I think the first thing to recognize and understand is that a long term relationship, arrangement or marriage is a choice, a commitment one makes not just to their partner, but also to themselves to adhere to the rules and guidelines of the relationships as is determined by the couple together. What I am suggesting is that these rules and guidelines may be something defined by the greater society, your church, your friends, family and/or neighbors, or they may not.
People go into a long-term situation for various reasons. The most common of these reasons is because they feel attracted to, and connected to the individual they choose as their long-term partner, and have a desire to be with them long term. This is not to say that each individual will want to follow the rules set forth by everyone else, nor is it to say that the rules will stay the same throughout the duration of the relationship. The rules do, however, need to be discussed and agreed up by each partner, and should be revisited often and regularly. The rules should never just be assumed.
What rules am I referring to here? Specifically monogamy. The rule of monogamy is simple: You stay sexually faithful, namely physically faithful, to one person. Monogamy is the norm in our society, true, but there has been some evidence to suggest that as human primates we are not necessarily monogamous by nature. Unfortunately, most people blindly go into a long-term situation with an assumption of monogamy, assuming their role and their partner’s role are both that which is dictated by the monogamous frame. Here in lies the problem. If in fact we are not necessarily monogamous by nature, then an assumptive role of monogamy can be detrimental. Why? Mainly because it doesn’t hold each individual party in the relationship accountable for a decision they make consciously. Assuming rules can lead to cheating in many ways. If no decision is consciously is being made, then it doesn’t appear to us that we are making a choice and we are more likely to feel a lack of control over our life. Cheating often makes us feel more in control. And, not to mention the assumptions made, then often bleed over into other areas of the relationship, which can also lead to cheating.
Most people who cheat, men and women alike, do so because they are feeling neglected in the relationship. Whether it be in the form of sexual neglect or something is lacking by way of emotional or physical intimacy the bottom line generally remains the same: some need is being left unfulfilled. There are many books, articles, stories etc., about why people cheat, and studies being done over the reasons people cheat. My philosophy tends to look at the concept of monogamy as something to address when we decide to embark on a life journey with someone. My philosophy tends to focus on honest communication with each other, and honesty with yourself.