OK let's get this firestorm going....
I have had hundreds of conversations, if not thousands about cheating. Most of the conversations were centered around how the person who cheated was such a scumbag. In this post we won’t be talking about that particular piece of this subject. We will talk about relationship breakdowns which may lead to this act. I will use stage names for the people in this story. Although my friend has agreed to let me use his story, he asked that names and places be changed.
This story is an example of cheating, from a friend who I will call Tony and his girlfriend Tammy (so not original huh?). Tony was laid off for about 6 months between the end of 2009 and the beginning of 2010. During this period of time, he diligently looked for a job while Tammy, a lawyer, supported both of them. They had a house together and 1 child. Tony decided to go to Tammy's office and bring her dinner as she was working late one night. Tony went into her reception area and her some strange sounds. Needless to say he caught her in the act. Shouting and pushing etc…ensued. He later asked her "why did this happen?", "Did I do something wrong?". She told him she had been seeing this guy for 2 years. Tony and Tammy had been dating for 6 years. She admitted that she'd been having issues from almost the beginning. She also said him being laid off had nothing to do with it, as she always supported the fact he worked in construction and it was a volatile industry. She told him that she felt he wasn't spontaneous enough for her, that he was too regimented. He couldn't believe the things she was saying. This also is the third woman who has cheated on him.
In the above example there are many issues that we can link back to previous posts. The first thing out of any one's mouth who hears about or are a part of these things is "That blah blah is an a$$". I won’t argue that point here, what I will do is tackle the real issues. She obviously had some issues with him early on in their relationship. She chose not to talk about them, this is prime example of why without asking questions and being open, honest, and direct with your partner, you will have poor results. This couple settled into a nice comfort zone of don't ask, don't tell. Many relationships start this way, we hide our true selves and once it's time to be who you are, there's a lot of time and other things invested. Then we feel trapped, so we open ourselves up for risk like this. Risk to do something we know we shouldn't do, instead of what we should do, which is leave this person. Once you have in your head, 'I can be without this person', you need to get to the business of getting out. Remove the risk of doing something you can never take back.
We have to challenge ourselves to stop playing these head in the sand games we play in relationships. This person put herself in a poor position (no pun), needlessly. The moment she felt she was losing connection a conversation should be had between the two. The flip side is equally important; he admitted to me that he noticed a long time ago she was slightly different. He chalked it up as the normal things in relationships. People settle in and they stop communicating. He is just as culpable with this failure. Did he make her sleep with another man? No, of course not. My point with this is better communication by asking open, honest, and direct questions can resolve the issue before it gets going. It also could end a relationship that should end, before more weeks, months or years are added to chaos.
I find people are very happy to be with someone so they put the blinders on and go forward, without being in tune with the other person. People put up a show, instead of being real. I talked in a past post about people rarely being at the same level in a relationship. In many cases a relationship is doomed with a cheating result, from the door. This is due to the fact that although both parties seem very interested, they aren't interested in the same thing. One is looking for serious long-term, the other is looking for something casual or even less. We, however, are taught to not ask or tell how we feel about the relationship we are embarking on. This again is a major 'NO NO'. What typically happens is hearts get involved, and then the mind and heart get into a major battle. Which in turn shuts the mind down; in a sense you think your overreacting, or it's too soon to say this, that or the other thing. We must practice full disclosure when involved with something. Quite often, people hold back how they feel about a question they are asked, because, they don't want to lose this person. People, look at our dating results? They are poor, this mentality isn't helping, it's hurting.
The point I'm trying to convey when it comes too cheating is this like other failures in relationships, can be avoided. This can be done by both parties asking open, honest, and direct questions about their expectations in the relationship. We also need to give open, honest and direct answers. This is as important as the question. We can't be afraid that this guy or girl will leave us if we aren't upfront. This mentality signifies a self esteem issue that you have. This again goes back to previous posts about making sure you know where you are going in life. You have to understand 'YOU' before, sharing "YOU" with someone else.
If you're involved or been involved in a cheating situation, it's imperative you look at yourself regardless of what side of this you are or were on. If we want to be successful going forward we have to correct our own issues, one by one. When I hear someone tell me, like above, that this has happened more than once, I struggle with those that say it's all the other person's fault. There's not a relationship breakdown which only one person is responsible for........
People cheat because they are missing something from their partner. This doesn't excuse the act, but, it is a fact that is lost in most conversations I have with people. It's lost due to the seriousness of the act. My object here is to help people not repeat these situations by being "more self aware and asking for full disclosure from their partner". You can't be half way on that last statement I made. Self awareness is a never ending pursuit.
There's nothing good about cheating, however there's more to learn than just the act itself......