We said it earlier, cheating and infidelity, happen but we often wonder why we cheat. People and their relationships are complex, full of their own variations, experiences, and quirks. If you think about it, it’s amazing that most relationships work out at all. Monogamous relationships are comprised of two people with different heritage backgrounds, life experiences, upbringings, and sometimes even social classes coming together to live harmoniously together. Not the easiest of tasks – especially for a relationship lasting decades.
It’s becoming more common than ever to be found in a relationship with a partner who either has cheated in the past or is currently toying with the idea of straying. Most of the time, cheating can be rooted down to one of two issues: an issue with the actual relationship, or an issue with one of the individuals in the relationship. If you’ve found yourself in the middle of infidelity (whether done by you or done to you), you may be looking for answers on how to move forward. However, in order to move forward, sometimes it’s crucial to take a step back.
So let’s take a look at five reasons why we cheat:
Why we cheat reason one: Selfish and Self-Serving Tendencies
Let’s be honest, humans, in general, tend to be selfish creatures. If your partner is showing any early signs of infidelity, he or she may be acting off of those self-serving tendencies. Sometimes, those who cheat tend to have issues with empathy and narcissism. In my research for this post, I encountered Dr. Fran Walfish, who is a Beverly Hills-based family and relationship psychotherapist. She claims that people who cheat do not take into account the feelings of others including their children and relatives.
But, many people that cheat do so simply for the fact that it’s “off-limits” and adrenaline-inducing. There is a high involvement in the nature of cheating. Because it’s wrong, it makes the whole act feel that much better. To make things worse, technology today has made being unfaithful that much easier. Between dating apps and social media in general, it’s easier than ever to begin flirty communication with someone that isn’t your partner. They say the grass is greener on the other side, but that doesn’t mean you should lay in that lawn and forget to water your own…
Why we cheat reason two: Immaturity
Women are known to be the more mature of the sexes. Due to both societal and developmental circumstances, women are generally forced to grow up at a more rapid pace than their male counterparts. Men, generally speaking, seem to act like an adolescent for most of their lives. They are told from a young age to go explore the world and sow their oats before settling down. A large number of men rarely think through the consequences of their actions, and some even think of their monogamy as something they can turn on and off.
But men aren’t the only ones to fall prey to immature actions. There are some relationships that also fall into a parental relationship rather than a romantic, equal one. This is when partners are hiding texts, trying to find ways to stay out late, and even “rebel” against relationship rules. This kind of behavior reflects wanting separation and independence from a relationship, yet keeping the relationship around to make them feel secure. Unfortunately, it’s a slippery slope that almost always leads to straying.
Why we cheat reason three: Lack of Self-Esteem
Someone other than your partner finding you attractive can be a huge ego boost for anyone, regardless of any inclination to cheat. If the relationship has lasted a long time, it’s easy to get caught up in the same routine with your partner day after day. There are those who realize this and worry that the good days of adventure are behind them. They seek new thrills and often associate those kinds of thrills with someone who makes them feel young and in their prime again. While this feeling can be innocent at first, low self-esteem will catapult the search for the feelings of being wanted and craved. Add feelings of isolation and outside vices such as alcohol or drugs, and you certainly have a recipe for straying.
Why we cheat reason four: Breakdown in Communication
Most relationship experts tend to agree that at the source, cheating stems from a lack of intimacy, communication, and needs being met. “Typically, if someone’s cheating, it’s because needs aren’t being met in a marriage or relationship,” says Dr. Megan Fleming, licensed sex and relationship therapist. That can mean sexual needs — but it often means someone’s emotional needs aren’t being addressed.”
It can be appealing to stray and find someone else when you feel your partner no longer cares about what’s happening with you on a daily basis. And while it’s frustrating, that doesn’t mean that you have to be a mind reader for your partner. It’s on your partner to be an equally communicative partner and be open enough to tell you what is wrong. If he/she does have issues expressing themselves, perhaps it’s time to reign in the help of a therapist.
Why we cheat reason five: It’s Over for Them
With the amount of app-based communication methods, we would think communicating would be easier than ever. Unfortunately, that’s not exactly the case. Sometimes, when a partner is ready to end the relationship, they don’t actually want to end the relationship. Breakups can be extremely messy and can end with dramatic amounts of anger, frustration, sadness, and heartache. It’s becoming more and more common that rather than having the difficult conversation about why the relationship isn’t working, a partner would instead cheat in order to make the breakup more “bearable.”
Some claim it’s an act of kindness – that cheating and creating a finite ending for the relationship is better than a conversation that can lead to on-again, off-again dating. They even claim that dealing with the shame of cheating is actually easier than dealing with the emotions surrounding the relationship. If this sounds all too familiar, maybe it’s time to take a step back and learn how to express emotions rather than act out in destructive ways…
Why we cheat – If the Signs Are There…
If any of the things mentioned above resonate with you or raise suspicion about your partner, don’t fret. These feelings don’t always correlate to action and cheating may just be a fleeting thought. It’s never too early to start working on active listening and communication and skills with your partner (which can only improve other non-romantic relationships in your life as well). Learning how to effectively communicate your needs and wants is a life-changing skill and can help rebuild trust between you and your partner.
Infidelity doesn’t mean the end of a relationship, as long as both partners want to restore it. A stronger relationship than ever before is possible, but it will take time and patience from both parties – and it is much easier with guidance. Connect with us in either of our locations in the South Hills of Pittsburgh. We are currently accepting a limited number of new patients, so check out our videos to learn more about how we can help you both find love and openness again.
* This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please contact a medical professional for advice.