How to Predict a Cheating Spouse Therapist Sharon Rivkin has created a "Affair Danger Levels" concept to help weight the likelihood of an affair in your marriage. BY SHARON RIVKIN, M.A., M.F.T.
If you're concerned about your spouse potentially cheating, be observant of their moves.
The same unanswered questions keep getting asked each time a celebrity or politician gets caught cheating: Why? Are they bored? Is the fear of getting caught exciting? Is monogamy just not their thing? Are they searching for an outlet for fetishes theyíre afraid to ask their partners about? Do they feel neglected by their mate? Is sex addiction a real thing or just a scapegoat for wrongdoings? Are cheaters just plain selfish, unremorseful, and uncaring about the feelings of their spouse?
To address these questions, I have devised an "Affair Danger Levels" concept to demonstrate how to avoid an affair from the very start, how to predict if your current relationship could suffer from an affair, how to prevent infidelity, heal from or move on from an indiscretion.
Affair Danger Levels
Level 1: Low.No marriage is immune from an affair. However, there is a very low likelihood that an affair would ever happen if the relationship is strong, the couple has good self-esteem and is mature, communication is open, there is respect, good impulse control, and high morals are present. We are all human and sometimes one slip-up could happen. If this happens, the ability to repair the relationship is better than in the other four levels.
Level 2: Moderate. There is a moderate chance of an affair occurring if an unaddressed lack in the relationship is starting to manifest for one of the partners and if there are unresolved arguments. The potential betrayer could be starting to seek some outside comfort and make emotional connections with others, possibly in the form of e-mails, texting, phone calls, etc., and may not even be conscious that this behavior could lead to a physical affair. An astute partner could notice the change in behavior and patterns and get proactive in addressing the problem together, before it leads to the actual physical affair.
Level 3: High. There is a high probability that an affair is happening if the betrayer is getting regular outside comfort from another person due to an unaddressed and ongoing lack in the relationship and long-term unresolved arguments. The betrayer is justifying his/her actions to himself/herself and forgetting about the potential consequences of such behavior or the impact on his/her partner and the relationship. Again, to the watchful eye of an attentive spouse, clues should be apparent. If your instincts tell you something isnít right, trust your feelings and investigate!
Level 4: Very High. There is a very high probability that an affair will happen if the betrayer is experiencing a lack in the current marriage, has a pattern of past betrayals, is not a good communicator, has low impulse control, and compartmentalizes his/her emotions. The betrayer could have narcissistic tendencies with no regard for the consequences of his/her behavior, or the extreme pain imposed on the victim/partner at the time. They may try to stop cheating, but without the intervention of an experienced therapist and a drastic change in behavior, the betrayer will continue to cheat after a brief cessation.
Level 5: Extreme. Affairs will not only happen, but be to the extreme if there is not only a lack in the current relationship along with a pattern of past betrayals, but the betrayer feels a huge sense of entitlement, is a narcissist, lacks any sense of remorse, and has virtually no impulse control. The betrayer may be classified as a sex addict. He/she does not experience any regard for consequences or the extreme pain imposed on the spouse at the time. They may try to stop cheating, but without the intervention of an experienced therapist and/or rehabilitation center, all hope for change is lost.
For the health of your relationship it is extremely important to be aware of signs of trouble before a full-blown affair occurs. It is important never to take your spouse or marriage for granted, become complacent, or let the communication close down. When a couple knows that relationships take attention and nurturing on a daily basis, infidelity can be avoided.
"Whatís the big deal? All I said was . . ." Sound familiar? Argument/affairs expert and therapist Sharon M. Rivkin helps couples fix their relationships by understanding why they fight. Sharon says, "If you donít get rid of the ghosts that haunt your arguments, youíll never stop fighting!" Read her new book, "Breaking the Argument Cycle: How to Stop Fighting Without Therapy," to learn the tools of therapy to break the cycle of destructive fighting. Sharon has been featured in "O: The Oprah Magazine," "Readerís Digest," and DrLaura.com, and appeared on Martha Stewart Whole Living Radio. http://www.sharonrivkin.com