Finding out your partner is cheating on you can devastate a relationship, breaking your trust and collapsing what you thought was an otherwise solid romantic foundation. The good news? There are plenty of reasons that partners cheat, and knowing how to spot them before your partner strays might help keep your relationship on the straight and narrow in the long run. Before you become a slave to your suspicions, find out some of the major reasons partners cheat and stop them before they start.
While there’s no right or wrong amount of sex to have, if you and your partner aren’t connecting physically at least once in a while, it might be easier for them to imagine having someone else in their bed instead. Even if you don’t always feel in the mood for sex, staying physically intimate in other ways, like holding hands, kissing, and cuddling, can help keep your relationship on solid ground.
If your partner has friends who take a blasé attitude toward fidelity, don’t be surprised if it rubs off on your significant other. People who spend time with friends who don’t consider cheating a big deal are likely to find themselves persuaded of the same.
While having a large home, whether it’s a farmhouse on lots of land or one of the spacious luxury condos at 21 East 12th Street, can be nice, but having too much space may actually prove harmful to your relationship. When you and your spouse decide that your staggered schedules or snoring make the guest bedroom a better place for one of you to sleep, it’s easy to start imagining yourself sleeping apart in the long-term—and potentially with someone else.
Whether you have to go home to take care of an ailing parent or are constantly traveling for work, long-distance relationships can strain even the strongest relationships. Even if you initially enjoy having a little time to yourself while your partner is away, if you’re spending weeks in San Francisco while your partner is in New York, it’s easy to feel not only physically, but emotionally distant from one another. If you’re forced to be apart often, or for a long period of time, make sure you make time to Skype or chat on a regular basis or you might find yourselves drifting apart.
As strange as it may sound, jealous partners tend to be the ones who are most inclined to cheat. The insecurity that accompanies jealousy often makes partners lash out in unhealthy ways, like cheating, assuming that it’s a foregone conclusion that their partner will do the same.
If you’re regularly spending long nights at the office, your partner may find it more difficult to stay faithful. When your work schedule interferes with the amount of time you can spend together, it’s easy for your partner to start imagining how nice it would be to have someone else there when you’re not. Whenever possible, try to limit your work hours and make your significant other a priority; at the very least, try to keep your work and personal lives separate and make your home a no-work zone.
While it is possible for people to change if they have the desire and take the time to, past behavior does tend to be a good indicator for what someone is likely to do in the future. If your partner has cheated on you or another partner in the past, you might want to keep a watchful eye if their behavior toward you suddenly changes. If they’ve been able to justify straying from what’s supposed to be a committed relationship in the past, odds are they can do the mental gymnastics to make it seem like no big deal again.
Physical affairs aren’t the only ones that can do irreparable harm to relationships. Emotional affairs—the kind where you’re sharing your secrets and flirting with someone who’s not your spouse—can be just as damaging in the long run. If you or your partner seems to be getting a little too close to a friend or co-worker, and is sharing the kind of details of their life with that person that they used to share with you, a physical affair might not be far off. If you feel like your partner is having an emotional affair, make sure to clearly define what cheating means to you; often partners won’t realize that their behavior is crossing a line until they’re called on it.
While there’s never an excuse for cheating, that doesn’t mean there aren’t often warning signs before an affair starts. Knowing the factors that tend to precede cheating will help you nip relationship problems in the bud before they become catastrophic issues. Maintaining physical intimacy, being honest, and making time for each other will all help keep your relationship healthy and keep either partner from straying for years to come.