The comedian Rodney Dangerfield once quipped, "What a kid I got, I told him about the birds and the bees and he told me about the butcher and my wife." What gets laughs during a comedy routine, however, can be absolutely heartbreaking when encountered in your own relationship. While there are no guarantees that you'll never be cheated on, you can take precautions to minimize the chance of getting a broken heart.
Choose the Right Partner
The ability to resist the urge to cheat is directly linked to a person's level of executive functioning, according to psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman in a May 2011 blog in "Psychology Today." When that function becomes overwhelmed, as can be the case with excessive stress or alcohol consumption, a person becomes less able to resist unhealthy impulses. Resistance is also weakened if he or she has multiple opportunities to cheat.
Keep an open line of communication. Be a person whom your partner can talk to whether he or she is feeling a lack of sexual satisfaction or emotional distance. A study published in the June 2012 "International Journal of Sexual Health" found that a lack of sexual or emotional satisfaction were both major reasons for a person having initiated an affair. Effective communication helps to ensure that those problems don't go undetected and unaddressed.
Read the Clues
Keep your eyes open for behavior that can be a prelude to cheating. Secretiveness, argumentativeness and complaining about feeling dissatisfied are all signs that a partner might be vulnerable to infidelity, says psychologist Susan Perry in a July 2011 article in "Psychology Today." Pay attention to how your partner responds to movies depicting romanticized version of love, as well. A person who thinks that a "soul mate" might still be out there somewhere is likely to have unrealistic views about long-term love, says Perry.
As much as you'd like reassurance that you can prevent your heart from being trodden on by a cheater, ultimately, there's nothing you can do to be 100 percent certain that a partner won't cheat. Mira Kirshenbaum, author of "When Good People Have Affairs: Inside the Hearts and Minds of People in Two Relationships," has identified 17 reasons why people cheat. Some of them, such as the desire to see if he or she is still attractive to others or the desire to have an experience missed prior to meeting you, have absolutely nothing to do with you or your relationship. Ultimately, all you can do is take your relationship one day at a time and enjoy the time you have together.
- Psychology Today: 6 Clues to Your Partner's Future Infidelity
- "When Good People Have Affairs: Inside the Hearts and Minds of People in Two Relationships"; Mira Kirshenbaum
- International Journal of Sexual Health: Motivations and Emotional Consequences Related to Engaging in Extramarital Relationships
- Psychology Today: Why Do People Resist the Temptation to Cheat?
- Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images