What if YOU cheated?
Usually when there are articles or media coverage about cheating, it’s the guy who’s sneaking around: What to do if he cheats on you, What are the signs he’s cheated, about to cheat, or is in the middle of a full-blown affair, How can you get over it, Should you get over it, John Edwards, Elliot Spitzer, the list goes on. Men, we assume, are naturally the cheaters.
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Although its not often talked about, and not considered to be the norm, women cheat too—much more often than people realize. The numbers vary depending on the study, but the majority report that women cheat almost as often as men. If you’re having an affair—or are about to—these are the things you need to think about:
Why are you cheating/tempted to cheat?
As a woman, maybe the fact that you’re unhappy in your relationship isn’t the easiest conclusion to come to. We grow up hearing that girls should fantasize about weddings, how important it is to find a husband, and how having a family should be one of our ultimate goals. Then, some of us jump into those commitments without taking the time to think about if it’s something we really want.
If you are truly happy in your relationship, then chances are, you won’t want to cheat. But if you’re cheating or thinking about cheating, your relationship is in real trouble. Maybe it’s because you’re having personal issues with the idea of commitment, or maybe it’s because you and your man have grown apart. Either way, adulterous thoughts or actions mean problems in your relationship.
What are you trying to solve?
If you’re having an affair, you’re doing it because it’s filling some sort void. What you need to figure out is exactly what void it’s filling. Sex? Intimacy? Affection? Understanding? Then, if you want to save the relationship you’re in, you have to talk about the relationship problems with your guy. “Too many women talk to their husband about a problem, and then when he does nothing they just move on.” Says Kristina Gordon, PhD, co-author of Getting Past the Affair. “If your husband isn’t responding when you talk about your needs, don’t be afraid to bang him over the head with it and be very assertive or demanding.” After all, if your man knew your issues with the relationship were bad enough to make you cheat or want to cheat, you can bet he’d want to change his behavior.
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Do you want to stay in the relationship?
You’re not helping anyone out by trying to work through problems of a relationship you don’t want to be in. Barbara Feld, LCSW, a couple’s therapist at Park Avenue Relationship Consultants suggests asking yourself: “Is this affair a way out of the marriage? Am I leaving clues behind because I want to get caught?”
If you do want out, don’t wait for your husband or boyfriend to catch you cheating. Have the guts to end the relationship in a way that is more direct, and less hurtful.