Good communication can prevent affairs by keeping relationships strong. It is especially important that couples share their thoughts and feelings about each other. When couples express their appreciation of each other, they highlight all that feels good. By praising your partner for accomplishments or for particular characteristics (e.g. hard working, benevolent), they will feel positively about themselves and you. By thanking your partner for doing something nice for you, you let them know that you value them.
Another important part of good communication is talking about conflicts and painful feelings. People who are emotionally close are bound to step on each other’s toes sometimes. When this happens, it’s important that they talk about it. This helps the ‘offended party’ by giving them an opportunity to share their experience; and hopefully feel validated and cared about by their partner’s response. It also helps the ‘offending party’ know the effect of their action; and provides an opportunity for them to offer a sincere apology, sharing their deep feelings of caring.
Partners can also prevent affairs by proactively staying away from situations that threaten their fidelity. While conducting couple therapy over the years, I’ve seen how both men and women have formed innocent friendships that eventually developed into affairs. So, to prevent an affair from developing, it is important that people are aware of this possibility and disconnect from (or put distance in) such relationships early on. They would also do well to think about whether there is something missing from their main relationship that leaves them vulnerable to looking elsewhere — and then to work on remedying that situation.
Unfortunately, there is no absolutely sure way to prevent affairs or to ensure that someone you love won’t hurt you. But maintaining good communication and proactively protecting your relationship are two very good ways to nurture a happy, monogamous relationship.
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