Many people fall in love, get married and believe they're going to live happily ever after.
As if the ring that now sits on their finger is an impenetrable glue which guarantees the success of their relationship. But married or not, relationships demand emotional, spiritual and sexual investment to grow and mature. Being married does not make you or your partner immune to temptation or resistant to change. The key to maintaining the magic which first brought you both together lies in accepting that your relationship is organic and, just as feelings and experiences change, you'll have to change with them.
1. Not getting what you want from your partner
All of us want to feel loved and wanted by our partners, so when that isn’t forthcoming, it’s easy to feel neglected and feel the need to look elsewhere for affection, or whatever else you think is missing from your life. This can often lead to cheating, which might've not been the initial intention, but we can all be slaves to our emotions and pleasures. A smile from someone attractive or a compliment when you weren’t expecting it will give us the temptation to chase after that because we like how it makes us feel. That’s human nature, and there’s nothing wrong with it, but it’s about where you draw the line. Having boundaries can mean the difference between enjoying a harmless flirtation and turning into a cheater.
That's why it’s so important to be honest with yourself. Are you not getting what you want from your partner? If so, what needs are not being met? If you need some attention, and are desperate for that attention to come from your partner instead of someone else, then think about how you can get yourselves back on track.
If you feel like something’s missing, or you just want to reconnect with your lover on whatever level, talk to them and reestablish the dialog that got you together in the first place. Communication is key! Your partner is not a mind reader. Don’t get upset because they can’t figure out for themselves what’s upsetting you. Talk to your partner about what’s missing. It could be as simple as your lover asking you how your day went, kissing you on the cheek when they get home, helping out with household chores to texting you throughout the day to feel loved. Also, ask them to see if there’s any need not getting met on their end. You might be surprised that they feel the same way.
2. Loss of Excitement
Human beings get bored very easily. That’s a fact of life, because we're naturally inquisitive and always hungry for new things to excite and stimulate us. This is particularly true today, with the wealth of technology open to us — everything’s fast, instant and now! Think about it, people want to be entertained constantly, whether it’s through traveling, binge-watching a favorite TV show, seeing the latest special effects blockbuster, attending sports games, going clubbing etc., the list is endless.
This is also true when it comes to dating. Gone are the days of long courtships, with couples taking their time to get to know one another through love letters, evening walks and long engagements. We don’t wait anymore, for anything. People tend to cheat when the excitement in their relationship starts to fizzle because they're looking to bring back that excitement they felt in the beginning. We tend to get “comfortable” in our relationships and neglect our partners. So people start to look elsewhere, and it can begin innocently by going online, hanging out with friends, flirting with co-workers, etc.
But instead of looking elsewhere, you should be looking to your partner for that excitement. It’s up to both of you to keep things exciting. Yes, it’s always going to come easy in the beginning of a relationship but as time goes on, relationships take work. And if you think it’s worth it, then work at it. Go on date nights but change it up with something new every week. Instead of having sex in the same position all the time, try something different whether its a new position, sex toy, different room of the house, or taking a sex class together. The lust in the beginning may have faded a little but keep the love alive between the two of you by spicing things up both in and out of the bedroom. Stop feeling bored or trapped, and start taking control of your own happiness instead of thinking that happiness lies elsewhere.
3. Not being honest with yourself
Many people I’ve spoken to have confessed that the reason they’re unfaithful is simply because they just don’t know what they want. They get into a relationship and everything is wonderful for a while, then they start to have doubts. But, instead of ending the relationship or discussing with their partner the issues they have, they go out and cheat instead. As if a quick fix of lust and excitement is all they need to ‘fill the gap.’
The reality is that they just don’t know themselves well enough to feel confident in the choices they’re making. People who lack self-esteem or any real insight into who they actually are, may cheat their way from relationship to relationship and will only be able to break the cycle when they realize what it is they actually want.
I know this because it happened to me when I was younger. I dated guys but none of my relationships seemed to last, and I cheated on many of them, because I was still on my own dating journey. I was trying to figure out what I wanted from a relationship. Luckily, I came to know myself pretty quickly, and once I realized what I did (and didn’t) want from a partner, it put me in a much better position to choose the people I dated with more care. I stopped cheating because I no longer needed to. I was able to give my partner a lot more of myself, both physically and emotionally, because I was confident in who I was.
But there are many people, of all ages, who just don’t know themselves well enough to feel confident in their relationship choices. No matter how much they love their partners, they’ll always be searching for something more, but unless they know what that ‘more’ actually is, how will they ever find it? The important thing is to learn from your dating experiences, both good and bad, in order to stop making the same mistakes over and over again. This is when you need to take a break from dating and figure out exactly what you want from a relationship and from yourself.
When I was in my mid 20s, I took a break from dating after a bad breakup. Only when I had this time and space to myself, did I realize that I had a habit of repeating unhealthy relationships for the simple reason that I just didn’t know what I wanted. It had never occurred to me to have a relationship with myself first, before hooking up with anyone else. So I took a two year break. Technically, I still dated guys during this time, but I made it clear that I didn’t want any kind of serious relationship with them. It was important for me to figure myself out, and it was during this time that I realized that monogamy just wasn’t for me. This is why so many of my relationships failed! I wasn’t cut out for one relationship with one person.
That’s when I started conducting open relationships. They are not for everyone, and I’m not suggesting everyone should try them in order to ‘cure’ your own relationship issues. I just mean that it’s important for you to discover your own dating style, because it might not be the standard ‘norm’ that society expects of you. One-size does not fit all when it comes to dating. A relationship is whatever you want it to be, you just need to find someone who’s on the same page as you.
4. Being a coward
Another reason people cheat is because they’re too afraid to tell their partner that they want to end the relationship. For instance, you might not be interested in your lover anymore, some people just fall out of love as quickly as they fall into it, but the idea of telling this to your partner is so terrifying. You just don’t have the courage to do it. So you put up with something that’s making you unhappy, and you seek excitement and validation elsewhere.
Trust me, I know this first hand, because I used to be that coward. When I was tired of a guy, I was so worried about hurting their feelings if I told them that I just said nothing and went behind their back instead. Of course, my lovers ended up being hurt twice as much upon discovering that I’d been unfaithful than they would've been if I’d just told them the truth. That truth was — I didn’t want to be with them anymore.
But another reason for this is because they have a secret desire to get caught, because if they get caught, then their lover can do the breaking up, not them. It takes the pressure and guilt away. But that’s exactly what I was like, because it was easier if they broke up with me, rather than the other way around.If I'd been a stronger, more confident, person who knew what I wanted and how to ask for it I would've never been in those situations to begin with.
Sure, I regret hurting those guys, but I regret hurting myself more. It was during my dating break when I decided to break the cycle and resolve to just be honest with every guy I met in the future. True to my word, I’ve done exactly that and nobody has gotten hurt — especially not me. My relationships last a lot longer and always run their natural course, with no bad feelings on either side. Yes, these relationships are open but they are transparent and honest with all cards laid upon the table. If a lover doesn’t like the lifestyle I lead, or realizes he can’t handle some of the jealousies and insecurities that can come with open relationships, then we part company and there are no hard feelings.
It’s clear to me that the main reason behind why people cheat lies in communication or lack there of. Not just communication between partners, but the internal communication you should be having with yourself. Not knowing what you want from a relationship or not knowing how to ask for it will always lead to insecurity. That can lead to cheating because you’re never happy with what you’ve get.
Your behavior as an individual reflects how you’re likely to behave in a relationship. If you’re an self conscious, indecisive or selfish person, that’s all you’ll bring to a partnership, too. Knowing yourself breeds confidence, and it’s that confidence which attracts others. Nail that, and you’ll never feel the need to cheat again.
This article was originally published at Naughty Lifestyle Guide. Reprinted with permission from the author.