Why Do People Cheat?
There are the usual responses that we may think of, and we will touch upon those. However, it is important to first understand that the reasons people cheat aren’t always apparent. This is something to bear in mind because people often struggle to process things when they actually happen.
We will approach the topic in three broad categories. First is the individual. Second is the relationship itself. Third, and last, is a circumstance or a situation that a couple might find themselves in.
Category One: The Individual
If a person has a history of infidelity and is only concerned with self-satisfaction, then they will act on that. And they will likely do so again in the future. Usually, individual reasons are based around value systems and habits of being. That is, what one has practiced over a long period of time based on what they believe to be right.
Category Two: The Relationship Itself
The relationship itself can also be a reason why people feel they can justify cheating. This is usually because the relationship is strained to a point that the couple has stopped moving forward together. They’re stagnating and trying to figure out whether or not they’re meant to be with each other. It’s a regression to ‘me‘ thinking, rather than the ‘we‘ thinking which is so important in a relationship.
The relationship itself is usually what we think of when we think of reasons why people are cheating. We tend to think that they’re not happy in that relationship. But the reason they’re not happy in that relationship isn’t always obvious. People tend to think that it’s about chemistry or intimacy, but sometimes those things are not the causes. Sometimes, they’re the symptoms. There are deeper issues in a relationship that cause difficulty. These deeper issues can easily help someone to rationalize doing something that they may not have done otherwise.
Category Three: Circumstance
This category is based upon circumstantial or situational reasons that people cheat in a relationship. Environment is such an important thing for human beings. If your situation is family-based, then your thoughts are constantly about how you’re moving forward together and in what ways you can improves your lives together. While there are circumstances that help hold your relationships together, there are also circumstances that can pull your relationship apart. Unfortunately, the latter of those circumstances can be the most common ones.
If a couple experiences prolonged absences from each other, for any reason, they may start to get used to distance. They may even start to forget the sorts of things that kept them in check when in their normal environment. One may begin to do things that they normally would not do.
How Do People End Up Cheating?
Within this new mindset, these things suddenly seem okay. So, you meet somebody at a bar and you start to talk. Because you’ve been away from your partner for a while, you place yourself within the frame of the potential environment that is being presented to you in that moment. And so, you behave on emotion. You can be motivated emotionally on the basis of what you think is possible in this new situation.
When you meet someone new and you get to know them, and there’s pain in your own relationship, you may deal with that pain by idealizing this new person. Since you don’t really know them, you tend to cling to parts of them that seem to be like you. You start to create a story that justifies the things that you haven’t dealt with in your own relationship.
That’s a very common reason why people will stray from their relationships. They start to find ‘solutions’ in a new person who they don’t know very well. But that’s because they haven’t found the solutions in the relationship they’re already in.
Sure, sometimes the relationship they’re in may not be the relationship they’re meant to be in. However, more often than not, they don’t get to the point in the current relationship where they truly know that that’s the case.
They just make assumptions based on the grass being greener on the other side. 99% of the time it just ends up being a cycle in which they discover that this person doesn’t get them either, and then they find someone else and it becomes a pattern. It becomes another habit in their life.
The third category, focusing on circumstance, really brings together the individual, the relationship, and the environment within the current relationship. To truly be free, you have to know that you have found the truth of the relationship that you’re in. You have to have looked at it and looked at yourself, because a lot of the things that we see as problems are really just projections of what we can’t deal with within ourselves.
Can One Avoid Cheating?
Very often, couples think that, because they’re in an intimate relationship with somebody, the other person is meant to fix up the bits that they are missing. They think that they should complement them in that way somehow. But that is an illusion.
Every person has to be complete within themselves. The reason you’re in a relationship is because you love the other person and you want to do something together. You want to move forward together. You want to be in each other’s company because you potentiate each other’s authenticity, not because you make up for each other’s deficiencies.
It’s when people start to look at who they truly are that they start to find out what’s truly going on, and what seemed to be a relationship issue is now realized as a personal issue that needs to be worked through, and that takes the strain off of the relationship. Through this realization, the responsibility to fix the issue is taken away from the other person, and often the relationship starts to heal.
As this person now takes responsibility for their own journey and for their own issues and for healing themselves, the relationship ironically becomes a healing space. It is now a place of truth and the other person wants to support you, because, ultimately, you don’t want to break your relationship.
How to Make Things Work
When you can find a way forward that is healing and truthful, then you experience harmony in your relationship. What used to be painful now suddenly becomes a space in which you can be free and grow. And, suddenly, the temptation to stray just seems less attractive because you can start to truly see the value and the richness of what’s in the relationship that you already have.
The relationship you’re in may be a bad relationship, or it may not be the relationship that you want, or it may have been a mistake, etc, etc. That’s fine. But, if you go through this process, you will know for sure and you’ll be able to separate cleanly from that relationship, if that’s the case for you, rather than having to go through the pain that infidelity brings.
Being honest with your partner and asking yourself all of the things that need to be asked so that you can make sure that you are seeing the situation clearly are so important, because, as a great philosopher once said, “We don’t see the world as it is. We see the world as we are.”