We all understand that trust and loyalty are the bedrock of any relationship. At the point two people decide to become exclusive and focus all their time, efforts and energies into one another, the emotional dynamics change, and the first brick is laid on that foundation. While talking about cheating may be awkward, it is important to make time to discuss what each person considers cheating and its overall impact.
In today’s high-tech world, communication of all types is easier than ever, so it stands to reason that technology also makes it easier to blur the lines of fidelity. Is sending a Facebook message to an old girlfriend/boyfriend wrong? Is exchanging emails with a co-worker after hours crossing the line? Is a kiss the same level of cheating as having sex? Is an emotional affair just as damaging as a physical one? The answers to these questions vary among individuals and I suggest knowing where your new partner falls on the continuum before the cement sets on too many of those bricks. It could certainly save you some heartache and disillusionment later.
Before I go further, please know I am not trying to discourage or discolor the beauty of a new relationship. Unfortunately, cheating is a present threat and I believe the best guard against it is knowledge and self-awareness. Here are a few statistics, and then we will talk about the reasons and possible counter measures. Depending on the survey; it is noted that anywhere from 30-45% will cheat at some point in their life. Men edge out women, but just slightly. Of those that do cheat, the rate of repeat offense is 350%, especially if they did not get caught the very first time. The current numbers also state that when it comes to online affairs; 40% of them turn into actual physical affairs.
So, what drives a person to turn their back on their partner and engage in activity that could certainly undermine, if not destroy, the relationship they so lovingly entered?
Lack Of Moral Character/Selfish – It is sadly true that some people are just not very good. They may have certain positive qualities; be fun, charismatic, and even kind, but there is a deficit in the honor department. They are selfish and believe they are entitled to do what feels good at the time. They live by the creed ‘what they don’t know won’t hurt’. The problem lies when ‘they’ do find out and that hurt inevitably occurs. Honestly, there isn’t much you can do to prevent this type of cheating. If you picked someone with low/no moral character, the chances of you changing them is very, very small. However, if you pay attention, there are clues. If you partner is overtly selfish, please take notice. It doesn’t 100% mean they will cheat, but you will always feel less secure and in second place if they consistently put their wishes/plans/needs ahead of yours. Also, what are their views on cheating. If you had the discussion I mentioned above, this type of person will usually drop hints (aka red flags) about a cavalier attitude on this subject. Another clue is how you met them? If you guys hooked up while he/she were still talking to someone else…well…what do you think they will do to you?
Lack Of Physical Intimacy/Unsatisfied/Bored – It is very common around the two year mark that routine sets in. Boredom in the bedroom (or a decline in the action) creates a strong pull for straying. There are many explanations for what creates this stalemate (pun intended), but the good news is there are proven and fun ways to prevent them. The key here is communication. Two people need to be willing to discuss expectations on frequency, desires, needs, etc. Ideally, if these conversations happen early on, there are no surprises. When one person feels neglected or unwanted, they should feel safe to bring up the subject, so a suitable and realistic remedy can take place. If one half of the partnership ignores the expressed physical needs of their love ally, the bedrock starts a slow decay.
Lack Of Emotional Intimacy/Lonely – This one, my dear Hopefuls, in my opinion, is the most damaging situation. The number one reason people cheat is because they perceive their partner has abandoned them emotionally. Regardless of gender, we ALL have the innate need to be connected, loved and treasured by another. When one person consistently blocks affection, turns a cold shoulder, ridicules and treats the relationship with apathy, their partner is left holding an empty emotional vessel. It will not take long before either they look for someone else to pour into that vessel, or another notices the deserted and discarded love chamber and offers their services. Either instance results in a catastrophic event for the couple. I know everyone will not agree with me, but I consider an emotional affair to be harder to survive than a brief physical encounter. Once someone has crossed over into a warm and caring connection, it is more difficult to walk away. It is vital that we all fiercely protect the emotional boundaries of our relationship. Do not become lazy or indifferent to your partner’s longings and wishes. Zealously learn and speak their love language. Fill their passion tank to overflowing.
It would be my wish that none of you ever again experience the pain and trauma from the effects of cheating. I believe in preemptive influence and hope something within these paragraphs might keep your love boat on a straight course. If you see warning signs, please talk to your partner. If YOU are considering a brief climb over the commitment wall, please stop and examine your motives and the fallout. Talk to you partner. Settle any ongoing grievances or work out unresolved issues. If the relationship is important to you, keep your focus and energies there. There is a very thin line between being faithful and true and ruining a beautiful thing. I only ask everyone do their part to keep the love alive.
Hope With Abandon