Most married people dread to hear this word. This is the word that can break a marriage, violate the trust that forms the foundation of marriage and even lead people to lifelong agony and pain. Yes, we are talking about cheating. Nothing creates more uproar in someone’s life than this. Cheating spouses are a reality that many of us have to bear with a heavy heart. Yes, acts of dishonesty in marriages has become so common that we have almost started considering them normally but those who suffer from them know how heartbreaking they can be.
Cheating spouses – the real picture
Affairs outside marriage are a common phenomenon. Almost 33% of marriages confront cheating spouses. Moreover, it is not male prerogative also. Today both men and women are equally prone to cheating their spouses and getting into affairs. How do affairs occur? Why do they occur? Where do they occur more? Do these questions bother you? Let us try to find answers to them. Let us begin with the reasons behind why people cheat.
Most people who get into relationships outside marriages do so because they feel unappreciated. They find their marriages boring and hopeless. Some people feel that their needs, both sexual and emotional were not met. There are both males and females who complain that their spouses consider their work to be more important and never found time to spend at home. Males usually cite lack of interest in sex in their partners as a major reason which drove them to establish a relationship outside marriage. There are cases where kids and work take up so much time that partners are unable to give each other time and drift apart leading to any one or both cheating each other.
When we talk about not finding enough time for each other, we have to mention workplace affairs. Do you know almost 47% of workers get into illegal affairs at the workplace? Yes, workplace occupies the first place for people who get into infidelity.
Affairs at workplace – the changing dynamics of time
For a long time, we held on to the image of a boss getting into an illicit relationship with his female secretary. However, with more and more women joining the workforce and having a strong presence in all fields, the dynamics of workplace infidelity has changed a lot. Today you would hear about a female boss getting involved with her subordinate and many such cases that make things more complicated.
Infidelity at office – how it happens
The working conditions in most offices have changed drastically. Most people today spend long hours at work. With increased competition, most jobs have become very demanding. Many professionals spend almost 8-10 hours per day in the workplace. With increased participation of women in the workforce, the offices have become only places where people interact with different people. Teamwork, projects, traveling and presentations allow professionals to spend long hours with each other which foster friendship. It is not difficult to find colleagues who share same interest or attributes. It’s a reality that we spend more time with our colleagues than with our family members. Thus more friendships are made in the office than outside it. It’s not only about spending time together. Sharing coffee, worries, lunch boxes, deadlines, and assignments lead us to share our personal woes and we get into friendships with our colleagues.
These friendships often run deep and lead to emotional dependence that slowly transforms into full-fledged affairs. Add to it the advancement in technology that allows people to stay connected even after office hours. It is not unusual to find professionals chat over WhatsApp regarding deadlines late at night. Unknowingly we let our colleagues eat into our family time and one day we find ourselves enjoying a colleague’s company more than our beloved partner. That’s how spouses get into workplace affairs.
Is your spouse into an affair at work? Look for these signs
It usually begins with a gut feeling. You suddenly sense your spouse is moving away from you. you talk less, spend lesser time with each other, phone calls become rare and when at home, your partner seems so distracted. However, these are only suspicions. Your subconscious mind is telling you that something is wrong, but how would you prove it? You need proof. There are signs that you have to look out for to become sure of the wrong that is being happened to you.
Change in work schedule – has your spouse recently started working late? Have business trips become more frequent? Missed lunches, no phone calls and becoming secretive are some signs that you have to look for.
Cheating spouses do not like being called during office hours. They always give excuses like the pressure of projects to spend long hours at the office. They are usually hooked to their phone even when they are at home.
What happened to the co-worker you spouse used to talk so much about? An affair takes time to build. There are phases that it goes through. From being mere co-workers to good friends, this is the first leap. When people are just colleagues, they are transparent and speak a lot about them at home. You would hear about projects and how each one is contributing, how someone is working hard etc. When things turn more personal, when they hit it off, suddenly your spouse would stop talking about that person.
Cheating spouses do not want to raise any suspicion and thus hide all details about that special person in their life. You won’t be hearing anything about that person as if he or she has simply vanished. If you ever had suspected something, it is now time to dig deeper and find out the truth. If that person was of opposite sex and your spouse was particular about praising that person for whatever reason, you know what to do. You need to be on alert and try to find out what’s cooking behind the scene.
When marital problems increase – this is another sign that your spouse is unhappy with the relationship. Cheating spouses tend to get impatient and quarrel with their partners. Staying away from home for long hours, not performing their duties or forgetting them are common signs that prove that their minds are preoccupied with something else. The difference in opinions would be highlighted and you may end up fighting incessantly.
The spouse starts taking too much care about their looks – this is a no brainer. When a person falls in love or tries to woo someone, there is a natural tendency to impress that person by looking good. Most cheating spouses are seen to go for a makeover. They may change their hairstyle, start wearing trendy outfits and spend hours getting ready.
Change in behavior towards you – now this is tricky as there can be two reactions which are opposite to each other. Your spouse may get romantic with you and love you like never before. A spouse who is cheating usually gets attentive towards the partner just to not rouse any suspicion. However, they would avoid getting intimate or having sex. So, if you find your spouse getting romantic but not intimate with you take that as a red flag.
There can be an opposite situation in which your spouse starts avoiding you. Coming back late from office, not interacting much, avoiding eye contact, not accompanying you to parties and get-togethers – these are obvious signals of cheating.
Is your spouse really cheating?
Noticing any of these is a matter of great concern for a spouse. Cheating spouses are so common that in most cases people take these signs as proof and jump the gun. However, we would request you to step back, think and then take action. If you approach your spouse without sufficient proof, you may lose your case or face or both. So, your next step would be gathering evidence, building a strong case and then confronting your spouse.
Often it happens that difficult situations make us so vulnerable that we suspect our spouses of infidelity. The pressure of raising kids, competition at workplace, older children leaving home, ill health and death in the family are such stressful conditions that may make you think that your spouse is behaving strangely and infer that as a case of infidelity.
Do not let your fear blind your mind and heart. Do take an objective view of the situation. What do you suspect? An emotional attachment with a co-worker, a sexual fling or a cyber relationship?
How to handle infidelity – take your own time
It’s unlikely that your spouse can bluff you once you confront him or her with the proofs. In most cases, the cheating partner gets into a rage, denies all charges and later on succumbs to the pressure. Once you know that you have been cheated, what would you do?
The situation is tormenting. Knowing that your partner for many years has been unfaithful to you is hard to believe and bear. You would feel violated, insulted and used. You feel the urge to take a decision. You feel like either running away to a different place or country and never see their faces again.
We would suggest you to stop and rethink. Take one step at a time. Once you know your spouse is cheating you, there are two things you can do- get a divorce and start a new life or talk to your spouse, find out the problems and give the marriage another shot in the arm.
Taking a decision at this juncture is tough. We insist to not hurry up. Things don’t happen in one day and so you should also abstain from taking any drastic step. You never knew this would happen and you don’t know what would happen next year. So, it is better to take things one at a time. You have to think and rethink about your marriage. The turmoil can increase, your spouse may decide to come back, and you may forgive your partner or else choose to move on.
Take care of yourself – I know it is difficult but remember that at times of crisis, you are all you have. Unless you love yourself, who else will? You have to become your best friend and guide yourself to happiness again.
Sleep disorders, eating disorders, mood swings, and depression are some of the conditions that you may experience.
You may forget to eat at all or eat too much out of stress; you may not sleep at all for days or sleep at odd hours. You have to guard against all these abnormalities and make sure that you lead a normal life, at least try to do so.
Try to eat in small portions, drink water and juices and please, keep away from alcohol. If you have kids, take care of them too. You may lose them and the marriage if you do not care for them.
Educate yourself – reading on infidelity and how to cope with it can prove to be therapeutic. If possible, join a group that works with such people. Listening to others’ experiences and sharing your own would make it less painful. Your marriage advocate can also help you in this regard.
Learn to handle your emotions – Infidelity brings along with it a barrage of emotions that are often opposing and hence more painful. You need to deal with the emotional roller coaster that leaves your body, mind and soul distressed. Go for long walks, take up meditation, and join a hobby class or a sports club. Taking up a community job may also help you to relieve the stress.
Did you love gardening? Take that up again. Planting trees, taking care of them and watching them bloom would feel your heart with joy.
Don’t judge your feelings – feelings are just feelings. We have no control over what we feel. So, do not label your feelings as good or bad. Talk to your friends about them, share your pain and just let the feelings come and go. Acknowledge them but never feel ashamed of them.
If you had any unfinished project, it is time to take it up. Write the book you have always longed to, visit places you have always dreamed of and do things that you never found time for.
Seek help if you feel hopeless – understand that it is normal to get into depression after you find out about your spouse cheating on you. However, with time you should be able to get out of it too. If you think you are unable to do so on your own, seek help. There are counselors and doctors who can assist you in accepting the reality and learn to move ahead in life.
Plan your life – I know it may sound sarcastic but you need to plan your life. Jot down your financial goals, your career goals and even personal goals like learning something new or achieving a particular milestone. Planning is a very positive activity as it lets us enjoy a hold over our future.
If you decide to give your marriage a second chance, you have to create a plan for that also. Sit with your spouse and talk things out without accusing each other. Bury the past and do not allow it to pop up during discussions or arguments. Referring to the affair would only fill your heart with bitterness. If you have decided to let go of the past and start afresh, do so wholeheartedly.
Do not become pessimistic because of your cheating spouse. Don’t blame yourself neither your destiny but take it as a reality of life.
Cheating spouses are hard to forgive, forget or accept. Even if you decide to part ways, the anger would be always there for letting you down. Do not carry the emotional baggage of your spouse’s infidelity when you move into new relationships. Please remember that everyone you come across is not a cheater. There are plenty of good men and women who value trust and respect and want to maintain the sanctity of marriage.
Some people consider cheating as an opportunity to examine their marriage and fix the issues that were harming their relationship. There are couples who have got back after infidelity and stayed true to each other by creating a stronger bond. So, cheating doesn’t mean the end of the road. Life is beautiful in spite of the occasional bumps and bends. Learn to navigate it and you can even deal with cheating spouses.