If fidelity in a romantic relationship is important to you, you're far from alone, but you might not realize that there are a lot of things that you both can do to help influence if you're faithful to one another. Though some people don't prioritize or specifically value fidelity, for others infidelity is a definite deal-breaker, and that latter group might want to know about some of the unexpected conversations that keep couples faithful, according to experts. Of course, you and your partner are both solely accountable for your individual actions — not having had a certain conversation or feeling a certain way doesn't mean that there's an excuse to stray, especially if you two have agreed to be monogamous.
Still, you might be surprised to learn that some of these conversations can actually impact relationship fidelity. And while these conversations can sometimes take a more difficult turn, despite your best attempts at openness, honesty, and staying calm, you don't have to go it alone.
"If the couple has tried to talk about their fears together and end up arguing or making things worse, couples counseling would be an option for them to have a safe place to discuss how they are truly feeling and learn ways to communicate more clearly and effectively with each other," Heidi McBain, MA, LMFT, LPC, RPT, a licensed marriage and family therapist tells Romper in an email exchange.
Whether you choose to involve a couples counselor in some of these conversations or not, talking about these things really could end up making a difference.
1. Conversations About Other People Cheating
Though this can sometimes feel a little like gossiping, talking about the cheating a friend or family member experienced in their relationship can potentially help you from experiencing a similar fate. "It can be helpful to talk about what happened in the other relationship, and how you can keep the same thing from happening in your own," McBain says. "It helps to talk about what you’re hearing and how this makes you feel, versus feeling scared that this might happen in your relationship too, but not discussing your fears with your partner. People are often surprised to find that their partner's fears are often quite similar to their own."
2. Conversations About Why They Shared Things With Someone Else & Not You
Sometimes, you might discover that your partner told a friend or a family member about something that they haven't yet or previously didn't tell you for whatever reason. This doesn't necessarily mean that they're intentionally keeping it from you, but just simply that they chose to share this particular bit of information with someone else. That can feel like a betrayal, but you should still talk about it.
"Their response may surprise you," Toni Coleman, LCSW, CMC, a psychotherapist, relationship coach, and divorce mediator, tells Romper in an email exchange. "Perhaps they didn’t think you would be that interested, or you seem too busy most of the time, or they just didn’t want to bother you with it. Any and all of these can lead to a much deeper conversation about your communication, how it is working, how it is not — and the distance this may be creating between you." Ultimately, closing that distance could keep you both faithful.
3. Conversations About How You Define Cheating
It might not be all that surprising that a conversation about how you both define cheating could help keep you faithful, but it's a conversation that a lot of couples skip, for one reason or another. "I specialize in helping couples heal from infidelity," Anita A. Chlipala, LMFT, a licensed marriage and family therapist and the author of First Comes Us: The Busy Couple's Guide To Lasting Love, tells Romper by email. "In my first meeting with them, I always ask, 'Did you define 'cheating' prior to the incident or affair?' Not one couple has said that they clearly defined cheating. I get 'No' or 'Kind of.' Kind of conversations won't prevent infidelity." Honesty about what your definition of cheating is, however, could help you or your partner from unknowingly or accidentally crossing any lines.
4. Conversations About Your Love Languages
"Ensuring your partner feels loved is essential to creating a lasting relationship," Laura Lee Wood, a dating expert and relationship coach, tells Romper via email. "The risk of not meeting your partner's need to feel loved can lead to one seeking to be fulfilled outside the relationship to meet their own needs and to gain affirmation that they are worthy of love." And if you don't know how they express, communicate, or feel love, then it can sometimes be difficult for you to meet those needs, not because you're not trying or don't care, but because there's something that you don't know.
5. Conversations About Family Traditions
Talking about each other's family traditions, as well as any shared traditions you have or are hoping to start, can help keep you feeling closely connected, Dr. Alisha Powell, PhD, LCSW, a social worker, teacher, and therapist, tells Romper in an email. Feeling like you share an emotional connection, as well as your views on your family and relationship can certainly strengthen your bond and — hopefully — keep either of you from being unfaithful.
6. Conversations About Sexual Satisfaction
"While discussing ways you and your partner can be happier in bed might be awkward or difficult, it can help keep people faithful," Jonathan Bennett, a certified counselor, life coach, and dating and relationship coach, tells Romper by email. "If one or both partners is sexually unsatisfied it can lead to seeking that fulfillment elsewhere." Knowing what the other likes, dislikes, and needs can bring you closer together and hopefully lead to increased satisfaction for you both.
7. Conversations About Each Others' Days
Though you might not realize that hashing out what happened over the course of each of your days could potentially help keep you faithful, Powell says that it could. Ask them about what happened, the highlights and lowlights, what's currently weighing on them, and more. Powell says that you should focus on listening, not giving unsolicited advice. Let them share and confide in you. It'll help boost your emotional connection, which can be important when it comes to a faithful — and fulfilling — relationship.
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