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You may find yourself in a relationship where you or your partner have cheated or you are concerned about the possibility of it. So, What can you do?
Cheating is being romantically or sexually involved outside of your relationship and lying about it to your partner. While cheating certainly doesn’t contribute to a healthy relationship, it is also a sign of issues in your relationship. To avoid cheating, you need to be comfortable expressing your feelings and needs openly and freely.
In this article, you will learn what is behind cheating, how you can avoid it and what you can do if it already happened.
What Is Cheating?
Before we start talking about cheating in a relationship. Let’s understand to what we are referring as cheating.
According to the Merriam-webster dictionary cheating means:
1a: to practice fraud or trickery
b: to violate rules dishonestly
2: to be sexually unfaithful
3: to position oneself defensively near a particular area in anticipation of a play in that area
Cheating is something that you do outside of the agreement with your partner. When you start a relationship, you make promises and set boundaries.
Both of you need to be happy to keep these promises and stay within these boundaries. The moment you feel limited, unhappy, or unwilling to maintain this agreement. You should talk about it with your long-distance partner.
It’s normal for feelings to change. It’s also okay to change your mind about your relationship or to recognise that you’re no longer feel the same way about your partner.
What isn’t okay is to suppress your feelings, nor is it okay to act upon them without telling your partner. As long as you’re honest with your partner, there is always a chance you can work things out. The moment you break this trust, your relationship is over. You can try to make it work, but it will never be the same.
The clearer you are with your partner about your agreement. The easier it will be for you to maintain a healthy relationship based on trust and understanding.
Why People Cheat
While it is possible to have a relationship without cheating. You should consider that cheating is a possibility in your relationship.
One of the ways you can minimise the chances of cheating in your relationship is by always being open and honest about your feelings. The reason partners cheat is because some of their needs are unfulfilled in their current relationship.
When it comes to cheating the question we should be answering are:
- Why there’s a need for cheating? Why do you have a need to cheat? This need is related to unfulfilled needs and desires. You can ask yourself what needs are not fulfilled by this relationship that you need someone else to fulfil them.
- Why can’t you express this need so that both can find an amicable solution? This would avoid the need of cheating, lying and the guilt about it.
- Living separate lives.
- Loosing emotional connection.
- You prioritise your partner’s needs and interests over you.
Let’s say you are very much in love with your partner, and you have complete trust and understanding. At the same time, you have a clear unfulfilled need for physical intimacy. You want to experience physical closeness with another person.
Now you face a dilemma. You love your partner, but you also need physical closeness. A healthy option is to share your feelings and needs with your partner. When they know how you feel, they can try to help you fulfil your needs one way or the other. This way, whatever you decide will be fair, and you will not need to cheat.
You may decide to suppress your feelings, needs and desires for sexual intimacy. It might seem like a good idea at the time, but it will only lead to increased sexual frustration and will put more strain on your relationship.
Lastly, you may fulfil your need for physical intimacy with someone else, without telling your partner. Provided you have a committed monogamous relationship; this would be cheating.
The issue with cheating isn’t the sexual act itself. The problem is compromising the trust on which you’ve built your relationship. Even if you don’t tell your partner about your ventures, you will know that your relationship no longer has trust.
You may start feeling guilty and overtime, this can lead to depression and anxiety, which once again will put your relationship at risk.
How Cheating Affects a Relationship?
A healthy relationship is based on trust and understanding. The reason for cheating is the lack of understanding behind one’s needs and desires. In other words, if you have a desire to be with someone else, you should be able to express it freely to your partner without being judged.
All you do at that point is expressing your feelings and desires without acting on them. Since you are in a relationship any actions you take affect your partner and vice versa. Therefore, it only makes sense to share what is going on inside of you. So, you can discuss it with your partner before taking any actions or decisions that will affect you both.
If your partner was to do something that affected you, would you not want them to tell you about it before hand?
Signs of Cheating
It’s hard to tell when your partner is cheating. For example, just because they’re spending less time talking to you, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are cheating. Maybe your partner is just really busy with things in their life.
At the same time, some things can tell you that your partner might be cheating, such:
- An apparent lack of interest in you or your relationship
- Your partner avoid meaningful conversations
- Your partner stops sharing their feelings or are uncomfortable talking about them
- There is a growing distance building up between the two of you
- Your partner doesn’t want to spend much time with you
- Your partner seems to be overly busy and need to be out of the house most of the time
- They spend significantly less time with you
- Your partner is unwilling to make any effort to keep building your relationship
- Constant arguments that didn’t use to happen
The partner who cheats may experience:
- Erratic behaviour
- Low self esteem
- Lack of focus
The partner who was cheated on may experience (before they know they’ve been cheated on):
- Feeling ignored
- Being suspicious
- Feeling lonely
- Feeling unloved
- Feeling unwanted
Once the cheating is out in the open, the partner who has been cheated on would:
- Feel lied to
- Be angry
- Blame themselves
- Think they are inadequate
- Develop low self-esteem
- Be anxious
- Start to be depressed
- Have difficulty to trust
- Feel sad and disappointed
- Be fearful for the future
- Have difficulty to trust again
How to Prevent Cheating
- Don’t assume that you know everything that is to know about your partner.
- Learn more about your partner’s likes, dislikes, behaviours, goals, history, etc. All of them change over time. So, if you don’t learn something new you stay behind and when you think you know everything that is to know about them. The fact is, that you know everything about who that person was at the time you met.
- Keep working on your communication
If you find that you have a desire to be with someone else. But, you feel uncomfortable or afraid to share it with your partner that can be a sign of trust issues, bad communication or lack of understanding.
In this case, it’s worth addressing these areas to see if there’s something you need to work on.
Once your partner got romantically involved with someone else, it creates a difficult situation for both of you. The partner who cheated is likely to feel guilty about it. Even if the reason they cheated came out of a desperate need for sexual connection that was not fulfilled in your relationship. At the same time, they are also likely to avoid talking about it as they wouldn’t want to hurt you.
While some things are better left unsaid, these puts them in a position of lying to you, which becomes an ever bigger problem. As this compromises the trust in your relationship. Even if they do tell you they have cheated on you that can also be considered as breaking the trust.
In either case, you would need to know why your partner got romantically involved with someone else. It will give you more insight into what was/is lacking in your relationship and to what extend you are responsible for that.
It is easy to feel a victim and see cheating as a betrayal, but in a relationship both people are responsible for it.
For example, your partner may have had a sexual desire that could not be fulfilled with you. Maybe they have tried to bring it up and you have either ignore it or didn’t want to talk about it. This may be enough to get involved with someone else to satisfy their sexual or emotional needs. Therefore, it was up to you to create an environment where your partner would feel free to express themselves. So, that you could have discussions about anything and avoid things getting more complicated.
Can a Relationship Be Fixed After Cheating?
If your partner cheated on you, understanding is more important than forgiving. If all you do is forgive your partner for cheating, you will not know why they did it, so the chances are they will do it again.
So, instead of judging and forgiving, try listening and understanding. It will undoubtedly be a tough thing to do, considering all the emotions flowing through you at the time. However, this approach will give you more clarity about your situation, your partner’s point of view, and the state of your relationship.
Their understanding of your situation will give you the power to make a healthy decision and avoid future heartache and pain.
You can only fix a relationship after cheating if you understand what to change.
If one of you cheated, you had your reasons for doing so. If you have unfulfilled needs in your relationship, either physical or emotional. They will lead you to lose the connection between you and your partner. If you don’t have effective communication with trust and openness, you may lose the emotional connection, which can also be a reason for cheating.
Once you understood why the cheating took place, you can try to fix your relationship if it was a one-off situation. For example, if cheating was due to a lack of physical intimacy. Revamping your sex life, spending time together, doing fun activities, having romantic dates, among others could be a solution.
However, if you lost interest and feelings for your partner, then ending your relationship could be a better solution.
Whatever you decide to do, it’s always better to make an objective decision based on understanding. Rather than a decision that is based on your emotions and judgements of wrongdoing. The moment emotions subside, you may regret making that decision.
Surviving Relationship After Cheating
A relationship can survive cheating provided you can rebuild the trust. However, once the trust has been compromised, it’s tough to trust your partner the same way or expect them to trust you. And without trust, the quality of your relationship won’t be the same.
Ending a Relationship Because of Cheating
After cheating you have three options.
You ignore that cheating ever happened and try to carry on with your relationship the same as before. This is not ideal as it increases the likelihood of cheating again, since you haven’t addressed the reason for it. It is also likely that negative emotions from both sides are going to accumulate in the form of resentment and manifest as countless arguments and fights.
You end your relationship without any discussions or conversations. This is yet another unhealthy option as without knowing the reasons for cheating you are likely to find yourself in the same situation again without understanding the role you played in this happening.
Talk about your situation as objectively as possible. This is a healthier option as it allows both of you to learn the reasons for cheating and what you could have done differently to prevent it. Getting things out in the open will help you identify what was wrong and learn from it going forward. You may work things out and stay together or you may decide to end this relationship because you cannot longer trust each other. This option helps you avoid emotional turmoil and allow you to make a healthy decision based on what would be best for both of you.
In the beginning of a relationship is a good idea to establish the type of your relationship and its boundaries. Having a clear definition of what either of you consider as cheating will help you stay within the boundaries and know if you choose to step out of it.
Trust and understanding are the key aspects of a healthy and successful relationship. Chances of cheating in a relationship increase if you don’t trust each other or think your openness won’t be welcome.
To make a relationship work, you need to maintain emotional and physical intimacy. As well as trust, understanding and good communication.
You can maintain emotional intimacy via open and honest communication.
Without effective communication, there is a chance of emotional cheating. Either you or your partner may try to find an emotional connection with someone outside of your relationship.
The best way to avoid cheating in a relationship is to keep on top of your communication and have a fun sex life.
If one of you has cheated, the best thing you can do is to talk about it objectively to identify the reasons for the cheating. If you can address the reasons for cheating, then it won’t need to happen again. If you don’t resolve the issues that led to cheating in the first place, the chances are, it will happen again.
Help and Advice with Cheating in Your Relationship
Tips to Deal with Cheating in Your Relationship
- Discuss what cheating means for you and your partner.
- Agree and welcome to openly and freely share your desires, even if they are directed to someone outside of your relationship.
- Talk about your unfulfilled needs and try to find a way to satisfy them.
- If your partner is sharing with you their desires to be with someone else. Be grateful for their openness and hear them out with understanding and without judgement.
- You need an agreement of freedoms and boundaries that both of you are comfortable with. You can expect that these freedoms and boundaries can change with time. So, prepare for it and agree on the best way to bring it up to your partner if that happens.
If you don’t know how to deal with cheating and you need professional help and advice, get in touch and we’ll be happy to help!
Frequently Asked Questions
How much cheating is too much?
A one of cheating is a sign that something isn’t working in your relationship.
How much time and space after cheating?
After cheating is best to talk about right away to address the underlying issues. You can then choose to stay together, to have some time apart or to completely end your relationship.
Should you forgive a cheater?
After cheating is best to learn about the reasons why it happened, rather than trying to forgive without learning what caused it in the first place. Unless you learn what caused cheating you will not know the problem behind it. Without fixing this problem the cheating is likely to happen again.
Is cheating wrong?
Cheating can be an opportunity for you to learn what isn’t working in your relationship. Knowing this you can decide to fix it or let it go.
Can cheating be justified?
You can justified pretty much anything. If you have a way to justify cheating express these reasons to your partner before cheating to see what they say.
Will cheating help my relationship?
If your partner cannot fulfil your sexual needs you may think that by cheating you can satisfy your needs and therefore save your relationship. However, you will still be compromising trust without which your relationship cannot longer be healthy. In this situation, it’s best for you to express your unfulfilled needs to your partner so both of you can try to find another way. For example, you can try to spice up your relationship by inviting someone else or by trying an open relationship.
Do you really love someone if you cheat on them?
You can have strong romantic feelings for your partner while having a desire to have a sexual experience with someone else.
Will cheating partner cheat again?
Cheating is likely to repeat if the reasons for cheating remain unaddressed.
Is texting or kissing considered cheating?
You know you are cheating if you are doing something that your partner considers as cheating. For that, you need to ask them and agree what cheating means for them and tell them what cheating means for you.