How not to cheat
Getting cheated on is horrible and, if you have a soul, being a cheater is bound to cause some sort of uncomfy feeling as well. But this isn’t news. Cheating is painful for all parties and we do not condone it but it happens. Sometimes it’s as simple as your partner being a tool, other times there’s wayyy more going on behind the scenes. Let’s try and peel back the layers of cheating.
What is cheating to you?
First way to figure out how not to cheat? Have an open conversation. Cheating means different things to different people, and it’s essential you and your partner are on the same page here. Otherwise heartbreak is almost inevitable. As a couple you need to define your boundaries – together – because one person’s drunken meaningless kiss may be another’s dealbreaker.
“Just having this conversation may very well break up the relationship,” says Dr Janet Reibstein, relationship psychologist and professor at Exeter University. “But it’s very important for couples to decide what their line is, before it’s crossed.”
Tips on how not to cheat when…
You don’t trust your partner, or they don’t trust you
Dr Diane Iveson is a relationship counsellor (so you can trust what she says). She believes that the starting point for all successful monogamous couples is trust. “Trust is the basic foundation for all successful relationships,” she says, “especially when it comes to sex. Most issues within a relationship that could result in cheating can be traced back to a lack of trust.
“Usually one partner doesn’t trust the other to be faithful and decides to get in there first. Alternatively, one partner can feel so untrusted by the other (who’s constantly accusing them of infidelity) that they decide they may as well do what they’re always being accused of. This is why you should create and foster as much trust as possible.”
You’re feeling neglected somehow in your relationship
At the beginning of relationships, things are usually magical. But most of us are guilty of neglecting our partners as the days, months and years go by. Eventually, this could lead to cheating.
“Self-esteem is often one of the most neglected areas in a long-term relationship,” says Dr Diane, who runs fidelity workshops. “But if we start taking our partner for granted they may be susceptible to flattery from someone else, particularly if they’re not getting the attention they need at home. The fact that someone finds us attractive is a big factor in our attraction to them. So make certain your partner always knows just how sexy you find them.”
You’re not ready to settle down
When you’re young, there’s sometimes an urge to sleep around. And we say, as long as you have consent, go for it. However, doing this and being in a relationship, simply isn’t fair on the other person.
“It’s a dilemma,” says Dr Janet. “At the beginning of a relationship, you have novelty and frequency in your sex life and, over time, this dwindles and almost never recovers. Instead, you build intimacy and, often, the sex is better – but sometimes without the excitement. It’s a trade-off, as you can’t always have both. If you’re in a relationship, you’ve got to decide if you’re ready to choose between them.”
If I fancy other people, does that mean I’m in the ‘wrong’ relationship?
Warning: we’re going to kill the romance for you here. If you still believe in true love and soulmates, look away now…
“There’s no single ‘right’ person out there for you,” says Dr Janet. “There’s no perfect fit for anyone. Ever. Different partners bring out different traits in you. It’s honestly more about how they make you feel. You choose whether you’re able to overlook their slightly more annoying traits (cause we all have them) and if you’re ready to settle down.”
Fancying other people is totally normal, and not a sign you’re in the wrong relationship, as there’s no perfect relationship out there. However, if the feelings get stronger, it may be a sign you’re not ready to ‘choose’ the person you’re with right now.
Is it ever OK to cheat on someone?
What you do with your life is your choice. But the fact is, getting cheated on is horrible and, if you have a soul, being a cheater is going to cause some sort of uncomfy feelings. But this isn’t news. Cheating is painful for all parties and we do not condone it, but it happens. Sometimes it’s as simple as your partner being a tool, other times there’s wayyy more going on behind the scenes. Let’s try and peel back the layers of cheating. You’re also damaging your partner’s faith in fidelity, which they could carry with them into future relationships.
“Cheating quite literally means ‘underhand’,” says Dr Janet. “It’s very hurtful. You have broken faith and behaved in an underhand way.”
If you aren’t ready to settle down and constantly find yourself recreating the distracted boyfriend meme, it may be fairer to end your current relationship – even if losing the security frightens you.
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By Holly Bourne
Updated on 26-Sep-2021
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