Sexology researchers conduct surveys and report rates of infidelity. The problem with this data is that because infidelity is frowned upon in our society and in turn, embarrassing and costly, people often withhold the truth about their indiscretions. Nevertheless, we all know that infidelity continues to be a major factor in breakups no matter how many books are published on the subject. Some argue that people are simply not meant to be monogamous.
While relationships are no doubt complex, I would like to weigh in with a few suggestions that may help to prevent your partner from straying. They may help you as well. While some people may not take a lover under any circumstances, the following information may serve as added protection.
Make sure your partner is sufficiently physically attracted to you. Again, many people refuse to commit adultery under any conditions, but if your partner does not have a strong physical attraction to you, you are playing a game of risk. How can you tell? First, try asking them if they find you attractive. Believe it or not, some will tell you the truth. You know what “no” means, but even if you get a vague answer you should investigate further. Do not drop the ball on this one. One man asked his wife this question and her answer was “enough, I think.” Yikes!
Evaluate the level of affection in your relationship. Some people can be affectionate with you but not find you physically attractive. I have seen plenty of parent/child or brother/sister combinations that eventually deteriorate.
Ask about past partners and get a feel which turned your partner on. Are you like that person, or the complete opposite? If your partner has a history of dating tall blondes and you are a relatively short brunette further scrutiny might be warranted. Consider other differences such as emotional, intellectual and socioeconomic disparities. These variables may also influence physical attraction.
Pay attention to your sex life. I recommend that you think back to when you first met and determine whether you felt as if your partner desired you physically. Many couples who report to my office with sexual desire issues failed to have sex on their honeymoons. In other words, consider whether there were signs that your partner was “never that into you.”
Does your partner initiate sex? While at times this may be a matter of background or culture, a lack of initiation may signal a passive partner going through the motions. Does your partner seem engaged when making love to you? Does he or she demonstrate any passion? The answer to these questions can indicate whether you turn your partner on.
For those who identify as asexual, sexual activity would not be the barometer for cheating prevention. But loyalty, honesty, integrity, healthy communication, and respect certainly would. Romance without sex is often valued.
What is your partner’s relational history? Has he/she been unfaithful in the past and for what reasons? Not all know the real reasons for their behavior, but it will be safer for you to try and ascertain whether a pattern exists. For example, is there a history of affairs with those he/she is attracted to and marriage to others?
Of course, it is possible that your partner was once very physically attracted to you but with age or because of medical issues you have changed. This is quite normal. But I also think it is important that you find out what the specific problem is and consider doing something about it if possible. Sometimes just listening and acknowledging your partner’s concerns rather than reacting defensively may quell future issues.
People always ask me: What causes divorce? I answer facetiously: Marriage, of course. Well, what causes an affair? It could be any number of things, but whatever it is, it starts early and builds to a crescendo.