Cheating on your spouse doesn’t just happen by random magic. Almost all infidelity is preceded by decisions demonstrating poor boundaries around the marriage and the relationship between the spouses. These boundaries are critically important in protecting a marriage from destructive external influences: including infidelity.
Whether you’re trying to reestablish trust after cheating on your spouse, or you want to avoid having one in the first place, the following list will help put the proper precautions in place to protect your spouse, your children, your marriage, and even you from the tragic consequences of an affair.
22 Ways to Avoid Cheating On Your Spouse
1. Do not allow yourself to fantasize about romance and sex with other people besides your spouse. Remember that infidelity starts with your ability to redirect your thoughts long before you have a need to control your body. Thoughts are the seeds of infidelity planted in your marriage. When you entertain the idea of cheating in your mind and allow yourself to be excited or aroused by the prospect…you have taken the first of many steps toward betraying and harming your spouse. Thought processes become patterns. If you don’t consciously practice thought patterns that protect your marriage, then destructive patterns will take hold instead. Have you ever had a thought of stealing something? Then, you think about the prospect of getting caught or being punished and you banish the thought from your mind, right? Or maybe you think about how being a thief is not the person you want to be and you banish the thought from your mind. Think of infidelity as emotional theft, with the same consequences to your life and character as any other kind of theft.
2. Don’t drink alcohol with coworkers, acquaintances, or strangers of the opposite sex. Alcohol (or other recreational drugs) lowers inhibitions and creates a much greater risk of crossing marital boundaries. So avoid going to venues without your spouse where alcohol and interaction with single people is encouraged….like bars, parties or gatherings after work hours.
3. Do not flirt. Flirting is always sexual. Flirting is for the sole communication of your attraction to another person and should be reserved for your spouse. Each time you flirt with another person, you have taken another step towards infidelity. When someone flirts with you, discourage it and avoid that person because it is their intent to fill your need for admiration and encourage you to cheat on your spouse. All affairs begin with flirting, and there is no such thing as innocent flirtation.
4. Assume you will get caught. Eventually almost everyone gets caught, and the pain and suffering it will cause your family is not worth the temporary ego boosting and pleasure. If you believe upfront that discovery is imminent, it will help you to resist the temptation. The smartest cheaters trip themselves up somewhere and give themselves away. The truth has a way of finding its way to the top, and has toppled some of the most powerful people in the world.
5. Imagine that your spouse is an audience. If he/she could hear and see everything you did throughout the day, how comfortable would you be? Imagine that your spouse is cc’d all of your emails, listening to your phone calls, or standing right beside you in your interactions with other people. How much harder would it be then to flirt or dismiss the pain you would cause by thoughtless actions?
6. The workplace has become a minefield for infidelity. Keep business interaction about business and in the office. Meet in groups whenever possible. Avoid out-of-the-office meetings where you’ll be alone with opposite sex colleagues. Avoid those same kinds of meetings in restaurants, bars, and especially private rooms. Avoid car rides alone with coworkers. Don’t offer a ride to others and don’t accept rides from them. Cars offer a level of privacy that is full of temptation.
7. Touch is very powerful human interaction, and casual contact is often used as a form of flirting to create sexual tension as well as communicate attraction. Hugs and kisses should be reserved for your spouse only, not wasted on casual greetings easily misunderstood. Resting your hand on a shoulder or forearm, holding a hand a little longer than necessary, massaging a neck, even patting someone’s back can all be an effort to subtly excite or arouse.
8. Eye contact is another powerful flirting tool. Research shows that long moments spent gazing into the eyes of the opposite sex creates powerful connections. For many people, that first long look is the absolute beginning of attraction. When a person becomes attracted to another, lingering eye contact plays a part in creating romantic feelings. The great thing is that spouses who take the time to gaze into each other’s eyes get a burst of romantic feelings. Do not hold long eye contact with someone other than your spouse, and if you catch someone staring at you or trying to make serious eye contact….understand their intentions and avoid them.
9. Be honest with yourself about your budding attractions for other people. If you are slightly attracted to someone else, or you find yourself looking forward to the next time you’ll see them again…recognize the temptation and the danger they pose for your marriage. Identify what needs that person may be meeting for you, and go home and work on getting that need met by your spouse.
10. Avoid consistency in opposite sex conversations. If your conversations are developing a theme, favorite topic or inside jokes (especially those you don’t share with your spouse), then your communication is becoming more intimate and likely to fulfill needs your spouse should fill. Intimacy always begins with communication and increases with familiarity and comfort in communication.
11. Don’t allow yourself to have a “special friend” at work or in your neighborhood…especially one that you’d rather keep to yourself or need to keep secret from your spouse. Most workplace affairs begin with people who started out as “just friends.” By nature, friendship is intimate, but opposite sex friendships can quickly move into the kind of intimacy that destroys marriages and families.
12. One of the biggest steps toward infidelity you can possibly take is to confess your attraction to someone else. It is the moment when the adultery train will really pick up speed. If you find yourself feeling more for someone than you should…do not tell them, because it’s like opening Pandora’s Box. Once you do this, or someone else confesses their feelings for you…you must take enormous precautions to end all contact because the risk for an affair is often unstoppable if you continue to see them.
13. When you suspect that someone may be attracted to you…talk to him/her about your spouse and children. Express your commitment to your family and your marriage and encourage their commitment by asking about their family as well. It’s very hard for married people to flirt when they’re discussing their children.
14. Get to know the spouses and children of the people you work with or interact with the most. It’s much harder to betray others when you care about them and see them as real.
15. As much as possible, surround yourself with happily married couples that are friends of your marriage and support your relationship.
16. Avoid friendships with people who are cheaters, enable cheating, or encourage you to cheat. The friends you want in your life are the ones who will support you in the most ethical and empowering parts of your life.
17. Show commitment to your spouse daily. Doing special things for your spouse reminds you of what they mean to you. Leave a sweet note. Call them and connect throughout your day. Make a date to take them somewhere. Think of new things to do together. Focus on the special things your spouse does for you instead of the little things others do to tempt you to cheat. Checking in with your spouse while you’re with other people demonstrates that you value your marriage.
18. Spend as much recreational time with your spouse as possible, and no recreational time with other members of the opposite sex. When you share your most enjoyable activities with other people, you put your marriage at risk and rob your spouse of the enjoyment you deserve together.
19. Wear your wedding ring at all times. Many people won’t honor that symbol of your marital status, but it is a reminder to you…not them…of your covenant with your spouse.
20. Open your life to your spouse. Let your spouse into all areas of your life, both figuratively and literally. If your spouse has access to all parts of your life, including your phone, computer and finances…it’s much harder to hide an affair. Affairs need secrecy, so the more transparent you are…the lower the risk for infidelity. Give your spouse the passwords and security codes that keeping from them could allow you to hide risky behavior or affairs.
21. Stop paying attention to the ways that Hollywood romanticizes affairs and start paying attention to the news! Look at the men and women on the news who have had their careers and lives changed because of infidelity. Look at the tragic consequences for everyone involved and start believing the facts instead of the fantasy. Affairs have the potential to create shame, disgrace and destruction no matter how long it takes for the truth to come out.
22. Treat yourself well everyday by imagining who you want to be and how you want to be remembered. Think about the man or woman you want your children to become and strive to be the best person to model themselves after. What we feed grows….so feed your character, integrity and spirituality.