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7 Sure-Fire Ways to Prevent an Affair

Read Jed’s new book, Mr. Mean: Saving Your Relationship from the
Irritable Male Syndrome on Scribd at: or get a “hard copy” by going to

Jed Diamond, Ph.D. has been a marriage and family counselor for
the last 44 years. He is the author of 8 books, including Looking for
Love in All the Wrong Places, Male Menopause, and The Irritable
Male Syndrome. He offers counseling to men, women, and couples
in his office in California or by phone with people throughout the U.S.
and around the world. To receive a Free E-book on Men’s Health
and a free subscription to Jed’s e-newsletter go to If you are looking for an expert counselor to
help with relationship issues, write

As a marriage and family counselor I am always dealing with issues

of sexuality, infidelity, and betrayal as well as intimacy, honesty,
courage, and integrity. A rash of recent public scandals – from Tiger
Woods to David Letterman, from Sen. John Ensign to Gov. Mark
Sanford, to the suspected shenanigans of Jon Gosselin of reality TV's
Jon and Kate – might make it seem that sexual infidelity is sweeping
the land. Many of my clients want to know how to prevent an affair.
Here’s what I tell them.

1. Renew Your Vows Every 7 Years.

There’s a joke I heard that could even be true. A man and a

woman have been married for 57 years and their friends and family
are throwing a party for them to celebrate so many years of love.
After the party the woman says to the man, “It was a wonderful
gathering and I’m so glad all our family and friends could get together
to celebrate with us.

“But I have a question that has been bothering me for years. Why
don’t you ever tell me you love me?”
The man looks at his wife of 57 years with surprise. “Why I did tell
you I loved you the day we got married. If I should change my mind,
I’ll let you know.”

Too many people assume their relationship will just coast along
once it gets started. Well, it won’t. My wife and I have been married
31 years. It is the third marriage for both of us. Every 7 years, we
renew our vows and recommit to our marriage. And we tell each
other often, “I love you.”

2. Don’t Let Nature Take Its Course.

Many people assume that if two people love each other and trust
each other they don’t have to worry about affairs. Nothing could be
further from the truth. Biologically speaking we come together in
order to create children who we can raise until they are of an age
where they can have their own children.

Through most of human history, when we reached the age of 40

or so, our children were grown and on their own and we enjoyed the
last few years of our lives and then quickly died. Now that we’re
living through our 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, and more and more of us
into our 100s, we need to rethink marriage.

Nature is through with us a lot sooner than we’re ready to check

out. We have to continue to renew our vows to ourselves, to stay
committed to life, even though nature may be pulling us to the great

3. Our Biology Wants Older Men To Cheat On Their Wives.

Think of the world through the eyes of your genes. Their goal is to
get themselves passed on. The only way they can do that is to get
another human to have sex with the body that houses those genes
and hope a baby is created. It is a biological reality that women
reach an age when they can no longer reproduce. We call it
menopause. Men reach an age when their hormones begin to drop
and they become more and more irritable and antsy. We call it “male
However, for men, we can still have babies later in life. But only
with a woman who is young enough to conceive. So our biology pulls
men away from their mid-life wives into the arms of someone younger
and more reproductively capable.

When he says, “I love you, but I’m not ‘in love’ with you” what he
really means is that “I don’t feel that crazy, biological lust that makes
me want to have you on the dining room table.” So what’s to do?
You must talk about this reality. Confront the issue head on and
learn that there is more to life than sex.

4. Learn Why Sex is Not the Answer to the Brain’s Big


According to author Mark Brady, there’s one big question that all
brains want answered, and they want it answered, “Yes.” Parent’s
brains, children’s brains, all brains. And they don’t want a lukewarm
“Yes,” or a “Maybe Yes” or a “Getting-to-Yes Yes.” They want a
substantial, resounding, unequivocal, “YES!” Yes.

Brady says that the brain’s big question is “Are You There For
Me?” He tell us that our children’s brains (and our own as well!) are
continually asking this basic question, whether we’re aware of it or
not. The question takes many forms in children’s brains and resulting
behavior, of course: Do I matter enough that you’ll put me first when I
need you to – ahead of your job, ahead of your friends, even
sometimes ahead of yourself? Can I count on you to attend to me in
the ways I need you to? Do I truly and deeply matter to you? These
questions are being asked – nonverbally through behavior often –
and when they get answered “Yes,” our children can relax and begin
to feel safe, just as we are often able to do in our own intimate and
business relationships.

The self-preservation structures of the brain continually monitor

our environment and the people in it for safety. Our survival depends
upon it. We generally love the people we feel the safest being
around, and the emotional responsiveness often identified as love
arises out of this safe “felt sense.” Canadian psychologist, Susan
Johnson thinks about it this way: “These safe bonds reflect deep
primal survival needs for secure, intimate connection to irreplaceable
others. These needs go with us from the cradle to the grave.”

And this is a key issue. We have these needs for care and
support throughout our lives. In fact, as we get older and we
experience the inevitable losses of health and well-being, we need
this support even more. Want to prevent an affair? Be there, really
be there for your partner.

5. Quit Demeaning Men.

At the height of the “women’s movement” there was a joke

circulating around, attributed to Gloria Steinem. “A woman needs a
man, like a fish needs a bicycle.” The sentiment may have been that
women need to learn to stand on their own feet and take care of
themselves. They have to stop making their identity dependent on
having a man in their lives.

But the impact on men was devastating. If I am as irrelevant to

my woman as a bicycle is to a fish, then why stay? Most men have a
strong desire to protect and serve a woman. However, if we are not
needed or wanted, or if our offers of support are seen as a big joke,
well…”screw you” we say to ourselves. Our shame and rage get
expressed in our cheating.

Few women consciously shame or demean the men in their lives.

I’ve found that this most often happens when women are afraid. It’s a
vicious cycle. If a woman feels that she can’t trust the man to be
there for her, she distances herself a little bit. The man, feeling her
distance, becomes irritable and angry. The woman, feeling the brunt
of his anger, becomes even more afraid that he’ll leave. The result is
that we create the very thing we are most afraid of.

Women are constantly telling me that they want their man to open
up to her, to share his true feelings. However, what I’ve found (and
many men have told me), when we do open up and share our
feelings, the woman often rejects us. Usually when they say they
want to know how we feel, they mean “I want you to shower me with
love and affection.” When they hear how angry, hurt, and frightened
we are, they often run and hide.
Mark Brady had a professor in graduate school, a wise woman
who understood these things. She told the women in her class,
“Ladies,” she said, “if you want your partners to be emotionally
available to you, you can’t cut their balls off every time they
show some vulnerability.”

6. Get Thee to a Men’s Group.

Tomorrow I fly to Arizona to meet with my men’s group. We’ve

been meeting together for 31 years—7 guys who are committed to
supporting each other through life. We came together at a men’s
conference in April, 1979 and have been together ever since.

We used to meet every week for a three hour session. But over
the years some of us moved away from the place in Marin County,
California where the group had formed. Rather than stop the group,
we decided to meet less often, but for a longer period. We’ll fly in on
Wednesday morning and stay until Sunday.

What will we talk about? What will we do? Well, I can’t say. Not
because it’s a big secret, but because I won’t know until we get there.
What I can say is that it will be real. It will be loving. We trust each
other enough to let our feelings out—the good, the bad, and the ugly.
But most of all we are there for each other.

I believe that few long term relationships can survive unless men
get away together. If you don’t have men who are there for you and
who you can be there for, you will have a difficult time being there for
women. You will always be hungry, always be needy, always be
restless, always be looking for someone or something to fill the void
you feel inside.

7. Grow Up Guys. The World Needs You.

When I see men like Tiger Woods, John Edwards, Bill Clinton, and
all the other cheaters, I see wounded, immature men. They may be
the famous ones we hear about, but there are millions of other men
just like them. I know, I used to be one myself. I wrote a whole book
about it: Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places: Overcoming
Romantic and Sexual Addictions.
I applaud Tiger Wood’s willingness to get himself into treatment,
even if he waited until he was forced to do so by his wife. When we
become seriously disconnected from our own courageous souls, we
need a kick in the butt from someone who cares, who is truly there for
us, to get us back on track.

Listen guys, we can’t keep acting out our wounds by escaping

from our pain into the arms of a woman. And we can’t keep waiting
for women who hold us accountable for our actions. We need to deal
with our woundedness before the roof falls in on us.

And if you haven’t noticed, the roof is caving in. The old systems
are falling apart every where we look. Our economic system is about
to collapse. The headlines in today’s paper asks, Has the Golden
State Gone Bankrupt? We are destroying the environment and
poisoning our life-support system with greenhouse gases.

We need men of courage, men of commitment, men of honor to

stand with women of like heart and mind to lead the way if we are
going to survive as a species. Sure, we all have fantasies about
getting “a little extra on the side.” But grow up guys. There are more
important things we have to do. The world needs us. Our wives
need us. Our children and grandchildren need us.

I’ll enjoy your comments. You can also contact me at

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