It doesn't take a marriage counselor to realize that a little extra dictation with the secretary, getting dirty with the gardener, or steaming it up in the steam room with a stranger could ruin a marriage.

Stopping the affair before it starts could be the key to saving your family.

There's no need, however, to call a private detective, book tickets for Oprah, or install hidden cameras in the guest house (although steamy videos of your husband with the maid go over well in court and those pictures of your wife with the pool boy could fetch quite a fortune on the Internet).

The time to act is now, not after the messy divorce, the wrecked family, a nine-iron through the back windshield, or castration threats. Recognizing signs that your spouse is considering an affair could save your marriage.

Most people, unfortunately, don't know what the signs are ... until now.

man getting facial at spa

No. 5: Greater attention suddenly paid to grooming

Maybe you've noticed that your husband brushes his teeth every day now and has started putting gel in his hair.

Perhaps your wife has purchased cleavage-friendly attire or has budgeted a little extra money to get her nails done. You're dumb enough to think your spouse is doing it to impress you.

Think again.

Ladies, haven't you wondered why your husband's breath smells like pig urine when he kisses you on the cheek before leaving for work, but smells like he's eaten a package of Altoids when he gets home? And men, how come a grimy shirt with frayed sweat pants is the in-house fashion, but high heels and an evening dress make up the "meeting friends for a cup of coffee" wardrobe?

Your spouse is trying to impress somebody. And it's not you.

man looking at computer screen

No. 4: Peculiar and secretive computer usage

Technology has made having an affair much more convenient.

Getting it on with the new assistant or flirting with the wannabe Chippendale/mail-room flunkee takes effort and time. Signing on to a computer anonymously, chatting with strangers online, and scoping out local hotties on a third-party server can be done from the convenience of your work desk or home computer and takes only minutes.

Secret e-mail accounts, excessive computer time, late night hours online, and computers suddenly shutting down when you enter the room are all signs that an affair is in the works.

Chances are if the history of sites visited has been cleared on your computer for 19 consecutive days, there's a reason. If late-night communication with a "friend" is a common activity for your spouse, it's likely that other affair-inducing activities are taking place in the isolated nooks of cyberspace.

porn key on computer keyboard, Internet pornography

No. 3: Watching pornography

Adultery is only a mouse click away.

Viewing naked people committing lewd acts with other naked people (or with themselves) demonstrates the desire for pleasure outside your relationship. Even if it goes no further than viewing things in private -- and you're a fool if you think that's as far as it goes -- these habits are in and of themselves crippling to a relationship and should be confronted before they turn into a "real-life" affair.

Those 13 computer viruses that have suddenly turned up probably weren't caused by a video game your husband tried to download at three in the morning and that $36 movie charge at the hotel probably wasn't a Harry Potter movie marathon.

Affairs don't just happen. If your significant other enjoys unsavory images on his laptop, he probably enjoys unsavory images on his lap.

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