It seems like you can't turn anywhere today without hearing a story of someone being unfaithful. Elin's reaction to Tiger had betrayed spouses cheering everywhere. Women came out of the woodwork claiming to have slept with him. His image was splashed over tabloids, newspapers and the internet for weeks. Discussions of restitution and punishment exploded. Then, we learned she might take Tiger back. What? Seriously? Many of us asked. Why? Relationships are complicated and infidelity is a very real threat. Whether research supports it or not, law enforcement officers have a reputation for having a high rate of extra-marital affairs.
Although difficult to think about and even more so to discuss, I've been on both sides of infidelity. Now that a significant amount of time has passed since that time, I've been able to look objectively at my first marriage. Both my husband and myself made a lot of mistakes. Hind-sight allows me to look at the ways we allowed our relationship to be vulnerable to affairs.
Reasons People Cheat
Tons of information exists explaining why people cheat. A lot is contradictory and supports the notion every person and relationship is different and dynamic. There are some common themes that I found applied to my life.
Relationships too easily fall into daily routines. That was definitely the case with mine. My husband and I went to work (opposite shifts), came home, cared for the children, did the dishes, went shopping, ad infinitum. Life was boring. When opportunities presented themselves to add a little excitement into our lives, albeit negatively, we both fell for the glitter. Instead of adding some pizzazz to our relationship, we chose to get our boredom lifted elsewhere.
Often used as a reason for the dissolution of marriage, this starts way before the end. This is where communication needs to come in. Most differences can be reconciled, if a couple chooses to address the conflict and talk to each other. My husband and I were not able to communicate with each other. I shut down and he got angry. He'd shut down and I'd get angry. Because of this, our differences became insurmountable and caused us to become alienated from each other and eventually lead separate lives.
Not Enough Sex
"The lack of sex in a marriage can trigger self doubt and discontent on the part of the spouse who is constantly rejected." I wish I had heard this and listened early on in my marriage. As a woman, I did not understand my husband's needs were more than physical and how important a healthy sex life is to a marriage.
Too many times, we let our relationships take a back-seat to the rest of our lives. Unfortunately, this seems to happen even more so in police relationships due to the additional hurdles many of us face. Experts agree there are several factors that reflect strong, healthy relationships. It is these factors that can help prevent infidelity. In her article, Immunized Against Infidelity: "Affair-proofing" Your Marriage, Megan Northrup suggests the following: