Love, Heartbreak

8 Ways To Stop Yourself From Cheating (Even If You Really Want To)

Photo: Ayo Ogunseinde via Unsplash
How To Stop Yourself From Cheating, Infidelity, Or Having An Affair In Your Marriage

If you suddenly find yourself in a boring marriage, the temptation to have an affair is exciting, but the truth is, you really don't want to fall into the hole of infidelity.

Someone just caught your eye in a totally new way — someone who is not your spouse. Maybe you've known them for years or maybe you've just met. The logical part of your brain says, "Don't do this. Cheating is not right." But, your brain's reactive limbic system screams, "Yes! Yes! Yes! Let's go for it!"

You stop for a moment and did you end up here?! How did you end up considering turning into a cheating spouse?!

RELATED: 8 Things You Should Know About Cheaters, According To Science

If this sounds familiar, you aren't alone. Many experts say that women experience an increased desire to have an affair between 6-10 years of marriage, with a peak urge between ages 40-45 (just prior to menopause). Meanwhile, the desire for men to break their vows grows the longer they are married. Their infidelity rate peaks between ages 55-65. 

Why do men cheat? Why do women cheat? Why do people cheat on the spouses they claim to love?

There are many studies that examine all the potential answers. And most agree that individuals are more likely to ignore their marriage vows when they feel jealous, angry, hurt, or sexually or emotionally unsatisfied.

A team of Israeli researchers recently decided to look at the other half of the coin and explore how tempted folks stop themselves from cheating.

They discovered that people who successfully avoid an affair tend to:

  • Have high moral/religious standards.
  • Worry that because of the affair, they might end up alone.
  • Fear that the affair might harm their children.
  • Consider who else might be hurt, specifically their new romantic partners.

If you are on the verge of being unfaithful and want to stop before it's too late, you first need to calm your brain's reactive limbic system.

Go somewhere quiet and breathe, slowly. Once you feel more relaxed, consider the points above that make sense to you. 

RELATED: 5 Excuses People Give For Cheating That Are Total Lies (& The Real Reasons Why People Cheat)

As a marriage and family therapist, I've seen the immense damage infidelity does to relationships. The anger and loss of trust can be devastating.

So, while you fight the urge to go off with someone else, invest in your current relationship.

According to Marilyn Volker Ed.D., a nationally respected sex therapist, there are eight forms of intimacy:

  1. Affection (not sexual): Thank your partner for something they do. Say, "I love you" or "I'm so glad we are together." Give them a hug and quick kiss when they arrive home from work. 
  2. Physical (not sexual): Go for a walk, a swim, or bike ride together. If you have a ping pong table, challenge your partner to a game or two.
  3. Aesthetic: Go outside and watch the sunset together. Stroll through an art gallery and view the paintings. Join your partner in the den and ask Alexa to play a song you both enjoy.
  4. Spiritual: Pray or meditate together.  Discuss a spiritual topic, attend church or synagogue together.
  5. Intellectual: If you share political views, discuss the 2020 election.  Or, talk about a topic you recently heard or read about. 
  6. Social: Go out to a restaurant, see a movie, double date with friends, etc.
  7. Emotional: Share your feelings about something.
  8. Sexual: Shower together, share a bubble bath, or more.

So, don't be a cheating wife or a cheating husband. Avoid the temptation of having an affair by doing at least one of these 8 things in your marriage each day.

As you may have guessed, having sex isn't the only way to build intimacy in a relationship.

Couples therapist, John Gottman, found that it takes 5 positive acts to make up for each negative one. That's how powerful hurtful words and actions can be. Use these forms of intimacy to help build up the number of positive acts you do. 

They will, hopefully, help you heal and strengthen your relationship.

Are you in a good marriage that you would like to make even better?  

Contact me to participate in a fascinating study. I am looking for couples to try an innovative behavioral strategy I developed to enhance emotional and physical relationships. To qualify, you must be the following:

  • Married (heterosexual) for at least 5 years
  • Have some level of intimacy with your partner - it doesn't matter how often you kiss, hug or go to bed together, you just can't be platonic roomies 
  • Are not currently in couples counseling
  • Don't have any medical issues that could interfere with sexual activity (i.e. untreated erectile dysfunction)
  • Are not pregnant

RELATED: How To Stop Yourself From Cheating — No Matter How Tempting The Other Man or Woman May Be

Janis Roszler, LMFT, RD, LD/N, CDE, FAND is a licensed marriage and family therapist, the 2008-2009 diabetes educator of the year, and the author of numerous books and articles on the impact diabetes has on romantic and sexual relationships.