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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