How to protect your relationship during peak infidelity season

Sexologist Dr Nikki Goldstein explains why cheating is rife at this time of the year – and what you can do now to safeguard your relationship.

This might sound a little scary as the festive season is a time of loving and family, but it’s also a time where factors can align to work against you in your relationship. Why infidelity might be the highest during this time could come down to stress + lack of time + opportunity. These three things exist in most relationships and during many other times, but if you have been facing issues throughout the year, these could tip your relationship over the edge as the holiday period approaches.

When there are issues in a relationship, it would seem simple to just address them, but there are often also so many other things going on in life.

Financial stress, work stress, family stress combined with a lack of time to work on what life throws at you.

We are expected to have a perfect home, look after ourselves by getting lots of sleep and working out, take over the world and capture it all on our phones to share with a bunch of people we don’t even know.

Issues that arise in a relationship can commonly be pushed down the line of importance and in doing so, the relationship itself can slide further and further down the list of priorities. Often a couple can be in denial about the issues that they are facing or how unhappy they are, only making matters worse.

There are many reasons why someone cheats and there isn’t always a clear explanation for every scenario. But one reason is often when there is trouble at home.

It’s not necessary a lack of sex or having lots of arguments, but when a couple are struggling, things like intimacy, connection and desire go out the window. It can be a lonely place even though you might be surrounded by people and sharing a bed with your spouse.

With celebrations, Christmas parties and that feeling of letting your hair down over a few drinks, what happens when you meet someone who shows you that attention, makes you feel desired or you feel that intimacy with?

Often, it’s those moments that makes someone realise exactly how bad things are in their relationship and exactly what has been lacking. People in this situation don’t often go out with the intent to cheat, but when they are faced with getting what has been missing for so long and realising that those things have been missing, it’s often hard to say no or stop their body reacting to this attention in a way that feels normal.

Add in a few drinks, lowering inhibitions and impacting the decision-making process and it is a recipe for temptations, flirtations and crossing that red line.

My intent is not to make you panic you but rather encourage you to look at where your relationship is right now, no matter how busy life is or feels. Be honest with yourself and with each other about how happy you have been this past year.

Often awareness is the first step to working on things and moving things forward.

The answers to getting back to a good place may not be so straight forward, but acknowledging that things are not okay and starting to make the effort to fix them is the first and most important step in the process.

Heading into this holiday season, consider all of the factors at play and how they might impact you and your partner. Before work drinks, celebrations with friends and long overdue catch ups with cocktails in hands are had, take some time to also celebrate your relationship.

Sneak in a date night or do something that reminds you of what you do have at home. You can never completely cheat proof a relationship nor should that be your goal.

But whilst you are focusing on presents and end of year parties, also focus on that special someone in your life and make sure that time, connection and intimacy with them is also on that long list of things to do. Life is not always perfect and neither is love, but the effort you put in might just be the one thing to make it all seem better.

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