Taking This Short Survey Could
Prevent Your Partner from Cheating on You
Can taking an online survey help you and your partner avoid the crushing pain of infidelity? This one might.
I not only want you to share your anonymous responses to these 12 quick questions with me and other Psych Central readers, importantly, I also want you to share them with your spouse or significant other. And I want your spouse to answer the same 12 questions and share his or her answers with you.
Over the years, many clients of mine have deluded themselves when it comes to infidelity. Two of the top delusions are:
- My partner won’t find out. (But he or she almost always does)
- What I’m doing (sexting, flirting, romantically socializing without sex) isn’t really infidelity. (But guess what? Your spouse often doesn’t see it that way.)
In my last column, I wrote about a highly publicized infidelity survey conducted by The Deseret News, a respected daily newspaper in Salt Lake City.
The Deseret News survey made headlines when it reported results that, for example, found 27% of its respondents do not necessarily consider a one-night stand to be cheating.
That just didn’t comport with my experience working with hundreds, perhaps thousands, of infidelity survivors.
I’m not an expert at surveys, but I strongly suspect that The Deseret News results were skewed because of the way the newspaper’s questions were phrased. My instincts tell me that the newspaper’s respondents asked themselves the question, “Would I consider myself a cheater if I….”
For example, “Would I consider myself a cheater if I had a one-night stand?” To that question, I can understand why 27% of those responding might answer, “no.” It’s akin to asking a bank robber if he or she thinks it’s wrong to rob banks.
But the question likely would have had dramatically different answers if it had been phrased: “Would you consider your spouse/partner a cheater if s/he had a one-night stand?”
They are similar questions – yet very different in their emotional thrust.
As I noted in my previous column, there is no “absolute” definition of infidelity. In a happy, supportive, enduring relationship, the definition of infidelity is NOT what YOU say it is, the definition is what YOUR PARTNER says it is.
You may think it’s perfectly okay to stay in contact with your ex-lover on Facebook, while your partner would see that as an act of betrayal. Who’s right. Your partner is – that is, if you want to sustain and preserve your relations for the long term.
The best time for both you and your partner to each answer the 12 questions that follow is right at the beginning, when you’re ready to make a commitment to one another. It would be ideal to know from the start how each of you would interpret the other’s social interactions.
Please remember, this survey is not the place to be politically correct, especially since no one (other than your partner) will ever know how you answer.
For example, even if everyone in your workplace or your children’s playgroup thinks it’s perfectly okay for your partner to watch pornography alone – but you don’t, please respond below with your heart’s truth.*
Even if you’ve been in a committed relationship for years, or decades, it can still be very helpful to “have the talk” sparked by this survey. There are innumerable cases of long-married couples who are shattered when the husband or wife, for example, develops a romantic, but non-sexual relationship, with another person.
This survey does not require you to enter any identifying information whatsoever. While I know the cumulative results that are submitted won’t be scientifically representative of the population at large, they will provide a checks-and-balance of sort on The Deseret News survey.
* The first 11 of these questions are based on a survey conducted by The Deseret News. They are not intended to reflect Abe Kass’s personal or professional views. Only the final question was added by Abe.
So what is the definition of infidelity? You tell us.