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Caroline Rules: Cheating

How Can You Prevent an Affair?

Caroline Manzo puts the real in The Real Housewives of New Jersey, and her fans relate to the reality star's no-nonsense attitude, focus on family and, above all, abundant common sense.

The Dilemma: Infidelity is such a prevailing topic of late, and many people are looking for ways to preemptively avoid this form of deception in their marriages. Do you think it's possible to prevent cheating through communication? Aside from pledging to be faithful to each other, should a couple discuss this issue before it really becomes one? How would "emotional cheating" factor into such a conversation? Furthermore, should they be honest with each other and confess when or if they ever feel the urge to cheat?

Caroline's Ruling: This is a very difficult question to answer. I researched the statistics on infidelity, and I have to say the numbers were staggering for both men and women.

Only we can decide what's right or wrong in our own relationships. I'll use myself as an example. I'm 49 years old and have been married for over 26 years. So far, so good; I'm definitely keeping him, but I'm not blind to the fact that there are other men out there. I appreciate them and enjoy looking! Big deal. I for one am a flirt — always have been, always will be. So is my husband. Doesn't bother me at all and has never been a sore spot in our relationship.

If I find someone attractive, I'll tell my husband. Over the years there have been opportunities to cheat: I never acted, and believe it or not I told my husband about those propositions too. The defining line is that I'd never do anything to hurt him or our marriage. It's just not worth it to me. In my world it's look but don't touch. Harmless flirting never hurt anyone.

There are so many grey areas when it comes to cheating. I do believe that boundaries should be discussed. What's a big deal for one means less than nothing for another. The last thing you want is to find out that what you consider to be harmless is monumental to your partner.

Emotional cheating and physical cheating is pretty much the same animal. When does a friendship become more than a friendship? What makes you uncomfortable and why does it make you feel that way? Talk about it. Don't yell about it, talk about it.

One thing needs to be said: I believe we all need to be very honest and take a good look at our relationships and ourselves. Don't be so quick to place the blame if cheating occurs. There's a reason. Usually something is broken somewhere. Did you fall into a rut? Did you forget to make time for and appreciate each other? Did you become too possessive, smothering? Did you stop communicating, laughing, listening? Did you stop making him/her feel special and loved? Did you stop thinking about your physical appearance? Did you pick the wrong person? Did you have different ideas of what a relationship is and what the commitment level should be? Think about it. Look at yourself and your partner as individuals and as a couple. What happened? Can it be fixed, and are you both willing to try to make it work?

If you think for a second you're going to change someone by marrying him or her without discussing issues that can potentially be detrimental to your relationship, you're only fooling yourself. Don't fall into the trap; don't be afraid to discuss uncomfortable subject matter for fear of losing that person. If that's the case, then you'll never truly have them. Open and honest communication with mutual respect for each other is one of the fundamental principles in maintaining a healthy relationship.

Remember, Rome wasn't built in a day. Trust, respect, love, laughter, forgiveness, teamwork and communication are the tools for building one hell of an empire!

  • From marriage dilemmas to family issues, Caroline's got the answers!

    Photo by Michael T. Greco
Caroline Rules: Cheating
How Can You Prevent an Affair?
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