Things happen, and people make mistakes. If you've been in a relationship where you've agreed to be monogamous, you might have had the experience before, perhaps once or multiple times, where you've stepped outside those boundaries of your contract, so to speak. However, if you've cheated in the past and want to learn how to be loyal to your partner, there are both habits you can instill, and behaviors you can avoid, that can help you to do this. A lot of them have to do with being honest and transparent.
"Cheating starts with insignificant secrets," mental health therapist Jenna Palumbo, LCPC, based in Barrington, IL at Evergreen Therapy, tells Bustle. "These secrets are things that you could tell your partner, but end up deciding it's not that big of a deal."
It can be helpful to pay attention to when you start reasoning with yourself or talking yourself out of sharing something with your partner, like running into an ex you still find attractive or DM-ing an online crush. Keeping everything out in the open can be a really effective way to both build trust, and to deter more action towards cheating.
"[Tell] your partner you're holding yourself accountable to not take [it] any further," Palumbo says. "You can preface it by saying something like, 'I don't think this is a big deal and I wasn't going to mention it, but it doesn't feel good to keep it a secret either, so I want to tell you that I saw my ex yesterday day at the store.'"
Below, take a look at some of the habits you can build, and habits you can avoid, if you want to stay loyal to a partner.