Cheating in a relationship is one of the main reasons relationships fail. But that doesn’t mean it’s the wrong thing to. It doesn’t mean it’s right, either. Yep. It’s complicated.
Not all cheating sagas start with a broken relationship. In fact, the relationship may seem perfect, even to an insider like you. But, one day, you start to feel the urge to emotionally or sexually cheat–and the thought doesn’t go away. Maybe you haven’t done it yet, but it’s still on your mind and you find yourself naturally opening up to the opportunity to do so or start fantasizing about the idea. You may try to repress these feelings and carry on with your life and your relationship, but indulging in the feeling (or act) of cheating without addressing why it’s there in the first place can not only ruin your relationship but also cloud the authenticity of your feelings. Here is what you can do if you find yourself with the itch to emotionally or physically cheat.
1. Communicate Your Emotions with Your Spouse
It’s time to have a conversation. No partner is perfect, but that doesn’t mean you have to let your needs go unaddressed. And the only way your significant other will know what you need from him or her is if you lay it out on the table. Easier said than done, of course. Communication is a relationship quandary. But, before you betray someone close to you, have the courage to speak up.
Women are different from men when it comes to cheating. An Indiana University study found that women cheat at relatively the same rate as men, but the reasons they cheat differ. Women are more likely to cheat for emotional satisfaction, and their offenses may not even involve physical contact. That’s where cheating gets subtle and sneaky. If there are emotional needs that go unaddressed by your spouse, you may start to look outward for affirmation. To ultimately be content in your relationship, you have to be open and honest.
2. Ask for Space
Don’t assume that your relationship is over just because you feel compelled to be unfaithful. Ask your significant other for some space for a period of time, during which you can reflect on your relationship and come to more honest conclusions about what you want, need, and are willing to invest in your union. No, this is not a breakup and no, don’t use this time to be unfaithful. Instead, spend some more time by yourself. A bit of time alone can work wonders on your psyche.
3. Tell Your Spouse You Want to Cheat
Don’t be scared to admit this to your spouse, especially when the urge is so strong. You may fear how he or she will react, but imagine how much worse it will be to admit to having wanted to cheat, after the fact. You may even be surprised by how your significant other responds.
The reason being open about your desire to cheat works is because it starts a conversation about any problems in the relationship and keeps you both proactive about bettering the relationship–before it’s too late.
4. Realize Your Genes May Be Up Against You
This sounds like the most desperate excuse out there, but science confirms that the predisposition to cheat is often genetic. Even more bizarre, the link between cheating and genes has only been witnessed in women!
The hormone vasopressin is synthesized in the hypothalamus and stored in the posterior pituitary. The hormone is then secreted into the bloodstream, but some of it may release directly into the brain. Vasopressin influences trust and empathy levels, which can in turn affect social behavior, including sexual motivation.
In one study, researchers found a significant relationship between five separate variants of the vasopressin gene and infidelity in women. This link did not exist for men.
If you are completely confused as to why you want to cheat, changes in your vasopressin hormone levels may be to blame. And, having this knowledge on your side can stop you from creating problems in your relationship that don’t already exist.
Gasp! Yes, I said it. Cheat and see how you feel. If your spouse finds out, see how he or she reacts. In the hands of two sensible adults and a skilled therapist, an affair can possibly (read: possibly, not definitely) be what saves your marriage or relationship.
A lot of the events and emotions leading up to an affair often go neglected. It is only after the deed is done that harsh truths come to light and your relationship is thoroughly tested. It is also when you see your partner for who she or he is and his or her extent of devotion for you.
If you cannot control your feelings and have exhausted your amicable options, then cheat. It may take that to understand what you really want and need. But, be prepared for the consequences. If you’ve ever been cheated on before by someone you love, you know the gut-wrenching feeling that ensues. It’s treacherous and takes a huge toll on your innocence in romance. So before you take the plunge and indulge in your fantasies, have enough respect for yourself and your partner to communicate properly and get the alone time you need to reflect. Or, just chalk it up to your genes and call it a day!