Infidelity, Cheating & Affairs​

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Cheating, affairs and infidelity have been happening for ages in all types of relationships. It doesn’t discriminate based on era, age, gender or race. However, because of technology, some say cheating has become so much easier. Likely due to the fact that in the past people were limited to the opportunities directly in front of them. 

In today’s society cheating is so much easier with the invention of the internet. Now there are so many possible avenues with dating sites,  apps, cheating or hook up sites, and internet pornography. These can all be available to someone in the blink of an eye. Individuals no longer have to worry about proximity to cheat, now they can find someone or something anywhere across the globe.  

 

Despite the advances in technology and more opportunities for cheating, it doesn’t mean that individuals are doing it more. In fact, research has found that people are less likely to cheat than they have been in years past. It is believed that even with all of these new technologies, human values remain the same and the importance of fidelity.

Why is my partner cheating?​

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There are many different reasons why a partner may be cheating. There are some standard reasons why people may cheat, and these probably have not changed much throughout time. Some well know reasons some may cheat or factors that may be happening within a relationship that could increase the risk of a partner having an affair could include: 

– Feeling disconnected from their partner, struggling to stay connected in the relationship. 

– Lack of trust or feeling betrayed by a partner’s past actions. 

– Low self esteem and feelings of inadequacy. 

– Boredom in the relationship or lack of passion or excitement. 

– A desire for more sexual variety or different types of sexual experiences. 

– Not feeling appreciated or taken for granted by their partner. 

– Feeling neglected and not prioritized in the relationship. 

– Other external factors such as an attractive third party, financial incentives or pressures from their job. 

Addictions that could be altering their ability to comprehend their actions.

 

It is important to note that none of these factors are sufficient on their own to cause someone to cheat, but they can all contribute to an increased risk of a partner having an affair. In order to protect and strengthen the relationship it is essential for couples to work together in addressing any of these issues that may be present in their relationship. This might include having regular honest conversations about each other’s needs, addressing any underlying resentments or anxieties that may be present, and exploring different methods of communication. It is also important to recognize that it may take time for the relationship to heal from an affair if one has occurred. With patience and understanding it is possible to rebuild trust in a relationship and create a strong foundation for the future. 

What are the risk factors to becoming a cheater?​

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Looking deeper into individual risk factors can also shed some light to someone’s cheating behavior. There are several individual factors that can, but not always, contribute to cheating or that may increase their chances of being unfaithful.

 

  • If someone has grown up in an unloving household, where their own parents do not show or display a healthy relationship. Parents are the first example kids receive of what a good marriage/relationship looks like, so if the role models are not setting good examples, kids can carry thins throughout life and their own relationships. Specifically, if a parent themselves cheats, a child can be more than two times more likely to cheat in their own marriages.
 
  • Unresolved past traumas, such as physical, emotional or sexual abuse can shape a person’s brain to react to intimacy and a loving relationship different than those without past abuse. An individual’s attachment style in itself can be changed and altered through this trauma. Of course, with help from a therapist or counselor these issues can be resolved and not continue to affect the individual or the relationship. 
 
  • Psychological issues such as certain personality disorders and low self-esteem can also contribute to someone cheating. Someone who is diagnosed as having Bipolar disorder or Narcissistic traits or personality disorder are at a higher rate to engage in affairs and cheating behavior. Individuals may struggle with being self-centered and a lack of empathy for their actions. Individuals with low self-esteem may be drawn to outside attention to help themselves feel good about themselves or the illusion of it.

Is there a difference to being unfaithful vs a cheater?​

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When it comes to relationships, fidelity is an important part of trust and faithfulness. Unfaithfulness and cheating are two sides of the same coin, but they are not necessarily the same. Cheating is a breach of trust in a relationship, usually involving some type of physical or emotional infidelity. It can take many forms, including physical contact with someone outside of the relationship or having sexual relations with someone other than one’s partner. Unfaithfulness on the other hand may not always involve physical contact, but instead may be more about thoughts and emotions that go beyond what is appropriate for a partner in a committed relationship. This could take the form of flirting with someone else online, sending intimate messages or spending time daydreaming about someone else.

Both unfaithfulness and cheating damage relationships because they involve betrayal and secrecy. Cheating though can create an even greater sense of anger and betrayal as it often involves physical contact with another person that goes against agreed upon boundaries within a committed relationship. In addition to being emotionally hurtful, cheating also has implications for one’s health due to the potential exposure to sexually transmitted diseases if there was unprotected sex involved in the affair.

The main difference between unfaithfulness and cheating then is that cheating involves physical contact while unfaithfulness does not necessarily have to involve any kind of intimacy or body contact at all; it can simply be emotional in nature. The consequences however can be just as damaging either way regardless if it was emotional or physical involvement since both types of behavior still involve dishonesty at their core which undermines trust within a partnership.

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The chances of reversing the trend of being a cheater depend on a number of factors. First, there needs to be an honest assessment of why the person was cheating in the first place. Was it because they were feeling neglected or unfulfilled in their current relationship? Did they feel like something was missing and sought attention elsewhere? Or did they simply act out impulsively with no thought as to the consequences? Understanding what drove them to cheat is important for making changes in the future.  

Reframing destructive paths

Once any underlying issues are identified, counseling and therapy can be used to create positive change. Working with a trained therapist or counselor allows a person to gain insight into themselves and their behavior. It provides an opportunity to evaluate why certain behaviors occur, become more aware of their choices and develop healthier coping mechanisms. This is also helpful for reframing distorted thinking which can lead people down destructive paths. Therapy can also provide education about healthy relationships and communication skills that can help in avoiding repeating impulses to cheat again in the future.

Having accountability

Having accountability is also essential for resisting temptation when it arises. A close friend or family member who knows about someone’s history of cheating can provide another layer of support when times get tough by providing encouragement or providing an outlet to talk openly and honestly about their struggles without judgement. Talking through difficult decisions with someone else can help provide clarity when considering whether or not an impulse should be acted upon. 

Meaningful connections

Finally, those who have been struggling with cheating should focus on creating meaningful connections within existing relationships instead of seeking fulfillment from outside sources. Communicating closely with partners about wants, needs, desires, and boundaries can help ensure everyone feels heard, appreciated, respected and loved. Taking time for self-care activities such as exercise, meditation | mindfulness practice, reading or hobby development can also help cultivate feelings of contentment that will further foster strong relationships over time. 
 
While some research shows that the old saying “once a cheater, always a cheater”. Reversing the trend of being a cheater isn’t easy but it is possible with some hard work and dedication. Identifying underlying causes behind the cheating behavior; utilizing therapy sessions; having an accountability partner; strengthening existing relationships through communication; and taking time for self-care activities are just a few strategies that could prove helpful in preventing future infidelity instances from occurring again. 

Will it happen again?

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It should be noted that with hard work and self-discovery through counseling and therapy, it is totally possible to avoid cheating or having an affair in the future. Reach out to for a free 15 minute consultation with Megan Corrieri if you would like to discuss your situation personally. 

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Megan Corrieri

Megan Corrieri

Owner, Clinician, Wife & Mom

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