People who are in a relationship cheat on their partners for a variety of reasons. It could be a loss of newness or passion, or it could be that one partner feels that their emotional or sexual needs are not being met in the relationship. People are also more likely to cheat if they associate with people who also cheat.
A new study published in the Journal of Sex Research has suggested a unique way to prevent partners from straying if they start entertaining the thought of infidelity.
A simple technique called ‘partner perspective-taking’ can help couples maintain a healthy and stable relationship and prevent partners from cheating on each other.
The technique asks you to put yourself into your partner’s shoes and think in a way they think and go about their day.
“Attempting to see a situation from a partner’s perspective, and striving to feel and think as the partner would—in other words, engaging in perspective-taking—enables people to understand their partners and feel compassion for them,” writes Gurit Birnbaum of the Reichman University in Israel, the lead author of the paper.
For the study, Birnbaum and her collaborators divided the participants into two groups. The first group, the controlled one, was asked to describe a day in the life of their partner. The second group was asked to do the same thing but engage in partner perspective-taking. For instance, they were asked to describe what their partner might be thinking, feeling, or experiencing if they were looking at the world through their eyes.
The researchers then asked both groups to look at a series of pictures and rate whether the individual shown would make for an attractive alternative partner. They discovered that the second group displayed less interest in the replacement partner.
Aside from keeping the urge to cheat at bay, partner perspective-taking has other benefits for your relationship, according to the researchers.
It helps build empathy as it can make both partners aware of what the other one could be going through and get better acquainted with their perspective. It can also de-escalate conflicts because when you put yourself in their shoes, you can see the argument from their side and be more encouraged to arrive at a satisfying conclusion for both.
The researchers also shared advice for long-term partners on how they can remain faithful to their partners, along with using partner perspective-taking. They suggested that you consciously start focusing more on your partner and try to learn new things about them to keep it fresh.