Last night I couldn’t sleep and was looking through Hulu Plus and Netflix (we ditched our cable and satellite), trying to find a good show to watch. I watched a few new shows that I hadn’t seen before, trying to see if I wanted to start watching that series. As I sat there I began to see a common thread among all of the shows and I started thinking about others that I’ve watched recently as well. Every single one of these shows depicted an individual who was having an affair, cheating on their spouse or significant other. The sad thing is that none of these episodes showed the ramifications that result from an affair.
When Did it Become OK to Cheat?
Why is it that it’s socially acceptable to be unfaithful? I don’t know about you, but when I got married I agreed to “forsake all others”. To me, that means that my husband is the one who will receive my love, attention, and affection, not the man sitting next to me at work, or the guy living across the street. So when did it become ok to cheat?
According to Infidelity Facts, 57% of men and 54% of women admit to having an affair while involved in a relationship with someone else.
The media portrays infidelity as something exciting and sexy. The majority of the time they don’t show you the hurt and destruction that results from those actions. Or if they do, its resolved within that episode or at the most, a couple of weeks later. In real life those hurt feelings usually last for many years and some people are never able to totally forget how they felt when they learned their loved one was being unfaithful. Infidelity Facts reported that only 31% of all marriages last after an affair has occurred.
Cheaters Destroy Others
My first marriage ended because of lies and infidelity (way to much to get into in this post). Because of this, I struggled in developing a trusting relationship with my current husband. It took me a long time to totally trust him. Even though my current husband was not the one that cheated and hurt me I still struggled with totally trusting him. Thankfully he was patient and loving as I worked through those issues but so many people aren’t that lucky. Those hurt feelings that happen in one relationship often carry over into future relationships, damaging them as well.
I have watched so many of my colleagues, friends, and family destroy their marriages because they fell into the pit of infidelity. Most of them didn’t do it intentionally. I think the majority of people don’t wake up one morning and say, “I think I’m going to cheat on my spouse today.” For many people, its a gradual slope down into that pit. According to Truth About Deception, “few people intentionally plan on committing infidelity.” “Most infidelity occurs, not because it is planned, but because people find themselves in situations where their emotions overwhelm them.”, according to Truth About Deception.
Protect Your Love
So how do you protect your marriage or relationship? I really don’t have a cookie cutter answer for you. What works for one couple may not work for another.
However I do recommend setting boundaries for yourself. Don’t allow yourself to be in situations which could potentially allow you to become involved with someone else, whether its physical or emotional. I really believe that’s how many relationships begin.
Be open with your significant other. Do you feel like they are shutting you out? Are they focusing more on work, friends, sports, etc. than they are you and your relationship? Discuss that with them. Don’t nag, but find a time when you are in a neutral setting, not as they walk out the door to go watch the game with the guys, and can discuss it calmly. This may open the door for them to express to you things that are bothering them about what you do. As much as we’d like to believe we are perfect, unfortunately none of us are, and we can all make improvements in our lives.
Lastly I recommend having a friend who keeps you accountable. Often its our friends or coworkers that know we are having an affair or are headed in that direction, before we even realize it ourselves. Ask your friends to let you know if they ever notice you developing inappropriate relationships with others.
I’d love to hear from our readers. Do you have suggestions for safeguarding your marriage?
Till next week!