Tag Archives: affairs

Affair-Proof Your Marriage

There are two kinds of people who have affairs.  The first are just bad people.  Their self-indulgence and untrustworthiness stems from low character, not a troubled marriage.  If it feels good to them, they’ll do it.

It’s a dumb waste of money to spend time in counseling with a serial cheater.  If your spouse has been unfaithful more than once and refuses to be held accountable for their actions, your appointment should not be with a marriage therapist – it should be with a divorce lawyer (and a really good one at that).

The second type of cheater isn’t “bad,” they simply may be going outside the marriage to have their needs met.  Now, I want to make one thing perfectly clear: I’m not saying that there’s any excuse for someone to have an affair. Affairs are bad and there is no justification for breaching your vows.  All I’m doing is giving an explanation for why some people have them.

I can’t tell you how many times callers on my show have told the lie, “My spouse’s affair came out of nowhere and took me completely by surprise.” I say “lie” because after a bit of questioning, they admit about 99.8 percent of the time that there were problems:

“He complained that we weren’t having sex.”
“She complained that I never listened or helped around the house…”

The bottom line: their spouse wasn’t being fed.

Typically, the person who has been cheated on jumps to blame instead of looking at their participation in their spouse’s fooling around.  They make it all about how they’ve been hurt, and ignore the fact that they’ve betrayed their vows by not supporting or paying attention to their spouse.

If you can understand how you’ve contributed to a hungry spouse going out to a different restaurant, you can start making the menu better at your home, and the whole thing could be reversed.  Blaming isn’t useful – explaining the issue(s) is.

Knowing whether it was an emotional or physical affair is also important.  The distinction allows you to see what was missing in the marriage.  What was so appealing about that person or situation?

One of the letters in my book, The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands, is from a high-paid, ex call girl. In the letter, she explains how most of the married men who came to her were not particularly focused on having sex.  Instead, they wanted to have dates with wine, roses, hugging, talking, and taking baths together.  Why? Because their wives didn’t act like their girlfriends.

So, with that in mind, let me give you some suggestions on how to be your husband’s girlfriend/wife’s boyfriend and affair-proof your marriage:

1. Choose wisely.  If you’re dating someone who’s spent time going from sexual partner to sexual partner or shacked up before you met them, then their lifestyle is not one of monogamy.  That’s one of the many reasons why I advise against people having a lot of sexual partners – it becomes easy to turn to because you’re so familiar with it.

2. Don’t ignore your spouse’s complaints. Whether it’s about housework, money, affection, in-laws, or texting, when your spouse tries to express the reasons for his or her unhappiness, you need to listen.  You don’t have to necessarily agree with every point they’re bringing up, but you do need to acknowledge their discomfort and do something to improve the situation.

3. Don’t let sex fall off the radar.  Sex is a big part of marriage, and people who are having regular, good sex with each other tend not to get as pissy about the small stuff.  It’s amazing what a big eraser great sex is to small annoyances.

4. Wake up every morning, look at your spouse, and think about three things you could do to make them happy they’re alive and married to you.  Show appreciation as opposed to having a complaint.

5. Put down the damn cell phone!  Stop texting and talk to your spouse. It’s pretty crummy to feel second-fiddle to a smartphone.

6. Talk to your spouse as though you love them. You love this person – so act like it!  Always ask yourself, “Would a person who loved this person behave/talk this way?”

7. Have fun family and marital rituals. Put the kids to bed and watch a movie, take walks, or play a game together.  Just have some fun with each other.

If you do these things, the chances that one of you will have an affair will be somewhere between zero and none.

Why Shacking Up Isn’t All It’s Cracked Up to Be

Couples who shack up before marriage are more likely to divorce, experience domestic violence, have sexual and emotional problems, and be involved in affairs. Yet, regardless of the statistics, people continue to do it.

The myth couples use to justify shacking up is that by living together before marriage, they can “test drive the car” and have a more satisfying and longer-lasting marriage. But it’s just the opposite.  People shack up because they are skittish about commitment and, therefore, more likely to call it quits when problems arise.

In addition, couples who shack up actually lose objectivity because they’re not looking at the relationship from a distance.  They literally haven’t had the “space” to step back and objectively consider whether this person is truly the best match for them.  Instead, they sort of just drift into marriage.

Another reason not to shack up: You won’t have a healthy relationship with your extended family.  A supportive extended family is one of the things that makes a marriage work.  However, moms, dads, siblings, and other family members are not going to expend as much effort, caring, and commitment to you as a couple when it’s an iffy situation.  People often forget that and then complain about their family not treating their shack-up stud or honey like family. Well hell, if you want them to be treated like family, make them family!

Quite frankly, if you shack up, you are basically saying that your future marriage isn’t valuable enough to be worth waiting and making tough sacrifices for.  I love it when people shack up and then demand a traditional wedding. How can you choose to live in a tremendously untraditional way and still expect your parents to cough up the money for a traditional party?  If a kid wants to slap the face of tradition, they are on their own.

Finally (and most importantly), shacking up hurts kids.  If (and usually when) a woman gets pregnant in a shack-up situation, there is a high probability that the sperm donor will split within two years, which results in a never-married-single-mom raising a fatherless child. A guy who is screwing a woman without laying down his life for her doesn’t want to be a dad – he’s just getting off.

In my opinion, the best way to test your compatibility for marriage and reduce your chances of divorce to almost nothing is:

1) Don’t have sex until you’re married.
2) Date for at least one year before you get engaged.  
3) Participate in a structured premarital counseling program which includes psychological testing. 

However, I know most of you are not going to do that.  So, operate at your own risk – or rather, the risk of your kids.

Video: Silly, Selfish and Cheated While We Dated

You and your ex-boyfriend are flirting with the idea of getting back together. However, there’s just one problem: before you broke up, you cheated on him and he still doesn’t know. Should you tell him?   Watch:

Read the transcript.

Keeping Secrets from Your Spouse

Just because something is true doesn’t mean it needs to be said.  Everything that crosses your mind shouldn’t necessarily come out of your mouth.  Honesty is sometimes a cross between stupidity and cruelty, and when it comes to keeping secrets from your spouse, honesty is not always the best policy. 

The most successful long-term relationships are based on very strong emotional and physical connections.  However, intimacy is not necessarily equated with absolute and complete honesty. 

There are obviously some things you ought to be honest about:

Debt.  I’m amazed at how many times I talk to somebody who wasn’t told that their spouse-to-be had college loans, credit card debt, and no money in the bank until after they were married.  A lot of times people don’t find out that their new spouse is in debt until they see their credit when they’re applying for a mortgage.  Hiding bad money skills leads to feelings of betrayal and mistrust that can sometimes never be overcome.  A lot of people walk away from marriages in which their spouse put the family in debt due to their spending or unwise financial schemes.

Eating disorders and substance abuse.  If you have an eating disorder or a substance abuse problem, you have to disclose it in advance.  Ongoing substance abuse or addiction will almost always interfere with intimacy.   Why?  Because something else is more important than your spouse.  Unless it’s dealt with, addiction will destroy just about every relationship.  That’s the truth.

Past illegal activities.  It’s best to reveal and explain past crimes and jail time because not only are they available on public record, but keeping them hidden only fills you with enormous guilt.  And if you’re exposed, it will scare everybody into thinking that the behavior could be repeated.

Molestation.  There was a period of a couple days where it seemed like just about every woman who called in to my show had been molested when she was younger and had no interest in having sex with her husband.  I put a question up on my website asking women who had been molested if they thought female molestation victims should ever get married.  When reading the responses, I was shocked to find that most of them said, “No.”  That blew my mind.  Quite frankly, I didn’t expect that would be the answer.  Considering this, I think that if a molestation is clearly still part of your life today, you need to tell your spouse-to-be.  Generally when a woman is a victim of molestation, the molester never gets exposed and the woman feels residual fear and anger.  They feel bitter about justice not being served and get mad at their parents and whoever else failed to protect them.  However, it’s their spouse who ends up getting the brunt of it because that’s the one area where the victim has power.  Withholding sex from their spouse, for example, is a way they maintain that power.  It’s not really all that complicated.  Past molestation should be revealed because it can lead to a very painful marriage if left concealed.

Lack of sex drive.  There are a lot of women who keep their disinterest in sex a secret and fake their orgasms.  Some guys keep their Viagra in a hiding place.  Although we live in a culture that is erotic and pornographic, we don’t seem to be able to talk about intimacies with the people we’re closest with.  Every day I get a call from some man or woman upset because they have misinterpreted their spouse’s physical disinterest as a lack of love and caring.  The first thing I always recommend for couples to do in this situation is for them to each get a complete physical.  Check everything out.  Examine your hormone levels because they have a lot to do with your sex drive.  Next, take a look at your schedules and lifestyle.  What is it that’s making you tired or preventing you from being playful and affectionate?  It’s sometimes advantageous to talk to an independent third party like a therapist or a religious person who has counseling experience.  

Because of the above concerns, I think it’s important that you go through six months of premarital counseling with your spouse-to-be so these secrets get uncovered.

However, not everything needs to be shared with your spouse.  Intimacy and complete openness are not one and the same.  You need to share your vulnerabilities with each other, but you also have to be sensitive to the consequences that sharing brings. 

Affairs.  I’ve had a lot of people call in to my show saying, “Oh my gosh, I had a half-hour fling, but I know it was stupid and wrong.  I understand why I did it, and I take full responsibility for my actions.  What should I do?  I don’t want to lose everything I have.”  My response is, “Well, get yourself tested to make sure you didn’t contract a disease, and then keep your mouth shut until the day after you’re dead.”  A lot of times, the spouse who had the affair wants to unburden themselves so they can feel better.  However, if they do, they are only going to destroy the trust in the marriage forever.  If you’re truly remorseful and you’re not going to repeat the stupid mistake, it’s best to just get on with life.

Not everything that can be said should be said.  If you have fantasies about someone, don’t tell your spouse.  You’re only going to make him or her feel inadequate.

Just about everybody has a list of stuff they’ve done when they were younger that they’re not proud of and they’ve learned from.  If a past behavior is clearly no longer part of your present (e.g. speeding tickets, fist fights, etc.), file it in the “private” cabinet and keep it to yourself.  Keep it safely between you and you.  If it’s seriously no longer part of your life, leave it alone because you’ll be judged by what is no longer true.

Spying on a Cheater

There is a show that’s been on TV a very long time called Cheaters.  I don’t know how they’ve been able to do the same scenario for a dozen years, but they’ve pulled it off. 

I’ve seen the show about one and a half times.  Basically, someone who suspects their girlfriend or boyfriend of cheating hires this television program to do surveillance.  The crew follows the boyfriend or girlfriend, tracks their car, photographs them at various places (restaurants, stores, etc.), and tape records their conversations.  If he goes to a hotel, motel, or apartment, the cameras capture him going in, kissing his bimbo at the front door, and then grinding groins with her.  If a guy tells his wife, “Oh honey, I have to be at work late,” the show will then cut to time-stamped footage of him going somewhere else. 

Near the end of each episode, the person who is being cheated on gets to see the tape, realizes they’re right, and then feels very badly betrayed.  The program ends with the girl or guy confronting their husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend.  It’s a free-for-all with the television cameras rolling.  The cheater and their bimbo or side stud start yelling, “What?!  What is this?,” followed by a bunch of “beeps” (because of all the bad words they’re saying).  I always think it’s funny when the cheater says, “How could you do this to me?,” in reference to being put under surveillance and exposed on TV.   Somehow they get moral outrage at that, not about the fact that they’re screwing around on somebody.
 
Now, a lot of shows try to market merchandise to make money on the side: T-shirts, mugs, spaghetti sauce…whatever.  But for a show like Cheaters, it’s a little different.  Since they can’t exactly make shirts saying, “I’m a cheater,” or, “I caught my spouse cheating,” they have instead decided to open up a spy goods web store:

“The Cheater’s Spy Shop sells all sorts of surveillance gear for suspicious minds, including recovery sticks that can pull up anything currently on the iPhone and even recover deleted information; mobile software that will send a person all texts and pictures being sent, web history, call logs, and GPS location every 30 minutes; and even motion-activated hidden cameras that record any movement and activity in high resolution [HD, 3D, whatever you want]…

The laws governing the use of surveillance devices by average citizens differ all over the place.  A lot of people think they’re legally allowed to spy on their spouses, but depending on how it’s done, that may or may not be true.  It may be totally legal to make, sell, and buy this stuff, but depending on the jurisdiction you’re in, it may or may not be legal to use because people have privacy rights.  Some people also get concerned that stalkers could misuse the technology.  It’s pretty scary to think about – a stalker could potentially put a tracking device at the bottom of your purse and know where you are at all times.  If you’re thinking of participating in an operation to expose a cheater either with a private investigator or just by yourself, you have to make sure that whatever equipment or techniques you’re using are legal in your state. 

“The two groups who seem to be buying the products the most are women worried their man is cheating, and parents who want to make sure their kids aren’t sexting or getting inappropriate photos themselves.”  The biggest month for buying is Valentine’s Day.  They’re not really sure why, but my guess is that women who either get nothing or get something worth less than what they see charged to their husband’s credit card start wondering where the money went.

Cheating spouses typically get caught in a couple of ways:

1. Accidental discovery:  Most cheaters are not CIA agents.  They don’t know how to totally cover their tracks, and they forget things like a parking sticker hanging from the rearview mirror.  Deception and infidelity are usually uncovered by somebody making a mistake.  “A husband or wife decides to come home from work early, a third party inadvertently reveals the truth, an unpaid parking ticket reveals a spouse’s true whereabouts, or an e-mail exchange is accidentally sent to the wrong person.”  Many times on the air, I’ve heard callers say, “He meant to send it to her, but somehow he clicked me.”

2. Monitoring/Surveillance:  A lot of cheaters are exposed after being monitored by either their spouse or a private investigator.  From what I’ve read, if a private investigator uses a technique that’s illegal, even if unbeknownst to you, you are still liable because they’re essentially an extension of you.  Be careful!

So what should you do if you think your spouse or significant other is cheating?

If you’re not just a hypersensitive or neurotic person, then your instinct that your spouse is cheating is probably right.  If you get suspicious, ask yourself the following question: “Why is he/she cheating?”  Did you make a mistake in picking someone who is simply a bad person?  If your wife had a million affairs while you were dating or your husband cheated while you were pregnant with your first kid (and then you went ahead and made three more) then “Duh!” – you made a mistake.  However, people don’t always cheat because they’re bad people.  Other things come into play, usually relating to the quality of the relationship.  As it turns out, men more than women require opposite-sex feedback for their egos.  Women can turn to their girlfriends to hear about what a bum their husband is and how wonderful they are.  But guys don’t turn to their guy friends – they turn to other women. 

If you’re a woman and are worried about your husband having an affair, you should read my book The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands to see if you’re to blame.  Your husband once picked you, wanted you, and ultimately loved you.  Perhaps if you stopped acting the way you currently are, you wouldn’t be throwing away a perfectly good man.  A lot of times women call my show saying, “I think my husband’s having an affair,” and I tell them that they can either blow up the marriage or they can look at themselves honestly and admit, “I stopped being my husband’s girlfriend.  I’m going to take the proper steps to turn it back on.”   As his wife, you always have an edge over a new honey.  A new honey may be very exciting, but a new honey has no context or history like you have with him.  Losing you not only means losing the house, the kids, the dog, the parakeet and the cat, but he’ll be losing extended family and friends as well.  There’s so much for him to lose.  Missing the girlfriend doesn’t come close to that.  So ultimately you have the power.

There are a million and a half articles on the topic of cheating, but it all boils down to one basic concept: if you treat your spouse and dearly beloved in such a way that he or she wants to come home to you every night, then you’re doing great and you’re probably not going to have a cheating spouse.

Now that being said, some people are simply jerks no matter how much love and effort you’re putting in to the relationship.  The following article contains some practical tips on how to catch a cheater: “Tips for Discovering the Truth.”  Discerning whether or not there is bad behavior going on (affairs, whores, drugs, etc.) usually helps you with securing custody of the children later.   And remember: Don’t just ask, “Honey, are you having an affair?”  That never works.  Don’t even bother.

 

Internet Infidelity

Our society has become more and more permissive and as people no longer espouse family values (in fact they denigrate them), there is something wrong.  With no sense of values, there’s a rise in behavior that would have raised eyebrows not so long ago.  These days, amorality is the ultimate vindication for that behavior, and you’ll find this all over the country.

There’s a new term to describe “virtual affairs” – those that are conducted online.  It’s called “e-ffairs”.  Well folks, it’s still wrong!  How do you know something is an affair?  Well, would you text it, post it or send it with your spouse looking over your shoulder?  If you would, then it’s not an infidelity.  If you wouldn’t, you’re cheating.  And why is all this stuff on the internet so exciting?  Well, for some people it’s exciting because it has what they consider no responsibility.  It’s a relationship with no responsibility.  But that’s not how the non-cheating spouse sees it.

People use the internet because it’s accessible, it’s affordable and it’s anonymous (or so they think).  The cool thing about fantasy relationships is they don’t require any work.  We are entering the age where there’s no chivalry, shame, or discretion.  We’ve brought up our two youngest generations with an amoral lens, where everything is justified by something else and you’re told you “shouldn’t judge.”  I have been talking a lot about how kids don’t really have a sense of time and permanency in the world of the internet.  They are sexting right and left, and don’t “get” how that can be used against them once it hits the social networks.  So I am more concerned about the generations that can’t figure out what the big deal is about this. CHIVALRY, SHAME, DISCRETION, VOWS, and RESPONSIBILITY — that’s what the big deal is!