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The ‘other women’ tell all about why some spouses stray

Sherry Amatenstein, LCSW, is a clinical therapist, and the author of three books, among them, Love Lessons from Bad Breakups and The Complete Marriage Counsler. She gives love advice on programs including Today and HuffPost Live, conduct...

When people cheat on their spouse, it's not always because of sex

While it is not your fault if your spouse is unfaithful — they are the one betraying the wedding vows — it's interesting to know why some people do it. When a partner cheats, it’s typically not that their infidelity partner is so irresistible but that she provides a straying partner with qualities they feel are lacking in the marriage.

Make sure you don't stop noticing your partner and the little things

Pam (names are changed) remarks, “I’ve had relationships with two married men, and the commonality with both was that they were starved for attention. Their wives had sex with them; it wasn’t that so much as the husbands felt as noticed as furniture. Dan, who I dated for eight months, said several times, ‘She showers the dog with more affection than she does me!’”

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Everyone wants to know that their opinions and feelings matter, that when you talk, your partner stops checking their iPhone and listens.

Pay attention to your partner, let them know they are important to you, and it is less likely they will ever feel the need to pay attention to another woman.

Don't lose your sense of self

Ann cites the reason her married guy fell in love with her — and yes, eventually left his wife — was that he was attracted to Ann’s sense of self. She says, “His wife depended on him for everything — she had no friends, no outside interests."

The best couples are not co-dependent but inter-dependent, that is each has outside interests and friends that make them more engaged in the world. Take classes, spend time with gal pals, go for the promotion if it’s something you feel you deserve and want. It's your job as a couple to be supportive and loving for each other's interests and to not shut out the world that exists outside of you two.

More: 4 things you can do to prevent divorce, according to a couples' therapist

Don't get in the habit of judging each other

Samantha explains, “Tom told me straight up that he didn’t feel safe talking to his wife… He felt like anything he told her she would belittle. She even confided his secrets to a couple while on a double date. Tom felt emasculated.”

Your spouse needs to trust that they can be vulnerable with you — that whatever they say won’t be laughed at or derided. Treat your partner the way you want to be treated — with kindness and respect — and you can build an affair-proof foundation.

Talk about sex openly but constructively

Tami said of her married man, “Ron told me his wife complained a lot about his technique and his drooping belly… He felt like she was doing him a favor when she agreed to make love so he stopped wanting to… at least with her!”

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While sex is clearly not the only motivation for a man to look elsewhere, nor is it justifiable, but sex does matter to most couples. When sex starts to seem as desirable as having a root canal, you should work it out as a couple without judgment. If sex between the two of you is no longer pleasurable, instead of being rejecting, be open to talking about it, perhaps with a marriage counselor.

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