Best Way to Prevent Affairs? Commit to Honesty, Not Monogamy

October 21st, 2009

I’m not suggesting we cease our commitment to be monogamous in marriage. Committing to fidelity alone, however, is not enough; we need to commit to responsible honesty. Regardless of the litany of reasons given for having an affair, there is one common ingredient: the willingness to be dishonest and deceptive.

Of course, honesty is much more than just “not lying.” It’s about not withholding  information that is relevant to the health and safety of the marriage. Responsible honesty is sharing “who you really are.”  It allows you both to be completely known by the other, laying the groundwork for a stronger more intimate bond. And within that framework, you can talk about absolutely anything: hopes, dreams, fears, attractions, and insecurities. (Remember: you are sharing truths about YOU; not your partner or the other person. It’s discovering how and why YOU are feeling insecure and vulnerable.)

When partners share truths and even acknowledge their own complicity in creating a particular problem, it is emotionally draining but oh, so rewarding. An ease in communication is achieved that can never be found within the walls of cover-ups and second-guesses about the unspoken.

Too often we rationalize withholding truth in order to protect; however, this kind of “protecting” puts our relationship in greater jeopardy. Bottom line: the greatest amount of safety and security you will ever know in marriage will come from the hard work of responsible honesty.

What are you doing to protect your relationship from infidelities? What do you think about keeping a committment to responsible honesty?

~Dr. Liz