Here is April’s installment of “Ask Shelby” from Chester County’s own Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Shelby Riley.
I am freaking out! So many of my friends are having problems because of an affair. How can I make sure this doesn’t happen to my marriage?
Signed, Married for Life
Dear Married for Life,
I have a tremendous amount of respect for your desire to affair-proof your marriage. There are no guarantees in marriage or in life, but there are many things you can do to protect your marriage from infidelity. Here are some Dos and Don’ts:
*Find time every day to connect with your spouse, even if it’s only 10 minutes. Emotional affairs (which often lead to sexual affairs) often happen when people feel lonely in a marriage.
*Remember you are more than a mom and your spouse is more than your friend. Put some energy into acting like a romantic partner.
*Show your spouse love and respect. Keep complaining and criticizing to a minimum and talk about the ways your spouse wows you, amazes you, and interests you.
*Maintain a healthy sex life. Try new things to keep it fresh and interesting. Exercise and eat healthfully so you feel good about your body.
*Maintain healthy boundaries with others. If you think your spouse would be uncomfortable if he found out about something you are doing with someone else, don’t do it.
*Confide in someone of the opposite sex (or someone you may be sexually attracted to) about problems in your marriage.
*Use drinking or drug use as an excuse to indulge in risky behavior.
*Flirt with others as a way to punish your spouse, or pursue inappropriate relationships because you feel entitled to get something your spouse isn’t giving you.
*Fool yourself into thinking you or your spouse are incapable of cheating. Every person is capable of cheating and you want to stay 11 steps back from tempting situations. Don’t wait until you are one step away to try to pull yourself out of a risky situation.
I wish you and your husband a long, happy, passionate marriage,
Remember to check out Shelby’s website www.shelbyrileymft.com for useful information about therapy for individuals, couples, and families.