“Affair Proof Your Marriage” articles are so ubiquitous, I hesitate to feed them to the Universal Bullshit Translator. It just rolled its circuits at me. Really? This crap again? Don’t you have some juicy psychobabble from a certified Yoga Imago Sex Therapist I can parse? Are you really going to make me read “keep the home fires stoked” again?
Sorry UBT. The menace of Affair Proofing must be stopped. Or at least ridiculed a bit.
HuffPo once ran “9 Steps to Affair Proof Your Marriage” by Beth Cone Kramer. Ostensibly the article is to point out danger zones we weren’t aware of (second cocktails!), but in actuality, is thinly disguised chump blame. We drive them to it, folks!
1. Address problems with your partner. When we don’t talk about what’s bothering us, we tend to want to find someone’s shoulder to cry on. Be careful about discussing your grievances over and over again with someone who isn’t your partner.
Chumps, if you don’t offer your shoulder to a cheater, they will find Another Shoulder. Cheaters, if you don’t unburden your unhappiness on your chump, they can’t dance prettier for you. Actually, you might try both tactics — discuss your misery freely with your chump AND tell the new shoulder she’s the only one who Really Understands You. Problem solved!
2. Be involved in your partner’s life. If a wife (or husband) has frequent dinner or late night meetings with business associates, why not suggest “Let’s all have dinner together?” adds Dr. Saltz. “Keep your partner abreast of what’s going on and let her or him know you’re interested.”
“Let’s all have dinner together because I am highly suspicious of this Bob character in accounting. In fact, if I invite myself to your company happy hour, you’ll back off Bob, won’t you?”
Meals together are such an affair deterrent! Because cheaters NEVER make chumps dine with their affair partners. That just never, EVER happens.
3. Watch out for that second or third cocktail. If you’re on a business trip with the “work spouse,” avoid that extra glass or wine or martini. Drinking can lower inhibitions. If you’re disgruntled with your partner, have had a few drinks and it’s midnight, it’s easy to share you’re miserable when there’s someone there.
The first indication you might be on a slippery slope is having a “work spouse,” but no matter — avoid the Bellinis. Keep the shields up on your “misery”! (Only desperately miserable people cheat, so lock that unhappiness in! Don’t let it escape with one extra beverage!)
4. Be honest with yourself. Dr. Saltz notes, “If you want to look nice when you get together with so-and-so, touch the other person or say things you wouldn’t be saying if your spouse were there, that may be a hint you’re crossing the line.”
… into a sexual harassment lawsuit. Drinking together and touching people you work with probably isn’t a solid career move. If we’re being honest with ourselves!
5. Keep the home fires stoked. Feeling desired may increase a woman’s libido. Engage with your partner to make sure she feels wanted and knows that you’re still attracted to her. Since the brain loves novelty, it’s easy to get sidetracked by the new guy or girl, especially if she (or he) is not getting attention at home.
Since the brain loves novelty, be seven different people! That affair proofs everything! Make multiples of yourself! Okay, if you can’t do that, desire your spouse. That’s why people cheat, because they don’t feel desired. You’re probably sexless, aren’t you?
Cheaters NEVER cheat on people who desire them and have sex with them.
6. Don’t air the dirty laundry. Whether you’re sharing marital complaints with your office mate or with an online friend of the opposite sex, you may be setting the stage for an emotional affair. When you’re sharing more with a friend of the opposite sex than you do with your mate, you’ve crossed that line. Add in some physical attraction and you may even be heading towards a physical affair.
Cheaters, I’m sure you just lack insight that sharing marital complaints is “crossing a line.” I mean, you would never deliberately tell an online friend you were a sad sausage just to get in their pants.
This affair stuff just creeps up on you! It Just Happens! One day you’re chatting innocently about your spouse’s toenail fungus and failure to listen, and the next you’re booking hotel rooms. It could happen to anyone, so be on ALERT!
7. Step away from secrets. One sign of emotional infidelity is secrecy. If you (or your spouse) is keeping a “friendship” secret, the likelihood of an emotional affair increases exponentially. Being in a relationship doesn’t mean you need to clean house of all your friends of the opposite sex. But, be upfront about the friendship.
Cheaters, I’m sure you just forgot to tell your spouse about your “friendship.” Thanks to this handy HuffPo reminder, you’ll be full of transparency now.
8. Keep work relationships nine-to-five. If you’re meeting for drinks after work or grabbing dinner, perhaps you should invite your husband or wife along. Transparency is everything and may keep the relationship in the friend zone.
Boy we’re really hung up here on inviting chumps to dinner with the Special Friend, aren’t we? It merits two mentions.
Cheaters, arrange your covert fuck tests during office hours. Many hotels charge hourly. Cars work too! Consider a lunch hour blowjob in the parking lot.
9. Beware of crossing the line. Catching yourself if you’re heading into dangerous flirting territory. Consider if you’d be okay with your spouse sharing that slightly NSFW email or joke.
Cheaters, I’m sure you care deeply about those lines and respect them just like you respect your vows and your intact family and unsullied 401K. So you will careful when you get close to crossing a line. Sirens will go off and your hair will burst into flames if you so much as step a big toe into flirting territory. Keep your jokes to yourself. Unshared memes save marriages. (Ooh, the UBT should make a meme that says that.)
There may be no sure way to affair-proof a marriage like you would child-proof the cabinets, but you can lessen the chances with regular communication and trying to meet each other’s needs, both emotionally and sexually. It’s easy to fall into the pattern of being too exhausted or distracted after work or a day spent chasing after the kids. But, staying attentive to each other is essential to maintaining intimacy.
Bad marriages make people cheat, not bad character. Don’t chase those children! Don’t get exhausted or distracted, or your marriage is DOOMED. So put little safety locks on your cabinets and their genitals just to be safe. Maybe you can fit in a nap or something once you have them properly tethered. Best of luck! — UBT
This column ran previously, but these quacks still suck.