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Affair Prevention: Ten Tools

The ten sections on this page correspond to the ten warning Signs of an affair. You may want to open up the pages along side each other. Or you may just read each page separately because they work as independent pages. Either way, remember that this is all about ideas. This page is not about reading and studying the ideas and being able to talk intellectually about them in conversation. It's about quietly locating a single idea that you can try/practice/integrate into your life soon. When you run across an idea and your inner light starts blinking or maybe some bells and whistles sound, that is the idea to read a few times, to reflect upon and to possibly commit to working with ASAP.


1. CREATING FUN TOGETHER

Requires creativity, flexibility, and much effort from each partner. Do not allow yourself to get into ruts. Get out and do things together rather than sit home all the time. Plan special outings and go on dates.Start a brand new activity or hobby you both enjoy in together.


2. RESTARTING INTIMACY

Intimacy can be ignited and restarted by validating each other; giving the other person permission to express their opinions and feel all their emotions. The key is to be accepting of differences and allow your partner to have his/her own ideas, recognizing it is okay if you do not always agree with one another. Allow your partner to talk and really listen. Really listen. Be empathic to what they are saying. Try seeing situations through their eyes and understanding how they are feeling.


3. PURSUING A DEEPER SENSE OF SELF

Since getting a sense of self from others or outer things will only provide temporary relief, inevitably one must realizes that self-concept can only come from within. Encourage self-actualization; allow each to be who they are and encourage personal growth and change. Get to know yourself. Be proud of who you are, recognizing both your strengths and weaknesses. Take good care of yourself rather than expect your partner to take care of your emotional needs.


4. ENCOURAGING YOUR PARTNER TO FIND FULFILLMENT

Encourage your partner to find something in life that is enjoyable to do, is fulfilling, and that will provide a sense of purpose. Everyone needs to feel they are contributing members of society. Each of us has to figure out our own purpose in life. This may require being patient, flexible, and allowing each other to choose a different life course if that is what is necessary. If each person in the relationship can do this on their own with a partner's encouragement and blessing, then they will not have to look for approval outside of themselves or in another person.


5. REALIZING THAT A RELATIONSHIP IS THE HARDEST THING YOU'LL EVER DO AND THE MOST REWARDING WORK YOU'LL EVER ACCOMPLISH.

Recognize the responsibility to yourself and the person you have committed to. Relationships should not be taken lightly or for granted. If things are not going as smoothly as you would like, then ask yourself what you can do to make the situation better. If you are wanting something from your partner, first ask yourself if you are in fact contributing that very thing to the relationship. Relationships need constant
care and attention.


6. TALK TO YOUR PARTNER.

It is not your partner's job, nor is it possible, to read each others' minds or know with certainty how each are feeling or thinking. Mind reading is especially impossible if you recognize the value or encouraging change and new ideas in your relationship. There is no way you can or should feel responsible for keeping up with each other's thoughts. Make a time each day or at least once a week to sit down with no distractions and talk about your relationship, your feelings, your problems, and your successes.


7. RETOOL YOUR BELIEF SYSTEM.

Recreate a belief system that works for you as an adult. You do not have to hold onto beliefs that were passed onto you when you were a child, especially if they do not fit into your current lifestyle. If you live your life as you want with beliefs that work for you, it will not be difficult for you to uphold these values with clarity and conviction. If you are not honest with yourself then you will not be able to be honest with others.


8. UNDERSTAND THAT CONFLICT IS A NORMAL (GOT THAT? A NORMAL) PART OF RELATIONSHIP.

Learning to deal with conflict is an a required skill for a successful relationship. Allow and learn to deal with friction. Working through conflict is healthy and your relationship will grow from it. Clear up each issue as soon as possible; do not go to sleep each night with conflict on your mind or at least make a plan to deal with the issue at a later time if it is an ongoing challenge. Each conflict you conquer will enable you to become more skillful at dealing with disharmony and provide you with feelings of accomplishment and success.

9. CONTEMPLATE WHAT THE IMPLICATIONS ARE, OFTHE PHRASE, IT TAKES TWO TO TANGO.

Because it always takes two to create the dynamics of a relationship both partners need to accept their part in the situations they have created rather than blame each other for difficulties. Similarly, this includes taking responsibility for your emotions. It is easy when we are in relationships to project our feelings or negative aspects of ourselves onto others when we do not want to deal with them or they seem too painful. The person in the relationship with you can become the prime target because of easy accessibility. But, no one can make you feel or behave a certain way unless you choose it. Exiting to avoid the situation will only make situations worse. The only thing that will make feelings or situations better is to face them and deal with them.


10. LEARN WHAT BEING MOTIVATED BY, AND ATTRACTED TO, THINGS THAT ARE THRILLING, RISKY AND EXCITING IS ABOUT.

Then, you are probably out of balance, tend to choose self-defeating behaviors and possibly experiencing obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors. This out-of-balanced state will wear you out eventually, is very stressful, and can not be sustained for too long of a period of time. What in your life are you avoiding, running from , worrying about, or fearful of? Why are you choosing destructive behaviors? Bringing your life back into balance will create peace within yourself and enable you to be more present and content in your relationship and everything you do.

This page was provided by Pam Oren, a counselor and therapist living in Colorado. ©1999 Pam Oren.

See also: Affairs, Why? Early Warning Signs

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