What makes people cheat? There’s no easy answer. While some studies have connected cheating to everything from the sound of someone’s voice to how many years they’ve been together, the truth is that every relationship is different. You can’t predict if someone will cheat using factors and studies, all you can do is make sure that your relationship is as strong as it can possibly be. That’s the best defense to cheating.
Because, despite what people may think, cheating isn’t about sex. Well, it’s not just about sex. A recent study from Ashley Madison looked at what people get out of affairs—and found that people cheat for a range of emotional reasons as much as physical ones. So making sure that your relationship is emotionally secure and that you’re really connected with each other is one of the best ways to make sure your partner doesn’t start looking somewhere else. And I’m not talking about big, romantic gestures (although those help, from time to time). It’s the day-to-day behaviors that matter just as much. There are lots of little things in the way that you communicate and interact with each other that can slowly drive you apart. So if you want to protect your relationship against cheating, consistency is the key. Here are the little things that can happen every day, but could lead to cheating in the long term.
1. Not Checking In With Each Other
Staying connected is key. And the easiest way to do this is to just check in with each other regularly. Ask your partner about their day, every day, even if it can only be by text message. Remember things about their lives—wish them luck at their big meeting or congratulate them on the marathon training that day. Whatever they’re doing, show you're interested in them. Because if you don’t, they’ll feel it.
2. Forgetting Quality Time Together
Quality time is important. Yes, when one of you is traveling that might not be an option, but if you’re in the same space you should get some quality time together. It doesn’t have to involve rose petals and champagne, it can just be catching up while your brush your teeth in the morning or having a quick chat when one you crawls into bed at night. It’s an easy thing to let that time slide but, if you do, you’ll feel disconnected before you know it.
3. Not Saying Thank You
It becomes far too easy to take our partners for granted. We stop saying thank you for the cup of coffee they make us or for taking out the trash when we’re too busy. But feeling used or under appreciated is a total relationship killer—and one that can make your partner seek emotional validation elsewhere.
4. Withholding The Truth
Little white lies don’t seem like that big of a deal—at the time. But lying is lying. If you start to normalize lying to your partner or they start to normalize lying to you, that can lead to bigger lies and untruths.
See more: Will a Bad Honeymoon Lead to Cheating?
5. Keeping Your Feelings To Yourself
If you want a quick way to create emotional distance, it’s not sharing your feelings with your partner. If they say something that upsets you, if you’re having a bad day at work, if you’re just feeling low—don’t withhold that. If you do, they’ll feel you pulling back and, very often, that will lead to them pulling back, too.
Phubbing—snubbing someone using your phone—is a far too common problem, but one that very easily will create distance between you and your partner. Everybody does it and, when you do it, it seems harmless. You’re just “checking an email real quick” which turns into five minutes of mindless scrolling. And it can make your partner feel like you don’t care if they’re in the room or not. Be careful
7. Not Being Physical With Each Other
Different people have different levels of physical interaction—and that’s OK. Not every relationship is super cuddly. But, whatever your level is, make sure you maintain it. Physical intimacy creates emotional intimacy—whether it’s through hugs, cuddling, sex, or just being curled up on the couch watching Netflix. And if your partner feels the lack of it, they might start looking for it elsewhere.
There’s no way to predict whether or not someone will be faithful and it’s important to remember that if someone has cheated on you, then that’s not your fault. Ultimately, it’s their decision and their mistake. But what you can do is make sure that your relationship is strong, that there’s a solid foundation and open communication. All you can do is be candid, supportive, and make the effort to show your partner they’re cared for and appreciated. And that’s in the little things.