04/24/2014 09:09 EDT | Updated 06/24/2014 05:59 EDT

How to Keep Your Relationship Infidelity-Free

Cheating on your significant other is dangerously sexy and fun. It is an elixir to get the juices flowing and awakens a sweet feeling of aliveness that bubbles over within. Why else would someone risk it all for a bit of sex?

Does that statement make you angry?

In the Journal of Couple & Relationships Therapy 2002, the Atwood & Schwartz study revealed 45 to 55 per cent of married women and 50 to 60 per cent of married men engage in extramarital sex at some time or another during their relationship.

The reality is there are too many unsatisfying and empty relationships. A major reason why relationships feel empty is people place a greater value on their careers, children, friends or hobbies than on their partner.

Consequently in today's instant gratification society, at least half of men and women are looking for a quick fix of what they need outside of their relationship. As much as you might contest it, I bet that, under the right conditions, you might do the same thing. Many people will sheepishly confirm that falling into an extramarital situation is surprisingly easy.

How can a good person with honest intentions turn out to be a cheating spouse? Think back to the when you began a new liaison.

Ahhhh, the newbie stages of a relationship: sex like bunnies and boundless euphoric energy. It is the 'love-drug' that every person should have a hit of at least once in his or her life.

After the lustre of the honeymoon phase is over and the relationship becomes "work," circumstances such as kids, overwork and financial difficulties force the couple to dog-paddle in very deep water.

This becomes the juncture where many couples -- instead of turning to each other for support -- turn against each other. Their once perfect partner now turns into the target for all the angst, uncertainty and frustration going on in the relationship. The emotional connection is severed and, not surprisingly, the sex stops or is unbearably infrequent.

Somewhere along the way -- feeling lonely, helpless, emotionally void and not sexy -- the spouse meets someone. That someone takes an interest, or perhaps there is that mutual chemistry. The love-drug starts producing all of its wonderful chemicals in the brain. Not every person will act on this impulse, and yet at least half of the population does.

There you have it: a perfectly nice person having an affair and the couple is then just another infidelity statistic.

People who cheat usually do not feel good about their choice. Yet people inevitably will default to what is easy first. Plus, the payoff for their actions feels great because they have the love-drug pumping through their veins.

If cheating is easy and there is a high payoff, why wouldn't they?

Unfortunately, as with any easy instant gratification, no time has been taken to figure out the cost of their actions. They are too selfish to add up the devastation that will be wreaked on their relationship.

What concerns me is, with the popularity of sites like Ashley Madison, infidelity is so everyday. It seems neither party is taking responsibility for the mess that had been created inside their relationship pre-cheating.

On one side, the cheater would rather go outside the relationship to quick fix their emotional void. On the other side, many cheated-ons are so distraught they allow themselves to fall into a victim role. Being a victim equals being powerless. Trust me: you never want to feel powerless, especially in this kind of situation.

Victims usually point the finger of blame at someone else. Men and women are more likely to blame the other man/ woman for the indiscretion than to blame the cheating spouse.

One website, Infidelity Check, claims that a big reason for extra marital affairs is cybersex. "'Cybersex' is more than just a buzz word in today's culture. It is a danger to families and as addictive as crack cocaine without the sociological stigma. It's easy to hide and highly destructive."

Hogwash. People will seek out and find venues when their emotional needs are not being met. If you want to avoid becoming yet another statistic, you must nurture your relationship and not allow your relationship to limp along on autopilot. How?

  • Figure out what/who the top five priorities are in your life. Is your partner one of them? Do your actions follow through on your words?
  • Always think of your partner in positive terms instead of what is wrong, or they might go and seek approval from other sources.
  • Spend a minimum of time every week on pure one-on-one time with your partner.
  • Rate how easy or hard it is to communicate about difficult topics like sex or whatever is bugging you.

A strong partnership will usually not lead to cheating and will be better able to weather the storm if it does happen.


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