Tempted to have an affair? Worried that your significant other might meet another significant person? Read this excerpt from Adultery, The Forgivable Sin by Dr. Bonnie Eaker-Weil and get expert advice on resisting -- and preventing -- an affair.
Oscar Wilde once said that the only way to get rid of temptation was to yield to it, but remember: He ended up in jail.
Once you've established your boundaries, there are ways to patrol them and to minimize the threats from without and within.
If You Are the One Who Feels Tempted:
Ask yourself what you see in the other person that you cannot or do not get from your mate. Then ask your mate whether he or she would and could meet those needs.
If the attraction is purely physical, try to imagine your target 10 years older and 20 pounds heavier.
Make a list of the person's annoying habits, such as biting nails or smoking. (That skips the honeymoon stage and takes you straight to the power struggle.) Look at this negative list three times a day.
Draw up a list of the things you love about your mate. Look at this positive list three times a day. Tell your mate what's on this love list, and encourage more of the same.
Remember: Meeting encourages cheating. If you're trying to fight an attraction to someone or you don't want to develop one:
- Don't go on a pub crawl with the gang unless you bring your spouse. It's not an accident that most country songs about cheating take place in honky-tonks and bars. Alcohol lowers inhibitions.
- Don't lunch alone with your friend all the time; invite some others along.
- Don't be the last to leave a party or business dinner with this person, and don't offer a ride home.
- Talk positively about your spouse to your friend. Complaints don't count -- and if you both start talking about your rotten sex lives at home, you're hooked.
- If permitted, invite your partner along to social and business functions such as overnight conventions, Christmas parties and outings. If not, have him or her pick you up at the office, and make introductions to your special pal.
- Don't share your mate. It's fine to lend a hand to a deserving friend, but since four hands are even better, why don't you go along?
- Don't sulk at home. If evening entertaining or cocktails is part of your partner's business, make it part of yours, too.
- Keep up with your mate's business and other interests.
- Ask what new sexual techniques your partner would like to try, and tell him or her your secret desires.
- Plan frequent outings without the kids. Try activities you know the other person likes.
- When you are apart, communicate meaningfully. Don't limit yourself to perfunctory phone calls. Talk at least 10 minutes a day.
- If he or she is going to be on the road for a long time, tuck a tape of your voice reading their favorite books or poems into their luggage.
- Make sure your mate has a current, flattering picture of you for the office, and maybe some fun snapshots, too.
- If you're hearing more than you care to about some colleague, invite the person along to a dinner or party so you can check out the competition firsthand.
- When you do meet potential rivals, establish your turf. Dress up. Be affectionate -- put your arm around your mate. Make some inside jokes or refer to some times you've shared together.