By Jess Brighton

Romantic relationships are often the most significant relationships we cultivate throughout our lives. We invest massive amounts of time, emotion and trust to build an intimate connection and history with the person we care about. Over time, our relationships (and even celebrity relationships) seemingly take on a life of the own. We become just as protective of it as we are of those we love. My role as a relationship coach is to help couples to protect what they have spent years building together, and help them maintain or rebuild a fulfilling and meaningful relationship. I’m asked all kinds of questions about relationships.

The two of the most common questions are ‘why do people have affairs?’ and ‘what can be done to safeguard a relationship from an affairs?’

People often have affairs because they’ve grown apart as a couple, are dissatisfied with the relationship and are no longer getting what they need from their partner. Once this happens, it becomes difficult to be open and ask for what they’re missing. They often end up trying to find this missing piece with another person. On my website, I discuss ways to ‘affair-proof’ your relationship. On occasion, I’m asked if I really have a solution that guarantees a partner won’t cheat. Although I don’t have a magic potion or pill to keep your partner from cheating, I do have some valuable relationship advice that will help significantly reduce the risk of an affair in your relationship. Normally, I only offer these principles in my workshops, but I want to share them exclusively with Cupid’s Pulse readers. So here they are in no particular order: the five principles to help you ‘affair-proof’ your relationship:

Develop A Positive Mindset.

A positive attitude will get you a long way in your life, and the same is true in your relationship. How you view your relationship and partner is a major component of a happy and successful relationship. This is because you are the common denominator to everything that happens to you in your life. When you’re unhappy or negative, so is your mindset. In this case, the way you interpret and respond to everything and everyone is with negativity. I suggest you start a new daily ritual. First thing in the morning, think of one thing that you are grateful for in your life. This will force you to think positive and eventually shift your mindset from negative to positive.

In addition to developing a positive mindset, you need down time to relax and relieve stress. I use the example of an engine to explain the importance of down time. We power through life every day with meeting deadlines, challenges and obligations. Just like an engine needs scheduled maintenance to remain running at peak performance, we too need to schedule down time to maintain our busy lives. To help you maintain your positive mindset, you need to take time to do things that bring you happiness.

Related Link: Dating Advice: How to Deal with Heartbreak

Communication.

Effective communication in a relationship includes the exchange of messages through verbal and nonverbal means as well as active listening. Both partners will be more willing to talk about issues when they know they will actually be heard. In addition, it’s important to be aware of your tone when you are speaking. Phrases such as ‘why do you do this’ or ‘you never do that’ are aggressive. The person being spoken to will feel they’re under attack. Instead, rephrase your statements and use ‘I’ instead of ‘you’. Now you’re simply expressing your feelings to your partner and not attacking or accusing anyone of a negative action.

Don’t Ditch The Dates.

Remember when the two of you first met? It was all wine, flowers and romance. Your time together was magical and you couldn’t get enough of each other. Fast-forward to today, and it’s a bit of a different story. The wine, flowers and romance have since been replaced with apple juice, deadlines, and exhaustion. Your time now is mostly in passing and spent discussing who will be taking which child to which practice. When you do get ‘couple time’ the last thing you want to talk about is the two of you or your relationship. These days, ‘couple time’ consists of planning the week and discussing work, bills and family issues. And what about your sex life? Neither of you can recall the last time you had sex and the times you did, it was routine and took some serious advanced planning.

We naturally become preoccupied with our busy lives, and your romantic relationship often gets neglected. When you stop being intimate and making time for each other, your relationship begins to resemble a roommate situation. I suggest being proactive by planning regular date nights. Even if its once a month, taking time out as couple will help you maintain your intimate connection. Go out, have a few glasses of wine, hold hands, make eye contact and talk about what you love about each other and what brought you together in the first place.

Related Link: Weekend Date Idea: Spa Day at Home

Be Unconditional With Each Other.

Being unconditional with your partner doesn’t mean you’re a doormat and willing to tolerate anything in your relationship. It does mean that you appreciate the person at a core level and accept the traits, passions and interests that make them who they are. This is easier said than done. Yes, you’re a couple, but you’re still two separate people with different views, values and preferences. At some point, you’ll upset one another. In this instance, setting boundaries and being honest and open to compromise will assure you remain unconditional and maintain the healthy balance in your relationship.

Don’t Try To Change Your Partner.

When the two of you first met, you had instant chemistry and could not get enough of one another. Your time together was romantic, carefree and lighthearted. Your relationship progressed and eventually you took the next step and moved in together. Over time, the newness of your relationship wore off and you settled into day-to-day life. Early on in your relationship, you overlooked little things about your partner that were slightly irritating. These days, it’s a different story and those once small annoyances are now a big deal and hard to ignore. Trust me, something you find to be slightly annoying early on will only become more annoying and problematic down the road. Maybe it’s a bad habit, an annoying best friend, or a philosophical difference. Whatever the case, the chances of your partner changing for you are very slim. The more you try to change a person, the more defiant they become. The best approach is to determine early in your relationship what you can live with in and what’s a deal breaker.

So, there you have it Cupid’s Pulse readers, the five principles to protect your relationship from an affair. With this knowledge, along with your commitment and teamwork as a couple, you can have the relationship of your dreams! Maintaining a healthy relationship isn’t easy, but it is certainly worth the effort after all of the years and emotions that both of you have invested.

Jessica Brighton is your all-American girl, who had a good life and a good marriage, until the 2008 financial crash brought down her relationship. That’s when she turned to escorting. And through that, she has gained insight into what makes up a successful relationship. As a former escort-turned-relationship coach, Jessica helps people build healthy relationships.