• The Love Scout

How to infidelity-proof your relationship

Promising your private parts to your dearly beloved may seem like a deeply romantic notion. While it can work for some, there lie inherent challenges for many. So what happens between “I do” and “I accidentally did…”? Why do millions of hearts end up shattered because of cheating? More importantly, how can you infidelity proof your relationship?

· Awareness. Cheating rarely just happens. You don’t happily commit to a person on Monday and turn around and bonk someone else on Tuesday. (If you do, please stop committing; people are getting hurt). There are usually one hundred things that precede any unfaithful behaviour. It starts with thoughts, ideas, fantasies or unmet emotional, physical, sexual or intellectual needs. We often manage to keep these thoughts at bay; sometimes we put them in a little box in the basement of our psyche. Unfortunately they don’t always stay there, and over time are quite tactful at sneaking out unnoticed. You first need to recognize these thoughts and consciously choose to not suppress them, but observe them.

· Honesty. Before you can even be honest with someone else, you need to be honest with yourself. This may be hard, especially when who you think you are, and who you really are clash. Be gentle and patient with yourself. Try not to judge and allow yourself space to understand and integrate the information. After all, you’re only human, and I can promise you, you’re not the only one.

· Safety. Very few people are willing to be vulnerable and honest if the conditions are not safe to do so. If you are scared about your partner flying off the handle, screaming at you, judging you, shaming you or blaming you, chances are you’re going to keep it to yourself. Be careful of this the next time your partner tries to be honest with you. Know that every negative reaction is another nail in the coffin of communication.

· Communication. Once you feel safe to do so, muster up the courage to talk about what is going on in your head. If you are feeling neglected emotionally, not getting enough in bed, not having enough quality time, let your partner know. We forget that most of us can’t read minds! Don’t expect your partner to know you inside out and don’t punish them. Help each other out and make it a relationship goal that both of you work on so you can be happier, more content and live more authentically.

Monogamy (especially til death for those married folk) is a big ask, more so given that our life expectancy has almost doubled in the last 100 years. Contrary to pop culture, it’s not just sign, sealed, delivered and I’m yours. Monogamy doesn’t come for free; you choose it and you work for it. While it is very possible, we must understand that awareness, trust and communication are a few essential elements we need if we’re to stand any chance of making it.

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