Can You Affair-Proof Your Marriage?

Paranoid woman and man walkingThe news and details surrounding U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus’ affair has spread through social media like wildfire. Sadly, this is not the first, nor will it be the last, public demise of an influential figure that many regard, or regarded, in high esteem. In a recent article, Dr. Howard J. Markman, co-director of the Center for Marital and Family Studies and a professor of psychology at the University of Denver, gives some tips on how to protect your own marriage from an affair. First, Markman points out that extramarital involvement (EMI) does not occur by accident. The decision to be unfaithful to your spouse is exactly that, a decision, regardless of the circumstances that may have led you to go astray. Being drunk, lonely, sexually deprived, or emotionally exiled from your spouse are all factors that could lead you to seek affection elsewhere, but these do not result in an affair. Ultimately, it is you who chooses whether to take a bite out of the apple. Markman cautions that before you pick the fruit from the tree of infidelity, you should carefully consider the effects it will have on you, your partner, and your life in general.

Markman suggests that couples make protecting the sanctity and commitment of their marriage a priority. Do not put yourself in situations where you can be tempted, and recognize that when you cannot avoid certain separations, calling in, sending a message, or doing something special for your partner reconnects you to them. Another important way to help protect your marriage from infidelity is to carefully evaluate your partner and the relationship before you take the plunge. According to Markman, too many partners shack up together without ever having a clear goal of marriage. The wedding occurs often as a natural progression within the relationship rather than being entered into as one of the most important steps in a person’s life.

“Finally, it is important to recognize and deal with early signs that EMI may be starting or are at risk for starting,” Markman says. If your partner is being secretive or distant, confront him or her in a supportive and loving way. It is better to dispel any unfounded fears you may have by approaching your partner than to wake up one day realizing your worst fears have come true. Markman also points out that even if the corrosive effects of an affair have already infiltrated your relationship, it is not too late. Marriage and relationship counselors can help couples learn why the affair occurred, how to overcome the damage and pain, and how to move forward together.

Markman, Howard J. David Petraeus’ affair: Could this happen to you? The Huffington Post (n.d.): n. pag. 10 Nov. 2012. Web. 13 Nov. 2012.

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  • Caden

    November 23rd, 2012 at 12:26 PM

    “The decision to be unfaithful to your spouse is exactly that, a decision, regardless of the circumstances that may have led you to go astray.”

    Exactly! I hate it when people say I didn’t mean to cheat but it just happened! Well it doesn’t just happen it is something you DECIDED to do, you had the control over it and this is what you did. Do not try and shift the blame on the circumstances. It may even making things worse for the person who was cheated on!

  • Allie

    November 23rd, 2012 at 12:39 PM

    Easier said than done…. “getting over it”, that is. What if your spouse cheated with different women, admitted to performing oral sex with them, gave you a std while you were pregnant, became violent with you when you refused sex with him and told you that at least the std he gave you wasn’t AIDS? Shall you forget all of that? You know God granted us a sense of common sense. Overlook that? Forgive him? Of course I do. I’m not a heartless being. But, truly it is possible to forgive , continue to love him all the way to divorce court. When there’s no trust, is there really a marriage left? I think its safe to say he checked out of the relationship the moment he betrayed our covenant.

  • Mr.Anderson

    November 23rd, 2012 at 5:23 PM

    Affair-proof your relationship from your side? Possibly. But from your partner’s side? Now that only your partner can!

    No matter how careful we are, our partner is one of the few people we are vulnerable to and there is just no getting around that. There’s always a possibility of being hurt.

  • zoey

    November 24th, 2012 at 1:55 PM

    in a way yes,you can affair proof your marriage.but it requires constant work,commitment and effort.if all that is present and the investments of the same are made by both the partners then there will be very little room for an affair to develop.and even if an opportunity comes up a healthy relationship has far more chances of shooting it down than a weak relationship.

  • mallory

    November 25th, 2012 at 4:28 PM

    its not hard to remain faithful when things are good and the distance is absent.the tough part is when things are NOT perfect and your partner may be far away.that is when there is the need of staying alert and resisting temptation.its not easy but hey nobody said the fruits of labor are easy to attain!

  • arthur

    November 25th, 2012 at 8:06 PM

    most if not all of us go for that affair due to the excitement it provides,excitement that is missing from our relationship or if we aim to retain that excitement in the first place the rewards for an affair are greatly decreased and the chances that we will actually pursue it will go down too.that’s something to think about,isn’t it?

  • Eliza

    November 26th, 2012 at 12:17 AM

    I hate cheaters with a passion.I’ve heard too many people say they didn’t mean top cheat.What is that even supposed to mean?You did it and that’s it.Nobody put a gun on your head and force you to do it.If I am faithful and honest in a relationship then is the same too much to ask for from my partner??

  • STAN

    November 26th, 2012 at 3:58 PM

    Although affair-proofing your marriage seems like a tough thing to do,it really isn’t impossible.While affair-proofing is not a one-time thing that requires some sort of purchase or sign up,it can be done through consistent investment.Investment that includes effort,love and care combined with a stern desire to stay committed.

    Thinking of it,staying committed now has become so much more difficult than ever before (no joke), but let us draw inspiration from all the happy couples out there. It really is possible. What we do with our relationship is under our control and if staying away from an affair is what’s required, we can do that too!

  • tiffany

    November 27th, 2012 at 1:19 PM

    @Mr.Anderson:This is so true.Its not a one way street where you put in effort and remain faithful and your partner automatically does the same.Work is needed from both the sides.And even then some people have put in so much effort and yet been cheated on.You can call that luck.I call it the price we must be willing to pay if we desire a relationship.

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