Infidelity can be a major concern for any couple. After all, nobody wants to get cheated on. While there are ways to cheat-proof your relationship, some couples just seem to have it all figured out. According to relationship experts, couples who don't cheat tend to have similar habits.
"They ... do little, nice things for each other everyday, so they both feel important and cared for in the relationship, they do things that make their partner happy, and they like spending quality time together talking and communicating about life," relationship counselor, Heidi McBain, MA, LMFT, tells Bustle. Couples who stay faithful to each other have a relationship that's based on a deep friendship.
In contrast, couples who experience cheating tend to be the complete opposite. "They tend to be explorative, retaliative, and one partner can portray entitlement above the other," Jim Antonsen, matchmaker and Co-founder of LuvBiz Chicago, tells Bustle. "This can lead to feelings of resentment and betrayal." There's a lot of change required for these kinds of couples to work. And while it's completely possible to come back from infidelity, it can be challenging, and not worth it to some people.
Having open communication and a good foundation of friendship are just two things faithful couples have in common. According to experts, here are a few others.
1. They Don't Pretend To Be Perfect
Couples who remain faithful to each other acknowledge the fact that they and their relationship isn't perfect. "They have bumps, and that's expected," therapist, Julia Colangelo, LCSW, tells Bustle. "But they're willing to work on it." Whether that's forgiving each other when making a mistake, or communicating about any issues they may encounter, couples who stay faithful to each other know relationships continually need to be worked on.
2. They Make The Relationship A Priority
As Sarah E. Clark, licensed therapist and relationship expert, tells Bustle, couples who stay faithful frequently discuss their relationship and how they can improve. "They know that they're not going to be going outside of their relationship to get what’s missing, so they make an effort to maintain and improve things with their partner," she says. Relationships require nurturing and faithful couples know how to do that.
3. They Take Care Of Themselves Individually
Self-care is an important part of making a relationship work. "If you expect your partner to give you everything you want and need, then you will be constantly disappointed and tempted to look for someone else to fulfill what’s missing," Clark says. "Faithful partners know that they need to look within themselves as well as their relationship to be fulfilled." While their partners will contribute to their happiness, they know not to rely on their partners for all of their happiness.
4. They Make It A Point To Have Date Nights
Date nights are popular for a reason, Dr. Rebekah Montgomery, a clinical psychologist who specializes in relationships, tells Bustle. Couples who remain faithful know that in order for their relationship to last, they need to carve out time for each other whenever they can. "Taking time every week to connect on things other than the logistics is critical for connection," Montgomery says. And the more creative you get with your date night ideas, the better.
5. They're Not Afraid To Be Vulnerable
When you're in a relationship, it's important to open up and allow yourself to be vulnerable. According to Montgomery, couples who stay faithful know when they need to share their thoughts with each other, even if it's a challenge to do so. "When your partner is the one you count on after a tough day or the one you share your deepest secrets and vulnerabilities with, it maintains that feeling of them 'getting' you like no one else," she says. And that keeps you feeling close, connected, and less in need of attention from others.
6. They Constantly Show Support
Couples who stay faithful are each other's biggest cheerleaders. They support each other in the day-to-day details of their lives. For instance, a good luck text from your partner when you have big presentation or a important meeting can go a long way. "Being aware and checking in on your significant other is important in relationships," Montogomery says. "Being in the know and supporting each other helps to keep your bond tight."
7. They Express Their Gratitude
Research has found that gratitude is the key to relationship success. "Expressions of gratitude and compliments not only feel good to hear, but they cement your connection and remind you of what you love about your partner," Montgomery says. Couples who remain faithful don't shy away from giving their partners compliments here and there, and showing their appreciation.
8. They Keep Doing And Learning New Things Together
"Research shows that doing new things together can release the same chemicals in our brain as when you were first falling in love," Montgomery says. "This is a key part of keeping the relationship fresh and exciting." That's why she says couples who stay faithful make time to explore and discover new things together.
9. They Fight In Healthy Ways
In case you didn't already know, fighting (in a productive way) is important to maintaining a successful long-term relationship. According to Dr. Claudia Luiz, psychoanalyst and author, it's one of the common habits of couples who stay faithful to each other. "The habit of fighting will not be easy or comfortable, but it can bring couples closer together," Luiz says. These couples know that avoiding problems can only create bigger problems in the future if left unresolved.
The major difference between couples who remain faithful and those who don't is the work they are willing to put in to their relationship. Fighting productively and planning weekly date nights are habits that develop over time. When you're both actively making an effort to maintain the relationship, cheating shouldn't be a problem.