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Cheating 101
Dr. Read explains why couples need to take action before the cheating can occur.

There are steps you can take to prevent your spouse from stuffing their ring in their pocket.

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?

The reality is there are too many unsatisfying and empty relationships. A major reason why infidelity statistics are high 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 under the right conditions you would do the same thing. Many people will sheepishly confirm 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 when you began a new liaison.

Ahhhh, the newby-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 luster 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 is great because they have the love-drug pumping through their veins. So if it 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—being too selfish to add up the devastation that will be reeked on their relationship.

What concerns me is: now that infidelity is so everyday, it seems both parties are not 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 quickly 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, especially in this kind of situation you never want to feel powerless.

Victims usually point the finger of blame at someone else. For example, women are more likely to blame the other woman for the indiscretion than to blame the cheating husband.

Another one, infidelitycheck.org, claims a big reason for extra marital affairs is: '"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."

Hog wash. People will seek out and find venues when their emotional needs are not being met. Hundreds of more examples of infidelity "fingerpointing" can be found in books and web articles.

The bottom line is: 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?
  1. 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?
  2. Always think of your partner in positive terms—there was a reason you decided to couple with them. Focus on what is good, instead of what is wrong or they might go and seek approval from other sources.
  3. Spend a minimum three hours a week of pure one-on-one time with your partner.
  4. Rate how easy or hard it is to communicate with difficult topics like sex, or what is bugging you. If it is hard, effectively work through your inability to communicate.
Finally, a strong partnership will usually not lead to cheating and will be better able to weather the storm if it does happen.

Dr. Trina Read has a doctorate in human sexuality. Dr. Read is also an international speaker and offers free sex tips on her website www.bestsextipsever.com.

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Over 1 million couples turn to Hitched for expert marital advice every year. Sign up now for our newsletter & get exclusive weekly content that will entertain, educate and inspire your marriage.

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