Avoiding the Slippery Slope. 5 tips to keep your marriage safe from an affair.
The slippery slope in work with couples means – the dangerous path of justification that leads to emotional or physical cheating on your partner. Often times our work with couples begins after an affair has already occurred – one or both partners has been justifying their actions along a continuum that may have started fairly innocently, but day by day grows more and more dangerous, resulting in the biggest betrayal to a relationship
Obviously, we’d recommend not allowing yourself to get to this place by really looking at what precautions , if any, you are taking in your relationship to avoid starting down this slippery slope. We can promise you that recovering from an affair once it has occurred is some of the hardest work you will do as a couple and isn’t always guaranteed success. It’s much easier to do work on the front end by establishing good boundaries to prevent even coming close to an affair. Here are our rules for “affair-proofing” your relationship – check these out and do an honest gut check around if you have ever violated these rules.
- Don’t speak negatively about your partner to anyone of the opposite sex. While it may feel good to vent frustrations and feel understood, the empathy you receive can create an inappropriate bond because that person will likely side with only you since they are hearing your side of the story.
- Don’t share your frustrations with someone who isn’t a friend of your marriage. We don’t need to get rid of every friend who doesn’t click with our partner but we do need to choose our topics carefully. Those that don’t know are partner well or aren’t their biggest fan are likely to collude with you to bash your spouse and heighten your irritation. The times that you do need to vent your frustrations share it with a same sexed close friend who is also a friend of your marriage. Someone who knows and likes your partner and will provide you with support while also reminding you why you love them.
- Don’t keep secrets from your partner about interactions you have with others. Meeting a coworker for lunch or texting with a friend? Let your partner know about it and provide some general details about what’s discussed. Feel uncomfortable telling your spouse about the interaction? That’s a major sign that you are doing something inappropriate and have already stepped on to the slippery slope
- Don’t over share intimate details of your life with appropriate people. Make sure you are turning towards your spouse with the intimate details first. Your spouse should know you better than anyone else because you are always sharing with them. We call that letting your partner in on your world and it will keep your connection consistently growing.
- Close the door on relationships that are not healthy to your current one. The old flame you still talk to “as a friend”, the person you kinda had a crush on a while ago but nothing happened, the person who bashes your spouse on a regular basis or tells you, ” you can do better”. These are people who are risky and can create cracks in your relationship, especially if the connection brings up difficult emotions for your current partner. Leaving doors open can be a first step to justifying closeness with people outside your primary relationship.
If you find yourself violating some of these rules or already walking down the slippery-slope path, it’s not too late to turn back. Contact us to help you get back on the right path.