Expert Blog Compelling advice, stories, and thought-provoking perspectives straight from YourTango's lineup of Experts to you

Sorry, But You Can't Stop A Cheater From Cheating — And Here's Why

Photo: weheartit
Sorry, But You Can't Stop A Cheater From Cheating (Here's Why)
Heartbreak

Here’s why there’s no point trying to stop them.

Whether it’s something developmental or it’s just encoded into their nature, some people are just put together in a way that makes them cheat on their spouse.

That’s all there is to it. 

As faithful husbands and wives, we’d like to believe that we can keep infidelity from happening, but the reality is quite a bit different. As much as we’d like to think otherwise, we have little or no control over our spouse’s feelings, thoughts, and behaviors.

And it’s precisely these things that lead to a cheater’s infidelity — the complex things that happen in our partner’s internal life that we can’t possibly have any control over.

So...can a cheater change? 

The purpose of this post is to help betrayed spouses understand this important truth about their cheating husbands or wives. In it, we’ll discuss some basics about the psychology of infidelity and explain exactly why you can’t stop a cheater from cheating.

Cheater Psychology 101

An overview of the standard psychological profile of the cheater will help you understand what you’re up against and hopefully convince you that you’re powerless to stop their behavior as well.

Although every cheater is different, they do often share a constellation of personality traits that help lead to their deceitful behavior. Keep this in mind as you’re navigating the difficult waters of infidelity — not even the greatest husband or wife in the world can trump someone’s basic psychology.

One characteristic you’ll often find in a cheater is a deep sense of entitlement. Many cheating spouses truly believe that they need or deserve more than one sexual or romantic partner.

Where this grandiosity comes from depends on the person, but it’s often so deeply ingrained that the cheating partner themselves doesn’t even know it exists.

Another common characteristic of cheating spouses is that they tend to look for external solutions for their problems.

This holds true whether it’s a problem at work, money, or within the confines of their marriage. When difficulties arise, the cheater often looks outward for something to soothe their anxiety and pain. It’s easy to see where we’re going with this, right?

The novelty of an extramarital affair can seem like a cure-all to someone seeking outside solutions.

Of course, this is an oversimplification of something that’s actually complicated. But hopefully, you’re already starting to see how powerless you are over your cheating partner’s actions.

Why You Can’t Stop A Cheater from Cheating

Now that we have a basic understanding of a cheating spouse’s psychology, let’s get down to the nitty gritty of why it’s a waste of time, effort, and energy to try to stop them from being unfaithful.

Just remember as we go along that this reality is in no way an indictment of you. This is true across the board no matter you are, so no beating yourself or morbid reflections allowed!

1. You don’t have any control over who your partner actually is below the surface.

No matter how wonderful you are, they’ve experienced a lifetime of development long before the two of you ever met. They have been influenced or constructed in a world that didn’t include you for many formative years.

Maybe their parents weren’t faithful to one another and they learned that infidelity was somehow acceptable or necessary. Or maybe they, themselves, have been cheated on or have other deep-seated commitment issues.

2. You can’t control their surroundings or what happens you’re not around.

You obviously can’t be with your husband or wife at every possible moment. They have a life of their own, a large part of which doesn’t (and shouldn’t) involve you.

And in these different surroundings, your spouse is going to meet whoever they meet and do whatever it is that they’re going to do. And you just don’t have any real say.

Sure, you can drive yourself crazy obsessing on this or that ugly scenario, but it’s not going to give you any relief or stop them from doing what they intend to do.

3. You could be dealing with a partner who suffers from a serious sex addiction.

They may have a deep and nearly irresistible compulsion to cheat, one that stays with them no matter how strongly they feel about you as a person or partner.

And while this can seem like nothing but a flimsy excuse for terrible behavior, the truth remains that sex addiction is a legitimate disorder that can often only be treated by a professional or a support group dedicated to overcoming it.

If you’re concerned that your spouse may have a sex addiction issue, do a little research before approaching them calmly with what you suspect. And perhaps most importantly of all, remember that all addictive behavior stems from intense emotional pain.

Peace Of Mind And Comfort Going Forward

We hope this post has taught you a little about the complexities of infidelity and that you eventually find comfort knowing that it was not within your power to prevent it from happening to you.

This knowledge may or may not be helpful right now, especially if you’re still dealing with the immediate aftermath of such a painful betrayal,

Whatever exists in their makeup that’s caused them to become a cheater, it has nothing to do with you. And although this is something of a painful reality, it should also give you some relief to know that you can’t possibly be to blame for someone else’s behavior. And of course, knowing what you can’t control gets you that much closer to recovery.

C. Mellie Smith provides tools and resources at her blog, Infidelity Healing to help couples heal themselves and their marriage after the trauma of infidelity. Click here to get off the emotional rollercoaster and start your healing journey.

Watch AsapSCIENCE's video on the Science of Cheating:

Author
Expert