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How To Guard Against Infidelity

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Infidelity

How To Guard Against Infidelity

Stopping infidelity dead in its tracks

Loving thoughts can prove disastrous. To prevent infidelity, get savvy.

Affairs can from time to time tempt anyone.  Yes; all couples are at risk for ruptures in their relationship from infidelity if they do not know how to prevent it. Psychologist Shirley Glass first clarified that most infidelity is triggered by inadvertent occurrences that evolve from intimate conversations in private places.  The most likely candidates for igniting sexual passions are old flames who reappear in your world, and work associates with whom there have been flirtatious interactions or intensive alone together work time. What do couples need to understand about these factors to lower the risk of their having to deal with infidelities after they have happened?

Talking intimately, that is, about private aspects of your personal life, with anyone can ignite sexual feelings.  Verbal openness with someone of the opposite sex who is not your spouse begets impulses to sexual openness.  Closeness of understanding invites impulses to become close sexually.That’s not about being a moral or immoral person.  It’s the reality of how we humans have been biologically programmed.

If a person with whom we have an intimate conversation happens to be either an old flame or a work associate, the odds of sexual feelings igniting zoom further upward.

Why a work associate?  Working closely together in private situations, that is, with the office door closed, and worst of all travel alone together with a work associate of the other sex, is highly likely to raise temptingly titillating sexual feelings.  Once you are in a situation where you have to rely on self-discipline, you are entering high risk territory.

Anything that feels good invites us to experience more of it. 

The stronger the arousal of positive feelings and especially of potent sexual feelings, the more that trigger has potential to override our good judgment.  Our brains are programmed to encourage us to do what we need to do to experience good feelings again, and again, and again.

Sex can especially feel good.

That’s the good news and the bad news, though it’s in fact no news, just obvious, to most of us.   Herein lies the main challenge regarding delightful feelings of sexual arousal.

As much as we may value fidelity, we are biologically designed for new sex to arouse more potent sexual feelings than old. 

Meet, for instance, Mr. and Mrs Gerbil.  Put a male and female gerbil together in a cage.  Guess what they do?  Copulate.  Many times.

When scientists count these copulations they find a telling pattern.  Over time, with familiarity, the number of copulations gradually decreases.  Mr. and Mrs. Gerbil find a comfortable plateau at which copulation rate they have potential to live together happily ever after.  There’s a gradual lowering of their average daily copulation rate over time, but wherever the plateau rests, they seem contented.

Familiarity may not breed contempt but it does lower a couple’s copulation rates.  The actual satisfaction from copulation may not be lowered.  Many couples in fact find that satisfaction from sexual acts increases over time.  But the intensity of pre-copulation arousal decreases.

Now comes the problem.  Put Mr. and Mrs. Gerbil into two separate cages.  Add a new Mrs. for him, and a new Mr. for her.  Boom.  Copulation rates zoom up for both of the new couples, rising immediately to the copulation rate of the initial pairing.

Additional new partners or each gerbil will cause repeats again and again of the same pattern. New partner; heightened sexual interest every time.

Does that mean that mammals are meant for multiple partners?   No.

No first of all because higher intensity of initial arousal does not mean that the sexual experience overall will be better.  To the contrary, while familiar partners may evoke lower initial levels of interest, which is the first of four aspects of sexual satisfaction, familiar partners by contrast tend to lead to more positive gratification in the other three realms.

After initial arousal of interest, the actual stimulation phase, phase 2 of sexual activity, is generally more gratifying for sexual partners who know each other well.

That’s why phase 3, orgasm, tends to be more consistent with a long-term and familiar partner.

And phase 4, the post-coital phase of enjoying being together, is enhanced for people in long-term commited relationships who are aware at some level that making love together has enhanced the security of their attachment to each other.

Post-coital bonding.

People are not gerbils.  People have an additional phenomenon called pair bonding.

Not all people have the pair-bonding gene.  But most do, perhaps because it generally takes two mammals to raise offspring.  One needs to forage for food while the other protects and nurtures the young.  Or in our contemporary world, two increase the odds that they jointly will be able to earn a living effectively enough to pay for housing, food, child care, clothes, leisure and savings for old age as well as to manage child care and home care.

In addition, successful couples tend to like each other.  Like Adam with Eve, they prefer companionship to loneliness.  They treasure continuation of their partnership ’till death do us part.’  Saving sex as a pleasure they enjoy only with each other is generally part of their contract.

So how can couples protect against inadvertent affairs?  Here’s five essential policies that are worth discussing together before sexual enticements with new potential partners enter the picture.

  1. Marry your loved one.  Sexual fidelity promises work best when they simply add to inherent feelings of treasuring a partnership.
  2. If sexual feelings come up with people outside of your marriage partnership, bring these feelings home.  That is, let them enhance your sexual enjoyment with your loved one, like a romantic movie can add to your marriage.
  3. Do not however seek out or encourage sexualized interactions with others.  Flirtatious behavior starts you down the path to infidelity. Titillating interactions may be fun at the moment but can lead to destruction of your marriage, which is no fun whatsoever. If flirtation is seeming tempting, switch to rekindling the flames in your marriage.
  4. If excessively tempting sexual feelings do come up with someone with whom you must have repeated contact, especially with an old flame or a work associate as these are the two highest risk categories, tell your spouse.  Honesty and openness have huge protective benefits.  Stay a team and figure out together a plan of action.
  5. When you are interacting with someone of the other gender, especially at the office, when you are traveling without your spouse, or if you happen to reconnect with an old flame, protect yourself with the following realistic policies.

a)  Avoid discussions of personal topics. Talk about practical or business matters. Save personal talks for your spouse or same sex friends.

b)   Do not play alone together.  For instance, on business trips, dine in a group.

c)   Meet only in public spaces.  Stay clear of private places where “something” could happen.

d)  Avoid alcohol if you must be in a one on one situation.

e)  Separate yourself immediately from a situation that you may not be able to handle.

Photo Source:Cheating Wives Narrowed Infidelity Gap Over Two Decades from mystockphoto.com

Author’s Books

Susan Heitler, Ph.D., is a Denver clinical psychologist who specializes in treatment of anxiety, depression, anger, narcissism, parenting challenges, and marital difficulties.
An author of multiple books, articles, audio cd’s and videos, Dr. Heitler is best known in the therapy community for having brought understandings of conflict resolution from the legal and business mediation world to the professional literature on psychotherapy.
David Decides About Thumbsucking, Dr. Heitler’s first book, has been recommended for over twenty years by children’s dentists to help young children end detrimental sucking habits.
From Conflict to Resolution, an innovative conflict-resolution theory of psychopathology and treatment, has strongly influenced the work of many therapists.
The Power of Two and The Power of Two Workbook, and also Dr. Heitler’s  website for couples called PowerOfTwoMarriage.com, teach the skills for marriage success.
In addition to her clinical work, Dr. Heitler coaches boards of directors in skills for collaboarative decision-making and, in the world of professional sports, Dr. Heitler serves as mental coach for a men’s doubles tennis team.

Education
Dr. Heitler graduated from Harvard  University in 1967, and earned her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from NYU in 1975.

Awards and Accomplishments
The editors of the master therapist video series Assessment and Treatment of Psychological Disorders selected Dr. Heitler from all the marriage and family therapists in the US to demonstrate the theory and techniques of couple treatment.  Her video from this series, The Angry Couple: Conflict Focused Treatment has become a staple in psychologist and marriage counseling training programs.
The editors of the Psychologist Desk Reference, a compendium of therapeutic interventions, selected Dr. Heitler to write the chapter onTreating High Conflict Couples. Other editors of books on counseling theory and techniques have similarly invited her to contribute chapters on her conflict resolution treatment methods.
Dr. Heitler’s 1997 book The Power of Two (New Harbinger), which clarifies the communication and conflict resolution skills that sustain healthy marriages, has been translated for publication in six foreign language editions–in China, Taiwan, Israel, Turkey, Brazil and Poland.
Dr. Heitler has been invited to present workshops on her conflict resolution methods for mediators and lawyers, psychologists, and marriage and family therapists throughout the country.  She has been a popular presenter at national professional conferences including AAMFT, APA, SmartMarriages, and SEPI and has lectured internationally in Austria, Australia, Canada, China, Israel, Lebanon, Spain, and the United Arab Emirates.
Dr. Heitler is frequently interviewed in magazines such as FitnessMen’s HealthWomen’s World, and Parenting.  Her cases have appeared often in the Ladies Home Journal column “Can This Marriage Be Saved?”  She is often interviewed by Denver TV newscasters for her perspectives on psychological aspects of current events.
In May, 2004 Dr. Heitler appeared on the CBS Early Show where anchor Harry Smith introduced her as “the most influential person in my life—my therapist.”  He encouraged his viewers similarly to seek therapy when they are emotionally distressed and pre-marital counseling when they are contemplating marriage.
Most recently, Dr. Heitler, three of her adult children and one of their friends were awarded a U.S. government Healthy Marriages Initiative grant to produce interactive games for teaching marriage communication and conflict resolution skills over the internet.  Seehttp://poweroftwomarriage.com to experience their fun, low-cost, high-impact methods of teaching the skills for a strong and loving marriage.

Personal
Dr.  Heitler and her husband of almost 40 years are proud parents of four happily married adult children and are grandparents, thus far, of a a baker’s dozen grandchildren.

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