Cheating Isn’t The Problem, Cheating Is The Result of The Problem
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I have long since held the position that someone who truly loves and cares for you, will never cheat on you.
My personal belief is that cheating should be the end of a relationship – I know there are other writers and speakers out there who may advocate for giving a second chance for whatever reason, but to me, cheating is the ultimate way to break your word of monogamous commitment to another human being.
That being said, I think a lot of people place cheating into its own silo, as if it is a stand-alone problem. “Why do men cheat?” “Why do women cheat?”
It doesn’t work that way.
Most people don’t wake up one day and simply decide they’re going to cheat on their boyfriend/girlfriend/significant other/life partner/whatever. Unless they just have a pattern of cheating in every relationship (in which case the problem isn’t you, anyway), there is probably a series of events that lead up to someone’s breaking point.
Let me reiterate – there is no excuse for cheating on your partner.
The reasons, however, could be varied. Odds are, you’ve been heading down a path of miscommunication or distrust for quite some time. Perhaps one of you has been frustrated about something, but hasn’t properly expressed it to your partner.
Or, perhaps you’ve expressed it to them, but they don’t put in any effort to change.
Maybe there is an illness or physical challenge that has cut back on your physical intimacy, causing frustration.
Maybe one of you has had to travel for awhile and you’ve been apart from each other.
These sets of circumstances are the actual issue – cheating is simply the result that comes out of it.
Let’s assume we are dealing with just a standard relationship where the couple sees each other frequently and there are no extreme circumstances. I was recently asked what my advice would be to one of the partners if the other cheated – should they stay together, or go their separate ways?
For the reasons stated above, I think the relationship is toast. People will say “but, can’t you fix communication issues? Can’t you try harder? Don’t they deserve a second chance?”
Maybe if they had actually put in effort to extinguish small fires along the way, before the entire thing went up in flames, I’d be more willing to give some wiggle-room here.
Remember, cheating begins the second you start hiding things from your partner that you don’t want them knowing about.
The fact of the matter is that if someone allows things to get so bad in their relationship that they decide their only option is to betray the very thing the relationship is defined by (monogamous commitment to you) then there are far bigger underlying problems than communication issues.
A mature adult has absolutely no excuse for needing to take such extreme actions to escape a problem, or avoid a discussion – they should have the dignity and respect for themselves (and you) to sit down and either communicate their frustrations, or simply end the relationship.
Is it going to suck? Absolutely.
Is this part of being an adult? Hell yes.
This is another issue with our lack of communication. Not only are we losing the ability to build a relationship with another person, we are subsequently losing our ability to maintain that relationship. It’s one thing to find a boyfriend or a girlfriend – but it’s a whole other thing to be consistent with them over time and put in the effort to make things work.
Yes, it takes effort. Relationships aren’t a part-time commitment. You’re either in, or you’re out.
Do not cheat for the sake of saving someone’s feelings because you don’t want to break up with them. 10 out of 10 times, they will be hurt, but at least you’ll be able to walk away with your dignity and the knowledge that you did the right thing.
Cheating is the coward’s way out of any relationship – and lack of communication or physical intimacy is no excuse.
We need to learn to communicate with each other consistently so things never get to the point where cheating even crosses your mind. And if this is genuinely too difficult of a concept to grasp, there is one simple solution:
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I know a guy who cheated simply because he wanted variety. He said, I love my wife. I don’t want to leave her. We don’t argue, fuss, or fight. I just like variety…
The way I see it is, variety is for single people. Which – is totally fine if that’s the life you want to live. But if you choose to commit to someone and become monogamous, part of the deal is that you leave variety (with other people) at the door, and create variety within the boundaries of your relationship.
Just my .02, but it sounds like that guy just wanted his cake and to eat it, too.
That phrase never made sense to me, but you know what I mean.
This is such a great piece…. Extremely insightful. Thank You James
Am enjoying every bit of this article James u teaching me thanks
Monogamous relationships are built on conditions of equality, reciprocity, and trust. In essence, they are the result of a binding contract, where both parties agree to uphold the conditions, and trust the other party to do the same. The contract may be amended many times over the course of the relationship, but the foundational conditions are maintained. If they are not, the contract is null and void.
Relationships are obviously not as ‘cut and dry’ as this. Based on emotion, they are unique, surprising, messy and beautifully imperfect. And they are free to be because of mutually agreed upon equality, reciprocity and trust.
Anyone who violates the foundational conditions and principles, does so knowingly. The lies they tell-whatever they may be, prove this point. One does not lie unless they believe there is something to protect. In the case of the cheater, protecting their opportunities to cheat becomes more precious than their relationship. The relationship goals turn from upholding their aforementioned contract, to keeping the truth at bay- and they go to great lengths to do so.
Cheaters have ‘reasons’ for cheating, but they are irrelevant, because the ‘contract’ was nullified the moment the cheater decided to step out of the relationship. Monogamy was severed- Equality, reciprocity and trust dissolved. In their place, hypocrisy, and entitlement are inserted. The ‘reasons’ are meaningless because they are offered too late. Often after the cheater has been caught.
These ‘reasons’ are compelling because of the nature of this form of abuse. The victim wants to know “Why”…and absorbs every possible scenario offered, searching for truth and meaning. Seeking a way to understand the absurdity. But in reality, there is nothing for a sane emotionally healthy person TO understand. The ‘reasons’ are merely up cycled fabrications, built from bits of truth or circumstance, in effort to distance him / herself from responsibility of their own choices. These ‘reasons’ are lies the cheater tells him/herself to pacify and eventually suffocate their conscience.
The cheater seeks to rationalize their deplorable behavior to themselves over and over, until they believe in their compulsion. And they believe they are victims. Nothing is offered and everything is fine until the cheater has to speak on their choices and somehow validate them. Had these ‘reasons’ been raised before cheating commenced, they would not be ‘reasons’…they would be something that looked like a proactive conversation.
There is a distinctive set of traits that cheaters seem to possess, and entitlement is the most prevalent one. They believe their ‘needs’ are greater than anyone else’s, and covertly reserve the right to usurp their partner’s inalienable human right to truth, safety and dignity. They go in to the ‘contract’ of relationship knowingly violating the principles of equality, reciprocity and trust.
I agree with you, JamesMSama, “…there is no excuse for cheating on your partner”, but, I’ve seen too many good people abused by infidelity to not wonder if it might actually be a “stand-alone problem”. Maybe a “stand-alone problem” that emanates from the Silo of one’s own being.
The bottom line…a cheater cheats because he / she feels entitled to do so.