As the saying goes, ‘once a cheater always a cheater’. Some believe it and some say people can and will change. It is all about perspective and I do believe we all have the capacity for mistakes and we all have the capacity to change, it is really up to the individual.
The problem is a lack of understanding and think it’s too simple and we fail to appreciate the complexity of why people cheat in the first place, let alone predicting whether or not they are capable of betraying you again – an important question to ask if you are a victim of infidelity?
The psychology of infidelity is actually quite complex, much more than the current moralistic conversation about it where people are “good”, “bad” or “flawed”, therefore dismissed as damaged goods. Pundits and gurus abound offering their take on “can I ever trust him again” or “how to affair proof your relationship”, but too often good intentioned advice misses the real issue. I would hear it, “if a man ever cheated on me I am done!” this was said in my presence to put me on my toes… if it was that easy.
It is important to note however that I have seen cases where individuals are struggling to make their relationship work, one is having an affair and it is the affair that saved the marriage. A truth that most persons hate to accept. I have seen a cheater confess and the relationship grew ten times stronger than it was, yet we see cheaters as the worst thing that could ever happen to a relationship.
THERE ARE WAYS IN MINIMIZING THE THOUGHT
OF CHEATING IN A RELATIONSHIP:
- TAKE RESPONSIBILITY – To love someone requires that we grow up, rise above our wounds, and take responsibility for what we need as adults. For years I struggled with how to manage a mature conversation, if it is not going the way I think it should go I get very loud, defensive and unreasonable. I thought I had read enough and all the other individual needed to was to listen and the answer was there. That approach can never work in a mature relationship, eventually our partners will find someone who will listen and that can lead to infidelity. By not doing the necessary work to grow and heal, I never matured into someone capable of giving and receiving mature love. Intimacy, what I claimed to want and crave, was actually not something I was capable of, yet I blamed the marriage and Shareel for “denying it to me”, further reinforcing my sense of entitlement to get that need met somewhere else.
- SIGNIFICANCE AND SELF ESTEEM – After a couple years of living together, I decided what was important to my partner and then started providing what I saw my dad did for years, he just worked hard. I provided, that should be enough. Most men think it is, however unless your woman is comfortable with that, never assume it is. What was amazing was it was not her who was affected but me, just a compliment from another woman would set my heart on fire, so even though my ex-wife thought I was a good provider and I thought so, the fact that she did not say it made wonder how significant I was to her, now cheating was on my mind.
- REASON FOR MY UNHAPPINESS – Gosh! I am so unhappy in this relationship, we do not talk like we did in the beginning, we are just going through the motion and I am so unhappy! I felt sorry for myself and started to blame Shareel for why I was so unfulfilled; once you convince yourself you’re a victim of something, you can justify anything. That belief alone drove me into a state of I need to breath, I need to escape and for most men it is into the arms of another woman. See the psychology? I am the reason for my unhappiness and yet I blamed another and this will justify in my mind any infidelity.
- LYING TO YOURSELF – At this point you are now lying to her and to yourself, but in your heart you feel justified, you get careless and then you get caught. Your children matter, the house you work so hard to build matter, people’s opinion of you matter, and now you are desperately trying to save face. Without integrity life simply doesn’t make sense, you have to realize that to be a cheater is deciding to lose your integrity and it is really not a fair trade.
- SEXUAL ATTRACTION VS LOVE – Most men use sex as a means to escape, we all know that women are touch and men are sight and if you are not feeling it at home then when things are not going well there is that sight factor out there that will suck you in. It was just one evening a friend called and said he was having a bad night, his wife had just left and we were wondering what to do and where to go after mid night, for a whole year we frequented the strip club. A real relationship can never compete with a fantasy, and sexual attraction isn’t love. I confused an experience of excitement and novelty with a person I called my “my mate” and chased a fantasy, and believe or not at the time it felt great. The fantasy is better for some as it was interestingly filled to capacity some nights, men were comfortable in chasing fantasies than real relationships and connections.
- ALWAYS A CHEATER – If recovery is going to happen, the betrayed spouse has to be willing to forgive, said Liz Higgins, a Dallas, Texas-based couple’s therapist who works primarily with millennials.
“The dismissive mantra of ‘once a cheater, always a cheater’ distorts a person’s ability to see their partner as imperfect, forgivable, and human,” she explained. “These assumptions make it very hard for a couple to rebuild trust and for the individual on the receiving end of the betrayal to trust again.”
If both partners approach the problem with an open mind, it’s possible for a couple to heal and move past infidelity, Higgins said.
“I’ve seen it first-hand with couples I’ve been interacting with on Relationship Guide Review. Through revitalized commitment and effort you can move on and experience a stronger relationship than ever before,” she said.
Always a cheater
So, “Once a cheater always a cheater” is really a defence mechanism and it too has a purpose: To protect you from getting hurt by never trusting anyone again. Don’t do that! Instead, get smart by understanding what drives someone to betray and determining the “purpose” of the affair. I have seen it too many times, a cheater who was confused and was not even sure why he/she cheated. This was inspired by hanging with some friends and the women in the group were asked, ‘what is your deal breaker?’ they all decided cheating was the deal breaker, so they would destroy a relationship that had all the ingredients of being successful because one fell to infidelity.