It's not me ... It's you.
Yes, more people than ever before are cheating. With the internet it’s easier than ever to find an outside partner, to explore erotic interests, or to find sexual stimulation with someone other than your spouse or committed partner.
So many people cheat that sex researchers, therapists and journalists aren’t even sure why.
Recently, 37 million users had their data hacked on the cheating site, Ashley Madison. This site alone, with its tag line, “Life is short, have an affair” is famous for the availability of married or committed partners looking for other married or committed partners to cheat with.
In fact, this is the first time in history that you can lie in bed next to your partner and cheat on them at the same time, with an affair partner online.
These are dangerous times. Who can you trust? And who should you trust? It’s just too darn easy to cheat these days.
Infidelity can be a painful betrayal. For the person who has been cheated on, it can take a lifetime to heal the hurt. But, for others, an affair can be a new beginning, an opportunity to create a revived and even closer relationship.
So when is an affair a sign that it’s time to move on? How do you know that you should dump the cheater and get on with your life?
Many times it can be hard to decide. Your family and friends may be well meaning when they say “move out and move on,” but you might still be confused.
You have feelings for one another, you have time invested, and you want to stick to your promise to stay together.
Should you ignore your desire to bolt or should you stick it out?
Don’t make any sudden moves. Lay low. Recover. Take care of yourself. Drink tea. Run, don’t walk, to the nearest couple’s therapist. Then read these three very important reasons to dump your partner if you are still unsure.
1. The affair is a "can opener."
A can opener affair is when your partner cheats to get out of the relationship. They might be too chicken to tell you directly, or they cheated so that you would find out and have to break up with them, sparing them the heart wrenching pain of being responsible for their own actions.
This should be a sign that your partner is passive aggressive, a wimp, and cannot be trusted to be honest and direct. Get out now before they do it again to prove to you that they really aren’t in love with you and that you really do deserve better.
2. They keep lying
When your partner wants to stay in the relationship but just cant seem to get the integrity part down. For instance, when you know that they're still cheating because you have proof and they insist, lying to your face, that they are not. Confront them with the evidence.
If they insist that you're crazy, that you're making it up, that the email in front of their face couldn’t possibly be theirs even though it is coming from their account and has their signature on it and photos of them having sex with someone else.
If they're still lying, then leave. They're not only lying they are trying to convince you that you're crazy for seeing the truth.
This is a very bad combination and we therapists call it gas lighting. It means that someone is telling you that you're making up your own reality, when in fact they are just scurrying around trying to find a way to make you forget the fact that they are lying to your face. Get out NOW.
3. You're relieved
When your partner cheats and somewhere deep inside you breathe a huge sigh of relief, it's time to end it. And I mean, the kind of relief that signals the end. Not the kind that says that your revenge affair can finally end.
But a real sigh of ‘thank goodness we're finally done’ feeling. If you feel genuine relief, go back to Reason One, and dump them, you've just been waiting for the signal from the universe, and honey, this is it. It is not going to get any louder than this.
For some couples an affair should signify the completion of a relationship. Take this as an opportunity to start again. This could be the beginning of a new phase of your life. You can now redefine what is important and make some new rules.
Create a new vision of your world and keep going forward. It might not be easy. Learning to trust your own intuition again after you have been cheated on is much harder than learning to trust someone who has betrayed you. Go slow. Take time to heal.
And, if you do decide to stay with your cheater, remember that being in a relationship is a choice. And it's always optional. You're choosing to be there because you want to be there, not because anyone is making you stay.
Relationships are hard. And sometimes people mess up. If you want to give them another chance, you go ahead. Don’t listen to me, and don’t listen to your mother, or your best friend. But if it happens again, look me up. I have books, I have podcasts, I have sessions, I have retreats.
'Cause honey, you're going to need them.