Cheating happens. A lot. But does it have to? How many times has someone cheated on you? How many times have you cheated on your partner? We hate to say it out loud, but cheating exists everywhere.
Long-term relationships, short-term ones; it affects everyone, old and young. What’s with this horrendous epidemic within our close-knit community?
First, let’s discuss what actually counts as cheating. “Harmless” flirting won’t land you in Cheaters Anonymous. But just because you had a couple too many martinis last night when you sloppily kissed someone else doesn’t mean that it “didn’t count.” Ladies, this definitely qualifies as cheating, even though many of us have indulged in the undeniable-chemistry-hookup situation.
How do we salvage the relationship after one person has been unfaithful?
Working through infidelity is definitely common, especially during our early years of dating. As we mature, we become more aware of what is important to us in a relationship, and we are more able to discern whom we choose to date. Remember: Don’t stay in a relationship if you are considering cheating on your partner.
Understanding the motivation behind the cheating episode is important when working past it. Is something missing from your current relationship? Emotional security? Sex? Sincerity? Openness? It seems a bit cliché to think that someone will cheat to fill a void in a relationship, but it’s true. (See any movie starring Michael Douglas in the ’80s or ’90s.)
To prevent developing a void in your relationship, you have to be open with each other, all of the time. Admit when something is bothering you in the relationship. Never let an issue fester. (For those of you still hitting the bar scene every weekend, this issue will come up after a few cocktails, and it will be ugly!) But, if this situation does arise and if you take proactive steps, then it’s possible to find a new appreciation for each other. Create a trust structure and consistently work on it. Eliminate jealousy. Talk it out, ladies!
When someone is a chronic cheater, lack of sense of control is usually an issue. Chronic cheaters typically do it for the thrill, the experience, or the guilty pleasure—almost like an addiction. These people can’t keep their focus on one person. It’s possible that they may not even be interested in a relationship. And, certainly, they don’t consider the hurt caused by cheating.
Chronic cheaters are not doomed to a life of lying and singledom; they can turn around their old ways. But, many times, this means working through issues with a therapist or a relationship coach. Or, it could take some good old-fashioned maturing. For some, they just need to put their cheating habits to rest, slow down, and embrace the ups and downs of their relationship.
We’ve worked in the matchmaking industry for a very long time. Here are a few signs of infidelity: seeming distant, noticing strange phone calls at strange times, discovering unexplained expenses, observing an abnormal amount of texting, not coming home at a “normal” time, and acting overly defensive. (Are you wondering why “sex-ting” isn’t on this list? We’ll get back to you on that one.)
Level of maturity, timing, and the inability to settle for an unfulfilling relationship are some factors that contribute to the chance of infidelity. Relationships can be difficult. However, the further you push down issues and the longer you stuff thoughts under your pillow and cover up your insecurities with booze and/or drugs, the less likely your relationship will last, and the more likely it will end with someone being unfaithful. As we always say, talk it out and be proactive.
Kim Rosenberg and Meghann Novinskie have been honored in multiple national publications for their work at their company, Mixology—Matchmaking With a Twist (www.ReadyToMix.com). Mixology is an offline personal matchmaking agency exclusively for the LGBT community, with offices in Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles and clients around the country.