke it off.
    To make a long story short…I feel depression was the first thing that led him into the affair. Of course her pumping him up and calling him her “king” surely helped him fall.
    Any way I forgave him recognizing his true remorse for his act….and we tried to deal with all the accusations and legal troubles she was trying to pin on him. He almost lost his job because of her and she stopped at nothing to cause him pain for dumping her. nIncluding filing assault charges!
    About 4 months after the 1 month affair, my husband hung himself and completed suicide do to all the stress, guilt and depression from a stupid few weeks affair with a workplace whore.
    Let me just say he had never had a history of depression or bipolar condition. He worked hard and provided and just “fell” into a trap and couldn’t get himself out..
    It’s been over a year now and i’m still grieving and struggling with being lefta widow; while this person continues to work at that job. Like one person said, what goes around comes around.
    Don’t cheat it isn’t worth it!

  • Anonymous

    I was married for 3.5 years. I had a son in 1988 and a daughter in 1990 and my husband had an affair through my pregnancy in 1989-1990 and when she was six weeks old, I caught him in her apartment drunk and high. I have not been able to get over this and my daughter is 18 years old. I divorced him and five years later we moved in together as roommates.Due to child support issues and the kids asked me to stay until they were out of high school. He is still doing it, and I am planning on getting out. He is a nice guy and has a heart of gold BUT loves women and it is not fair to me. He keeps throwing it in my face. This is not the way to live a life. He refuses to get married again. I want the passion and marriage again. He expects the benefits of a wife but not the committment. Once a cheater always a cheater, I BELIEVE!!!! Maybe some change but the saying goes A leopard never changes their spots. They just learn how to play the game better. I can’t seem t find a nice honest loyal financially stable man out there. What is a girl to do!!!!

  • Sharon

    On a lighter note, hey, give bald guys over 60 a break! ;) I know of plenty of men over 60, even balding, who are sexy.
    But, yes, I get your point.

  • Michelle

    I have been married for 23 years and we have two children together they are now 22 and 18 years of age. I believe that my husband is cheating he has all the signs. He works odd hours and he seems to not be interested in me any more. He will not talk about it and we do not spend quality time together and everytime i ask for a date he says that he does not see why we have to do that. He has not told me that he loves me in a long time. I am still very much in love with him. But i do not feel the love all i ever get is the anger and frustration.
    Divorce is not an option for me my vows said until death do you part. I have since moved out of our bedroom trying to save myself from dissappointment. I thought that after going through so much that it would get better but it seems to be getting worse.

  • Valerie

    Although this advice is too late for my husband who had a 9 month long affair, it’s interesting to read and we are trying most of these things. I find it offensive that some comments posted by others even remotely suggest that I may be to blame for his horrible actions. I was busy raising three small children with our only son only 2 weeks old when this started. I can only do so much and he has taken the responsibilty of his actions. I hope it works out for us and especially our kids. I can honestly say that I don’t think I’ll ever trust anyone again. I HOPE I can find a way to love him again someday. Right now it’s not looking that way but I’m committed at this point and still trying and struggling. These articles help put some things in perspective.

  • babs

    I was previously married for 17 yrs. My husband cheated – i cheated to hurt him like he’d hurt me. There IS life, with love after so much pain. I’ve now been married for 23 yrs. and he’s the greatest thing that’s ever happened to me. His co-workers come to him and ask why he’s always so happy….. I vowed to never attack him as I did my last husband. I did once , when we first met and saw the awful hurt I caused him. He looked as if he would cry and I haven’t done it since. Not that I don’t “think” mean things I just bite my tongue and get control of myself. I’m 58 yrs old and he still makes me feel beautiful – and I believe he thinks it !! We touch alot – hold hands, tickle each other , have private jokes. I learned from my misery in lst marriage and I make a concious decision to be happy – not use my mouth to inflict pain. I decided to never attack his family or friends, even if I don’t like them and thank God he does the same. I grew up – I don’t have to communicate the way my parents did or my siblings do now. Hope this might help.

  • Chris

    Thanks for the article.. Cheating can occur in many forms and in nearly every enviroment. Being a strong person yourself is the first real test. What I mean is never lose site of who you are and the good sense you have.. Each individual is just that “an individual”.. The person you marry or get into a dedicated relationship needs to be on the same page.. Although there is no “guarantees” in a relationship, 2 people come together for a reason, that reason needs to be validated, real, and worked on.. I am a male and divorced now for 9 years.. I had a very successful corporate sales position and a strong religious faith.. My wife also had a very strong faith. The divorce was filed by her for what I believed to be, me working too much and being gone often with business. Little did I know, while I was trying to do better for our family, she found someone to spend more time with within the church. I didn’t find this out until nearly 2 years after our divorce. I was CRUSHED… This changed my life, initially for the worse.. I got caught up in the wrong things and never felt I could give my all in various relationships since. Not until just recently did I finally look back and realize, RELATIONSHIPS NEED TO BE WORKED JUST LIKE A WORKING BUSINESS PLAN.. Stop and smell the roses both together and by yourself.. Look at the person you are involved with and think of how you are treating them (are your supportive, encouraging, and the rock when you need to be the rock). Nobody is perfect but we come together for a reason.. I know I am rambling but I think that others can benefit from my mistakes.

  • Teresa H

    I would never cheat because I’ve met my true love and soul mate.I was never a cheater even in a poor relationship of dating. As an independent woman who has never married, (because I was waiting to meet the energy I met in him,) I fall in the 60%. Even when he wasn’t around, but mentioned marrying me via email I wasn’t even interested in going out on a date anymore. He has been away for 2 years and 9 months, but in a weird way he’s still here with me, without hearing his voice. Email has been it. To top it off everyone, we only met for a weekend while he was on a military assignment. The hours spent were short and far from perfect, but I seen through the ego and right to the soul of this wonderful man. I knew for sure then, he was the man I would marry. I hoped for sooner than later that we would get back together, but for what ever reason the wait was worth it, because I know I will marry and be with him forever.

  • Annie Jeffrey

    Reading all this has been helpful to me. I have been through alot of relationships and everyone of them has ended with cheating on me and hurting me. I was left with 2 kids to raise by myself cause he ran off with my best friend of 7 years. That was the worst one of them all. I am now engaged to the greatest guy ever, the greatest thing that has ever happened to me and my kids but since i’ve been hurt so much and cheated on so many times i feel myself getting insecure and scared that he’s gonna leave me or cheat on me. He has never gave me any reason to not trust him, its me thats having a hard time letting go of what has happened to me. Were getting married in 4 1/2 months. I love him more than anything. If anyone has any advice on how to get through something like this please e-mail me kalquinn2@yahoo.com. T

  • Adrian

    Thanks. I enjoyed the article. I am a divorced male. It seems that the scale tips both ways. I was a successful finance manager and devoted husband. I would work long hours so that my wife could spend time doing the things she wanted to do in life. I took very good care of my family. She leaves me several years into our marriage while I am at work. I fine out during the divorce that she had several affairs while we were together, both dating and married. I was heartbroken. I believe cheating is a learned lifestyle. It is a decision that is made at the moment of the offense; however the events leading up to the point where the decision is made is learned. To say that “ONCE A CHEATER ALWAYS A CHEATER” is someone who is still angry with something they need to deal with in their lives. It took several years for me to understand. I disagree with the idea the person who was cheated on had anything to do with it. In the end the person who has to make the decision is the cheater. If they don’t have enough respect for themselves or the others involved (children, their spouses, etc.) they will cheat. My ex wife is now remarried and from what I understand is happily married. I never cheated on her but she cheated on me several times. Now she is a great mother to our children and we actually talk to each other. I have found out that she was just not ready to put in the work required to have a successful marriage. In the time we were divorced and before her new husband, she made life changes. Not because she got medical help because her brain was in some way messed up, she explains it as an awakening. In all of our lifes, we have awakenings. It can deal with subjects as simple as whether a “white lie” is still a lie or as large as to whether stealing is wrong. My point is this. When we were born into this world we didn’t know anything about “white lies”, stealing, cheating, or killing. We learned them from someone. So before you write off the entire world as CHEATERS, think about how honest you have been in all situations. By the way, my present wife was once the other women in one of these situations. And by all accounts, she didn’t even know the guy was married. Should I write her off as a cheater also? We can either by proactive in our lives or reactive. Reactive people blame others.
    Sorry for the length.

  • Jenni

    This advice is all well and good, but everyone is different! As from most of the posts I have read, I am so sorry! I know how you feel! I have been married to my high school sweetheart for 11 years now! I bet we have seperated at least 4 times, or more! This advice would have done absolutely nothing for me either. He didn’t cheat on me because I didn’t listen! I listened too much! I waited on him, as well as working full time, going to school, and raising our two kids! I don’t think that I am super hot or anything, but I have maintained myself pretty well since we were in high school! His problem was that he was just a jerk! No offense, (and it goes both ways men and women)but most of the time the one cheating is just an insensitive jerk! They know exactly what they are doing when they do it. They know the consequences. So sorry if I don’t feel sorry for their needs! Notice I said we are still married. The one thing on here that I can agree with working, is prayer. My husband, by the grace of God, had an experience with Christ and was “born again”! It has taken some time to forgive him, and forgive myself for all the anger. We are only human! For those wondering how to move on, this is all I can say! You’ll never be able to forget, but you can forgive. Heal yourself first before jumping into the next relationship. I pray for each of you on here! It can work, if you put Christ first! He is the glue that holds the two of you together. If nothing else is working, why not try? It healed my family! It was torn to shreds! I jsut wanted to share this because I know how much it hurts! God Bless you all!

  • pamela

    You made me smile reading your comments. I was married 31-1/2 years. I know my ex-husband ( we divorced last year) stopped loving me before we hit the 20 year mark. His actions indicated he no longer loved me, hurtful and disrespectful remarks in front of friends, collegues and family. He rarely came home before 7 p.m. and said he had to work 6 days a week. He took trips with the guys but word always came back about what he had done. He rarely treated me like a lady and his wife. My heart broke a long time ago. I saw all the signs and yes I stayed in the marriage hoping that one day when our last child had graduated from college that our life might turn around. Instead my son and ex-husband took a trip, my son overheard a conversation his father and girlfriend were having on the cell phone. My son gave me the phone numbers and yes he was having “another ” affair. Finally I realized I could have a quality life living on my own. He came in one evening sat on the bar and explained that he loved me but was not in love with me. He never spoke about another woman. He said our Marriage was a mistake. He wanted to separate so he could think. I listened but rarely spoke. He moved our of our house the day I buried my step-brother. Now looking back on the past The signs were right in front of me and I refused to deal with the situation. During the rough times I read and worked on my inner soul, prayer and reflecing which helped me through many years of tough times. Now looking back I never regret the decision I made to file for divorce. Two years have past and I now have a purposeful, loving replationship with a quality, loving man and yes we pray and hold hands with every meal. I always kiss his bald head and tell him “I love him and thank you for a beautiful prayer.” We must live life loving and believing in ourselves.
    Decisions and ending marriage is difficult but not all marriages were meant to last a lifetime. I believe I have now found my soul-mate.
    The man that treats me with respect, loving, caring,communication, quality time together with our blended family and friends.We each live in our own homes but share life together. One day we will join hands when the time is right.

  • honey

    my boyfriend that I am with right now cheated on me and dumped me for a girl much younger than me, he stayed living with and “seeing” me the entire time he was with this girl and when they spit up was back with me. Not long after he started hanging out with and eventually dumped me again for his high school sweet heart, but still stayed living with and “seeing” me. Now it’s just us again and we’re pretty much ok, the problem is I don’t love or respect myself and it isn’t something that we can objectively talk about. Cheating hurts people and ruins an otherwise productive relationship, he wants to be happy with me but I won’t allow it and I want to be happy with him but like I said it is unallowed. I still love him and WON’T leave, but neither one of us will ever be truly happy together or apart.

  • cedar-creek

    I enjoyed your piece today. My first marriage lasted 32 years. My husband at that time was only using me for his “cash cow”, I always worked, he didn’t. Finally I became disabled and could no longer work. He refused to believe my situation. Suddenly there were the long absences from home, complaints about me, how I’d ruined his life, belittling and hurtful remarKS in front of everyone, I could not even do anything without it being wrong or suggesting I was lying. I am one of those women who is totally monogamous. He cheated on me all through our marriage. The last 10- years of which were the worst. I finally threw him out of the house one night when he had picked a fight and threatened once again to kill me. So I got up and got my single shot shotgun, loaded it in front of him, and handed him the trigger end, and said, I’m sick of your threats. You’ve tried to kill me before, now here is your chance, : I cocked the gun for him. I told him to go ahead and do it. He would not take the trigger, but he threatened me that I would be very sorry. While waiting for the divorce, which he made sure that I had no money for, I met my second husband. He never said or did anything that was not done in love to me. I only had 3 years with this wonderful man . He died of liver failure. I am now a widow. But my first husband has done everything in his power to ruin my life legally and financially, and personally. To this day I have to keep on my toes. He had been involved with drugs, stealing , lies, and still is. I got a death threat the other day. He is now using my deceased husbands’ name and had all my mail going to another state. I can’t afford a lawyer. I guess my advice is, if God is not involved in your marriage , and one party cares nothing but money, you need to move on. Leave him to God. The funny thing is, he told several people he would divorce me and then if he felt like it, he would come back to me. I guess he never suspected that once I say out, I mean it.
    Love your man Or woman, do things together, and talk truth with each other. Be like kids again and do silly things together. Good luck.

  • Timothy

    Marriage was created by God, and we have to follow his rules to have a happy marriage. The husband must love his wife as Christ loves the Church. Christ died on the cross for our sins so that we could live forever with him. Christ forgave us of all our sins, and we are to forgive one another their sins. The wife must respect her husband, and children are to obey their parents in the Lord. When we do all of these things we can have a happy marriage, and a happy home. I will add that we must spend time in prayer one for the other. Remember it is not a sin to be tempted; only if we yield to the temptation do we sin. So remember God gives us the strength to say no when we say yes to Jesus.
    May God bless you richly all my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.
    Sincerely,
    Tim George

  • Di

    Wow!
    Thank you Tim George-good stuff. So much runs through my mind, do I keep my secrets; do I share? It’s all personal opinion that is based upon individual feelings-just as one post mentioned that cheating may be something learned, dealing with the emotions of the situation is also learned. Or not learned-the “coping” or such. I think what is best for us is first things first. Know that each of us has the strength of God to overcome the pain, grief, anger, frustration, sadness, uncomfortable feelings that we experience in this situation. Just as the cheater may have gone looking for something that s/he felt was “missing”, God too can help fill that void. It’s about love and forgiveness. It’s about always attempting to keep the heart soft, so that we can continue to invite Christ into our hearts. I am the cheater, I was also cheated. What I have come to realize in my years, I really didn’t know what “making love” meant. We must understand that it is each of ourselves who defines actions, and our definitions are our own. If we do not communicate those definitions with others, then we can not expect others to just know that that’s what it means to us. So, in essence, one can not insult another, if the insult is only defined in my mind. I know, confusing…putting it this way, my husband “makes love” to me when he lets me sleep in on a Saturday morning and then brings me a big cup of coffee in bed. That, specifically knowing that I LOVE sleeping in, and the kids love poking at me to wake me up, and knowing exactly how to make my cup of coffee, and knowing just when to come in to wake me up…that’s making love to me. The other stuff…it’s of the flesh. We are sinners, we are tempted, yes, we do have commitments and we do have to stay strong to say no to temptation. The most awesome thing though, God will heal anything we allow Him in to mend. We just have to get out of His way. We have to remove the magnifying glass from the negatives and before you know it, the pain goes away. It is without pain, we would not appreciate pleasure. When we fall due to the hurt, if we turn our attention to the good, the hurt will dissolve. We do breed what we feed.
    I know that if I had convinced myself that my ex-husband was an a-hole, then that reflected on my taste. And I wanted to mention, did I read the same article-it does mention about the chemical simulation on the brain, the highs, the rush, am I the only one who can understand these descriptions? I, being bipolar, love the manic days. I recognize the dopamine rush-it doesn’t have to be with attraction, it can be with chocolate. Each of us has a weakness. Think about that. How perfect are you? Do you do every single thing right?
    I saw a bumper sticker today, it said, “If it can be earned, then why did He die?”
    God bless each of you. I am sorry for any pain any of you have gone through, going through it is the way to grow and heal though. Harboring it will only rot you inside and that will show and influence others who can see it in you. So, be an example, you choose what kind.
    Praise God on High. Stay focused on God. Nothing is too big for Him.

  • BellaTerra66

    Marriage for life was a concept instituted when people lived only 30 years (or less). That didn’t give couples time to get bored — ALTHOUGH we know, like from The Bible (David and Bethsheba), married people had affairs even back then.///I am NOT for open marriage, but now that we live SO long, I agree with Margaret Mead, a now-deceased but still prominent sociologist, who said that, because we change so much over 40-60 years, we should be allowed to have three marriages: one to set up our lives with; one to raise children with; and one to grow old with.///Someone needs to tell me why fidelity is so important. A wife/husband will stay with a spouse who is an alcoholic/drug addict, who is physically or emotionally abusive. The wife/husband will stay for the sake of the kids and/or because divorce is too costly financially and/or because the lifestyle is great (i.e., rich) and the pension is/will be too good to pass up. But, God forbid, just let that spouse sleep with someone else and the husband/wife is ready to kill and/or blow the marriage apart. But in light of what can REALLY go wrong in a marrige, is fidelity that important?///Fidelity is not about ownership or body parts. It’s about building a life together. If a spouse strays a time or two here and there along the way — that is hardly the most important sin for which the marriage should break up. They are far more important ones (see above).///I know someone right now who has been married for over 40 years and has had serial affairs FOR YEARS (more like decades). Does the other spouse know? Of course. But there is the house, the great income, the children, the grandchildren and the soon-to-be-great-pension (on top of all the other bennies). Is the faithful spouse going to leave? Not by a long shot. The material side of this marriage is way too good and has been all along. And do they love each other despite the infidelity? Yes, I believe they do.///Only since the advent of birth control have we been able to cheat and get away with it. And only since the advent of movies (cinema) have we romanticized the H out of marriage. My maternal grandparents’ marriage was arranged (the beginning of the 1900s), the raised 5 good chidren, and somewhere along the line they must have come to love each other because my grandfather died less than a year after my grandmother passed away. But was their marriage romantic and spiritual? Not in the way we now want a romantic and spiritual marriage.///If your spouse isn’t an alcoholic, doesn’t use drugs, doesn’t beat you, is a decent father and a good provider, I wouldn’t be overly concerned about whether or not he cheats a time or two (unless it’s frequent and blatant, and then I’d worry about protecting myself from diseases that my husband/wife may have picked up along the way).///There is nothing that is going to keep your spouse from having an affair. What will help is good hygiene, good sex, having some shared interests (my ex-husband and I had great and frequent political discussions) and doing some fun things (frankly, I’d get myself a fishing pole and see if I don’t like fishing) and no nagging. PS: Why did I leave my husband of over 22 years? Because once the kids were grown and gone, my ex and I realized we had grown apart. He and I had done what we were meant to do: raise three good children. Once that was over – so were we. And that was fine with us. He is now 10-years married to a wonderful woman, and I am happily single. (If the news is true, I may not live as long as a married person, but I am having a GREAT time in this last part of my life! And so is my ex.)

  • Sue

    POint number two sumed EVERTHING up about me…Right now Im struggling again with getting caught up in the attraction to another..and the high of it..you hit the nail on the head when you said depressives and addicts struggle with this because it actually gives you the same effect as cocaine..I have been praying all day to get rid of the obsession of this other person again and Im struggling. THis isnt the first time this has happened in my marriage but I thought that was all the past and that I dealt with my short comings..This is like a drug, I dont feel in control. I had emotional affairs and made my ammends. This couldnt have come at a better day in my life…really gonna think about all that is said here and hopefully get some strength and answers..
    thanks

  • P J

    I’m sorry, but the person who wrote the comment about the three marriages, YOU HAE GOT TO BE KIDDING—-RIGHT????? Your wedding vows do not say until it is convenient for you to find someone else or until someone fits your lifestyle change to a “t”. This is where the fundamental breakdown of our society is beginning to breakdown. We feel that we can take God’s word and change it and make it fit our lifestyle and make it say what we want it to say and all is okay and well.
    I am not saying that an individual should stay in an abusive or destructive marriage, but to switch partners, just because they don’t “fit” any more is ludicris. Of course, that is my opinion and you know what they say about opinions.

  • sweetest girl

    serial cheating is an addiction. i have never heard it put that way, but i had heard the expression “being in love with being in love” and i always thought that fit me. but i read this article and realize that i am both an addict and depressive and……a serial cheater. i have nothing to add to the discussion other than the opinion that yes affairs are hurtful and wrought with betrayal, but some of us are going to keep on keeping on in our destructive ways. i thought that i had put this tendency behind me about 3 years ago but i find myself again straying off the beaten path of marriage fidelity to wander the rough and rocky terrain of the ultimatly self destructive grass is greener syndrome. will i ever stop? i don’t know, but i always imagine that at some point in my senior years maybe i will no longer crave that heady rush of bliss that comes with catching the eye of someone new and spend my last years with my husband in relative peace and quiet. and god forgive my cheatin heart cause he knows i don’t have the power to overcome it without his help.

  • BellaTerra66

    The Code of Hammurabi, written 1750 years before Christ, is very similar to The Ten Commandments. It appears that humankind, as they came together to live in community, had to have some order of conduct so that there wouldn’t be chaos. After all, we can’t have everyone lying, cheating, stealing, killing and open marriages and still have an orderly society. So while I agree that there appears to be some constant in conduct — there has to be — there has to be some order — those laws can be modified. And we’ve done that over the centuries because God works through us and with us (among other ways God works).///There is nothing wrong with having two or three marriages, if we all agree that it’s all right. (There are primitive societies which have different laws and taboos than we have, and, if these laws are followed, they live in good harmony.) We already do agree it’s all right: Outside The RCC divorce is allowed, and even within The Church there is “Catholic Divorce” which is called annulment. Two or three marriages wouldn’t be mandatory — multiple marriages just wouldn’t carry the stigma that they carry today. No matter what we say, today we still think of divorce as failure.///What I was saying — and the point was missed — is that in a marriage, adultery is not the No. 1 mortal sin. Considering that God made us so loving and sexual (and loving and sexual can coincide or not) I think it’s one of the most forgiveable sins.///We hear a lot about divorce and adultery and affairs (how to prevent them, what to do after the guilty party is discovered, etc., etc.), but we hear so little about how do we cope with a spouse who is not a good husband or a good father or one who is physically and/or emotionally abusive or addicted to alcohol/drugs, or a spouse who simply does not love us in a way that we need, recognize as love, crave or the spouse who is lazy and does not carry their load of the marriage. There is so little information about the financial problems (usually severe) that will ensue for both sides (unless the couple is rich) when divorce occurs. These are so much more important issues that whether or not a spouse might stray or has strayed.///And if we REALLY think that a spouse is going to be emotionally and/or physically faithful over a period of 30-60 years, we are living in La La Land. We are going to change over the decades and a couple is not necessarily going to change together for the better every time there is a change. Yes, fidelity can happen for that long of a time. It is possible. It’s just not likely. There may be no physical contact but there is certainly going to be emotional involvement. Because that’s the way we were made. There will be good times during a long marriage and bad times during a marriage (and both periods can last for years), and during the bad times it’s going to be easier to find another to become emotionally and/or physically involved with. But THAT is NOT one of the most important things in marriage.///BTW, whoever wrote that serial affairs is an addiction was right.

  • Danielle

    The Book of the Law states, “There is no law that can unite the divided but love.” A partial clarification for those words is to be found elsewhere in that Book: “O Man, refuse not thy wife, if she will.” And also: “O, Lover, if thou will, depart.” In another book, The Book of Wisdom or Folly, it is also said, “There shall be no property in flesh.” This is to say that in this current age no one owns anyone but themselves, ever, by anything other than the bond of love (not a piece of paper). The statement also makes a case for plural marriage and whatever other arrangement people make between themselves. Fidelity is not the gold standard; open, honest communication is.
    Of course, if we insist on living our lives by fairy tale faith instead of thinking for ourselves then none of this will make sense to us and we will have no recourse but to rant and rail. Good luck with that.

  • Candace Buck

    I found your article to be inlightening and educational. I am in a marriage where my husband is out of town four days a week and when he comes home, I am often very busy with 2 small children, school work and trying to keep a path open from all the toys scattered about. I plan to use your tips and I will let you know how they work in my life. Thanks and God Bless!

  • Eloisa

    I really enjoyed this article thank you so much, however I would like to add you need to respect your husband; as well as respect yourself as well. And sometimes just a touch or a kind word and a smile can make a big difference. God Bless !

  • Carl Spivey Jr.

    I was great insight on things. I have been in love with the same person for seven years and we haven’t gotten married yet. I have always got caught red handed. I also I didn’t know what to do avoid the situation and prepare for what to do in the matter so I thank you for the wisdom and advice for it.

  • Krsnanandini

    Another very powerful thing you can do to avoid affairs, is to regularly (annually, semi-annually, quarterly) go on a couples retreat. At a Couples Retreat, you and your spouse focus on each other in fun, interactive ways while meeting other couples and enriching your relationships skills (communication, goal-setting, resolving conflict or negotiation, values clarification, etc.. Generally these retreats take place in beautiful, serene locations and last one-day or a week-end. Just as we invest in our homes, cars and children, we should invest in our relationships/marriages. Couple retreats are like “tune-ups”, revitalizing and encouraging healthy growth and connection between spouses. See this website for more details: http://www.dzfi.org

  • Deb

    Good points all around. From my own experiences and from watching my friends, I often see communications break down because one just isn’t interested in what the other is. The thoughts or interests being brought up for discussion are “snuffed or discounted” as unimportant. How completely disrespectful, and what easier way to send someone to someone else to be mutually interested. I’ve always said, “If it is important to one, it is important to the relationship”. You have to pay the other person the attention you would have in the beginning on issues that are important to them regardless of what you think of the issues.

  • Digna

    The content of the artcle was profound. I have found that most happy marriages are based on friendship. Both people trully like each other.Communication takes place on all levels.When they are speaking to each other, they actually make eye contact.
    Much touching and stroking takes place. The intimacy of the relationship is one they look forward to. If there is a dis-agreement, they discuss the matter.
    Everybody knows they are committed to each other, because it is evident by their behavior. They are friends. True friends, seek to benefit the other and vise versa.
    Relationships are work. But if you are invested, you will reap the profitts.Trust is a great factor in healthy loving relationships. Gossip about either party is not acceptable. The covenant that they have with each other is extremely important to them. And, important is the knowledge through tests that have come their way, that no matter what happens, my mate and I will work it out togeather, one day at a time.
    Blessings to all.

  • Dane

    I enjoyed ready your blog very much but had a little question? what do you do when the intamatcy side of things just isn’t there for you. Between all of the financial problems we have (which aren’t the problem they just frustrate me) and the medications I take. I do not feel arousable. This bothers my husband. I had a lot of problems having my son 9 years ago and our “alone time” since is pretty non existant. Its just not on the top of my list of things to be in discomfort for or to get anxiety stricken to try to get into the mood. My husband doesn’t want to hear that.. I love him very much like I could love no other but he doesn’t seem to understand after all he is a man…. he has needs…

  • CAKid

    I read this blog last week. I wanted to respond, not to get advice, but to just get this out. I’m scared to death I’m going to cheat on my wife. I love this woman more than I could put into words. I know how silly and cliche that sounds, but it’s true. I adore her.
    She has no libido. Which is odd, I feel, for a 25 year old woman. At first, I thought I must be the problem. I must have been doing something wrong. We’ve talked about it. I danced around the heart of the issue at first; not knowing what the cause may be. When that didn’t work I was more upfront about it. Her only response is she has “never been very sexual.”
    I, however, love it. We haven’t had an intimate moment in over a year and I can’t remember the last time she initiated it. To further exasperate the situation is two old flames suddenly emailed me out of the blue suggesting a reunion.
    Naturally, I haven’t done anything; and, I wouldn’t…
    But, I am SO afraid that I will.
    Writing this helps. I feel as if, at least, I’m not alone.

  • Anonymous

    Hello Therese,
    I have just written a comment to your article “9 Ways to Affair-Proof..” where I was asking you a question. My comment was written from the other site, and I cannot find it. I realized that I did not leave my email address in case you wanted to respond. It is marksproesser@yahoo.com
    Thank you.
    Sincerely,
    Zoia Sproesser

  • Mark Ingham

    It is interesting reading the responses on this religious blog, compared to the comments on the Yahoo non-faith version. I am not religious, but I could not believe some of the comments on the Yahoo version.
    My comment does not seem to have been posted on Yahoo, maybe there was a cut off at 50 comments? But here is my response to Barb, who made the first comment there
    [http://dating.personals.yahoo.com/singles/relationships/21641/8-ways-to-affair-proof-your-marriage]:
    There are times when love is not a feeling, but an action. Every single person I have talked to that has been married for a long time has told me that there is no such thing as an easy marriage. If you think that the feeling of being in love lasts forever without any down times, then you simply do not understand human nature and you lack education in the most important things. Read some great literature, maybe Tolstoy, George Eliot.
    I got married last month, I am in love, and I have fair hope for a good marriage, but by no means do I think it will always be easy. It will take much building up and hard work when times are good, so that there is a positive balance in the emotional bank account when times are rough. When you (and so many others) speak with such false opinions about the human heart, I wonder at your cognitive ability. But I will assume that you lack education, not ability. I grieve to think that such education will most likely come through heartbreak and a broken home for your children, rather than through a thoughtful conversations with elders in your community and a genuine education in the humanities.
    I hope, as with Kandace of comment 3, you will be able to rebuild when the myth of eternal in-loveness comes crashing down for you. But my highest hope is that you will learn from the mistakes of others through reading and conversation, so that you will not have to learn the hard way with a bleeding heart of your own. Yours truly, Mark

  • Forgiving

    “and with my safe male friends, the balding fellows over the age of 60″
    … Who said they’re safe?? I’ve actually had an affair with one of those 60 year old bald men. He was fantastic, actually.
    Nothin’ safe about those dirty old men. ;-)
    I don’t know if I could be trusted with a sexy woman, either.
    We’re all very sexual creatures. Don’t be so closed-minded!
    In reality, I don’t believe it’s “cheating” that’s so concerning. It’s the DECEIT. Some years ago, I had a boyfriend that I practically worshipped. I was completely faithful so him. Turns out he cheated on me for probably 3/4 of the relationship. I was the so called “first wife”, but according to rumors he also had a second girlfriend at a school neighboring ours, and eventually left me for one of my best friends. Turns out they had been spending quite a bit of time together, and everyone knew except me. In fact, for months some people thought we weren’t even together anymore, and that he was already dating my friend. I never knew why people looked at me so strangely when they asked me if we were still dating. In the end, I didn’t care whether he might’ve had sex with someone else, or even that he left me for her. What shattered me was that he lied, and hid it from me for SO long, and embarrassed me in front of everyone. Did he not trust me to be understanding? All he had to do was come to me and say, I love someone else, and I want to be with them. All I wanted was for him to be happy. I was devastated.
    At one point he’d even suffered from Bell’s Palsy. I had thought somehow I was the cause. But looking back, I realize his stress was caused from having to keep up with so many lies.
    He and my friend broke up some months later. However, we never got back together. Since then he has apologized. We still talk now and then, and have no hard feelings on either side. I think the fact that I don’t “hate his guts” has always astonished him. Apparently none of his other ex-girlfriends were so forgiving.
    I think society was partly to blame. Are we so unforgiving, that we’re causing the ones we love to hide things from us out of fear?

  • Curious

    I think the 3 marriages in life comment made sense. In fact it’s not the first time I’d heard about the idea. After all, a lifetime is damn long these days, and people do change. Who’s to say you and your highschool sweetheart will have ANYTHING in common once you reach mid-life, or later?
    At the moment I’m thinking about studying the idea of polygamy. Not so much in the religious mormon sense though.
    I have a very good friend, and he and his “girlfriend” have a long-distance open relationship. They seem quite happy.
    I figure it’s worth reading a book and coming to understand it, before I judge it. :-)

  • Charles Blanchard

    Some of the comments I read … leave much to be desired, sadly. But my own comment is based on the tact taken by the article … in as much as, when I was married (yeah, when) I was also in the Navy.
    I ‘dated’ my wife … actually called her from work to arrange the date in advance of coming home. This was above the long walks on the beach and mini-vacations to theme parks (Busch Gardens and Water Country USA, etc.).
    While on a cruise, I wrote to my wife (using her first name) and to my girlfriend (using her middle name). Some of the men wondered at this until one finally understood that I wasn’t writing to two different women.
    I didn’t, and don’t, like to ‘fight’. I don’t have a problem with confrontation, but in the marriage I would walk and cool off when angry, so that I could come back and discuss it without saying or doing anything which I might regret later.
    I pampered her, giving her full-body massages at least three times a week while I was home … and massaging her feet every night (she was a waitress much of our marriage). Often, if she was tired, I would just hold her and cuddle while we went to sleep.
    The friends we had were mostly from the church we attended … a few from around the neighborhood and a few from before we’d even met that were in the area … but most were married couples from some church, if not our own.
    I instituted ‘soup night’ … which was one night a week, based on our work schedules, where we would disconnect the phone and talk, read the Bible and deal with anything which was bothering us … so that we could get it all out and deal with it, together.
    Yes, we prayed together every night … and when something came up that required immediate prayer.
    I ever got, or made, her presents (I was quite artistic back then) … and usually not something she would expect, though I believe she got used to having me bring her something two to three times in the week.
    I taught her to drive, balance a checkbook, cook (yup, I was the cook in the family) and give massages. She was the mechanic … and my field was electronics and computers.
    However, during my last cruise, the cruise of the Saratoga (1985-86) where we bombed Libya … I returned for my 30th birthday to find that she wasn’t home. I soon found that she’d not paid the mortgage on our properties (which were in final foreclosure at the time of my return).
    She’d developed a boyfriend while I was gone … and all was soon lost.
    The only draw I can see that he had was … he hit her, even put her in the hospital twice. I know this because she sent the police to arrest me for it … but, thank God, I had been on duty both times and could not have been there for any part of it.
    So it goes.
    If this doesn’t get posted, I don’t mind. I just wanted to share with those that were involved with this article to saw that even when you love and love well … it is no ‘proof’ against a partner going astray.
    But that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try. : )

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  • http://womenshealingtransitions.com/audio-downloads/ Gabrielle Pullen

    One of the most powerful realizations I had once in the process of a demoralizing fight was that some things should never be said, and some trust can never be repaired. Since that time, I have always tried to stick with the rule to speak, act and treat the people I am relating to with complete respect. It’s amazing how much it fends off what might seem inevitable; shifting my intention instead of giving in to my baser instincts is key. It’s a shift in consciousness.
    Since then, I have tried to pay it forward out of shear gratitude that I no longer have to deal with the emotional violence of destructive relationships. I am truly grateful. And so, I offer you a meditation on improving your capacity to surround yourself with safe relationships. Stay happy and safe.

  • Your Name

    Our solution is swinging. Since we both have sex with other people with each other’s blessing (and usually presence), there’s no cheating involved. Your mileage may vary….

  • pulse

    I firmly believe human beings are not meant to be sexually monogamous, and that sex is not simply for pro-creation.

  • L

    Thank you. I appreciate this list and agree that real, beautiful relationships thrive on the closest bond possible: monogamy. It takes maturity to cultivate that with your one and only. This is sadly something many people are willing to throw away for a neuro boost. It takes remembering why you are with that person, and putting in these concrete steps every day, to overcome what pulls away from that closeness. I am truly grateful for my beloved every day.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment JC

    There is no way to “affair proof” your marriage. If he is going to cheat he will, it doesn’t matter what you do, how many datenights you have, how you do all the right things;lose wieght,wear his favorite colognes, lingere etc., the problem isn’t you the problem is his selfishness and often his passive aggressive disorder; he thinks he deserves this and it is readily available and he isn’t the one reading the articles…you are. Give yourself a break and be be the best that you can be but be it for yourself.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Florence

    When I married my husband I was already pregnant and so I didn’t have a job. He had a really good job though so I was able to stay home and take care of our son when it was born. When we had our second child we moved to a bigger house, but then strange things started to happen. Things would fly off the walls and doors would slam at night. Our oldest son talked about seeing figures and hearing voices. We consulted a medium and they said the house was haunted. After living there about a year more with only minor occurrences we moved out. That was when the bad luck started to happen. Everything started to fail, with my husband’s job, our money and our luck in general. I went back to the same medium and they told me that a spirit had followed me and placed a curse upon me for disturbing it and not being respectful in the previous house. He tried to remove it but was unable. The misfortune kept going on and getting more severe as I tried to search out someone to break the curse. But when I found Dr OMO spell he finally did it. Things started turning around almost immediately after he cast the spell and have been great from there! This was really a miracle for us, thank you Dr OMO spell from the bottom of my heart! Contact: alteroffiretemple@gmail.com

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