Alright. It happened. The thing you never wanted to happen. The thing you’d never think could happen to you. They cheated. You were played. Now what? Looking in front of you, your life is seemingly in pieces and you’re not sure how to react or what to do. It’s important to figure this out before you make the wrong choice.
It’s very common to hear about people cheating. It has been so normalized that people seem to let it pass them by. People have a different perspective on relationships nowadays – they are not immediately seen as permanent. Some people may worry that infidelity has become so common in our society that it has also become common to be shocked when witnessing successful marriages.
So how does cheating happen? People cheat because there is something that they are unhappy with in their relationship. There are many ways to deal with unhappiness in a relationship, and the least thought-out decision is cheating. People who cheat aren’t usually thinking too much about what they’re doing – they are just dealing with their problems in the easiest (most cowardly) way possible. When people cheat, they usually find a sort of peace or gratification in the act, as if it takes them away from the problem in their relationship, only to realize it is only temporary.
So cheating essentially exposes a problem in the relationship. It’s important to explore what the problem is and address it in better ways than infidelity, since that breach of trust can be extremely detrimental and cause chain effects of anger and potentially even more infidelity (you know the saying “once a cheater, always a cheater”? Yeah, that’s because most people who cheat don’t take the time to understand what they’ve done, and so that weakness means that they are way more likely to cheat again). If you feel like cheating – STOP: ask yourself – what is making me unhappy in this relationship? Can it be fixed? Does the problem highlight that we are *incompatible*? If the problem is fixable and you care about your partner, talk to them about it. If it’s not and you feel incompatible, end it.
If someone has cheated on you, here is what you should do.
- Do not give the cheater a ‘pass’ until you feel like the problem has been addressed and resolved (or ensure that there are clear steps outlined for resolving the issue).
- Do not avoid dealing with the problem at the root, otherwise you run the risk of allowing the cheater to subconsciously believe that they can get away with their behaviour.
- Do not waste negative energy on the cheater. If you need time to feel calm enough, then take the time alone, and talk to support-people first. If you go into the conversation without a clear head, you will just end up getting upset and you will feel way worse than you did when you started. Anger will not get you what you want, and a revengeful attitude is a waste of breath and energy.
- Know that you are a whole person, someone who deserves respect. Being treated unfairly does not make you less of a person and does not define your worth. Console your self-esteem.
- Know yourself before-hand: if cheating is a deal-breaker, then break the deal. Period.
Cheating is a very real part of life, and most people will experience it in some way throughout their lives. Just remember that everything in life happens for a reason, and the best way to deal with a horrible situation is to grow from it. Take this opportunity to learn as much as you can about how to deal with other people, and how you can learn more about who you are and what you want. Cheating and being cheated on can sometimes be some of the best opportunities for growing stronger as an individual, however it is important to really delve into that, otherwise you’ll just end up with a seriously broken heart or an unconscious mind. Don’t cheat yourself!