Infidelity can wreak havoc on relationships, leading previously trusting partners to become suspicious and devastating the strong ties between two people who love one another. An estimated 30 percent to 65 percent of married people will cheat at some point during their marriage.

And it’s never been easier to do so, especially with online dating and hook-up apps like Tinder and Ashley Madison proving immensely popular. It’s now easier than ever for your spouse to meet someone in real life with just a few clicks. No questions asked.

With affairs, it’s certainly true that prevention is much better than cure. There are proven factors that make relationships more prone to infidelity, and you can seek to shut them down before one partner is unfaithful.

How can you stop an affair before it even starts?

Listen to Your Partner

Many affairs begin when one partner starts to confide in someone outside the relationship about their dreams, fears, or frustrations, feeling like they can’t speak to their spouse about these things. Even when you have a busy day-to-day life, make time to listen to your partner’s feelings, and don’t jump into an argument if they say something you don’t like.

Be Open About Frustration

You should also open up about any frustrations you feel in the relationship. Do you need more attention, freedom, respect, or assistance? Bottling up these feelings can force you toward other people, and this is the space in which infidelity can blossom. Be honest with your partner about your frustrations; resolving these issues is essential for the strength of your relationship.

Remain Sexually Intimate

A healthy sex life is one of the strongest protections against extramarital affairs. Many people stray for emotional reasons, but the most common cause of cheating is a sexual outlet that isn’t fulfilled within the relationship. Discuss your sex life and aim to reignite sexual intimacy so that you are making love regularly and pleasurably.

Prioritize Your Future

Affairs can become almost inevitable in a long-term relationship that’s going nowhere. Make sure you are planning together for a future that is secure and exciting, whether that’s saving to buy a house together, making plans for retirement, or even just discussing your dream holiday. Investing in your joint future provides incentives not to stray.

Admit to Extramarital Attraction

It’s natural to be attracted to people who aren’t your partner — who hasn’t looked at George Clooney or Scarlett Johansson and thought “Wow!”? Being able to admit fleeting attractions to other people, whether they’re celebrities or mutual friends, is a strong protector against infidelity. Hidden feelings for another person can grow quickly, so getting them out in the open is healthy.

Treat your Partner with Respect

It might sound obvious but not giving your partner a reason to stray can often prevent an affair happening in the first place. Being disrespectful to your partner or demeaning them, especially in front of others is a common reason for infidelity. We all want to feel valued and loved. A lack of respect or taking them for granted may cause your spouse to seek fulfilment outside of the relationship.

They may not be looking for sexual gratification, at least at the outset, but rather a sense of self-worth and respect.

Therefore always be mindful of the way you treat your partner and what you say to them.

Have Fun Together

Even when life becomes busy and you have responsibilities to attend to, make time to have fun together. Whether it’s watching a movie, going for a walk, or just having a light-hearted chat, you need to provide enjoyment for one another. Otherwise, it’s easy to think of your relationship as too serious and an affair as an outlet for fun.

It can be difficult for couples to recover from infidelity, even with the help of couples therapy and a foundation of love and trust. The best way forward is to prevent cheating from happening in the first place, so be proactive and keep the gates of communication open with your partner.

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