Why people cheat? This is the question that comes to my mind every time I read or hear about someone cheating on their partner. Be it celebrities like Tiger Woods or your next-door neighbor, every news on infidelity makes people react. No matter how much the modern dating websites provoke people to cheat on their partners, cheating is wrong.
Why is cheating bad?
It’s against morality. That’s the simplest reason why we are against infidelity. When you cheat, you break the promise you had made to your partner. You also break the commitment that binds two people in a relationship. Cheating also entails disrespecting the partners. Moreover, when you have many partners, you expose yourself and your partners to the risks of getting sexually-transmitted diseases.
Why people cheat?
Coming back to the question that I asked in the opening paragraph, the answer in most cases lies in the relationship itself. Leaving aside the habitual offenders, cheating shows that something is wrong in the relationship. Not only wrong, something is drastically wrong.
People, who cheat, do so because they have lost all hope for the relationship. They also don’t respect their partners and their feelings. Boredom, lack of empathy and understanding and loss of interest in each other leads to infidelity. Some people cheat because they seek adventure in their life. Stress, anxiety, spending too much time away from a partner or proximity to someone of the opposite sex may also lead to an affair. The conflicting value system, ideas and beliefs may also lead a partner to drift towards someone who appears more empathetic.
Cheating can take several forms. It can be in the form of getting emotionally attached to someone, having a sexual relationship or online chatting with someone. The form actually doesn’t matter. What matters are how involved you get and the way you hide things from your partner.
How does infidelity occur?
When people start dating or in the initial years of a marriage, the interest to know each other and the fear of losing each other are high. We remain on our toes to keep our partners happy. However with time, the initial excitement wears off. Career, family, kids, bills, deadlines and so many things demand our attention that we start giving less time to each other.
Some couples end up taking each other for granted. Intimacy goes for a toss, sex happens rarely and the two partners start drifting apart. This is the most dangerous stage and the majority of marriages in the USA end up here and cheating become the only way to satiate the emotional and physical demands that people crave. It has often been found that people do not realize in the beginning how the emotional attachment develops. When they finally realize, it’s too late and the damage has been done. More than 40% of marriages in America experiences infidelity, a few of them survive while the rest end up in breakups.
“Cheating and lying aren’t struggles, they’re reasons to break up.”
How cheating affects the partner
It’s ravaging. That’s what people who have been cheated describe it. Here is someone beautifully exposing her feelings as she senses that her partner is cheating on her.
“Soon he was online every night until one or two a.m. Often he would wake up at three of four a.m. and go back online. He would shut down the computer screen when I walked in. In the past, he used to take the laptop to bed with him and we would both be on our laptops, hips touching. He stopped doing that, slipping off to his office instead and closing the door even when I was asleep. He started closing doors behind him. I was steeped in denial, but my body knew.”
It breaks the trust that is essential to make a relationship work. Often the partners reconcile but the memories of infidelity lurk in the background. It is not easy to forgive. Even when people do, they seldom forget.
The damage caused to the relationship depends on how intense the affair is and for how long it has been kept secret. Sexual affairs are hard to forget and forgive. People consider it a severe breach of trust when a partner gets into a sexual relationship with another person in spite of being in a committed relationship.
Infidelity causes pain and agony. “How could you do that to me?” This is the question that continues to torment a partner after learning about the infidelity. An act of infidelity not only breaks the trust, it often hurts the self-esteem also. Some people find it impossible to get into another relationship and trust someone wholeheartedly after been cheated in a previous relationship. Depression is another common phenomenon found in people who has been cheated.
The effect of infidelity on other family members
The most unfortunate thing is that a case of cheating doesn’t only affect the couple. There are many people who have to bear its painful impact. The children are the worst sufferers of cheating. Watching one of their parents suffer due to actions of another is quite painful. If the parents fight a lot, the children feel insecure. They may feel unloved and uncared. If the parents decide to separate, the children’s future are directly harmed. In fact, their entire world goes topsy-turvy. A lot of gossip goes around in the society which affects their mental peace.
Apart from the children, the friends and the family members of the couple have to bear pain and embarrassment. The integrity of the family is questioned which is not a nice thing at all.
Should you report a cheater?
We take up this question next. After considering all the negative effects of cheating on the partner, children, family members and friends, do you think you should report a cheater? Yes, you should. That’s the first reaction that most people show. There are plenty of reasons that we can give to consolidate our views. Let us summarize them for you.
Reporting a cheater – why you should call the shots when you are being cheated
You deserve respect, trust, and love. If you find out that your partner is cheating on you, you should report it. Standing up for your own rights is always the right thing to do. So, show courage and take the right step. It would boost your self-esteem, increase your self-confidence and make you feel better about yourself.
When you expose your partner, you stand to win the support of your relatives and friends. At times of mental crisis, this would go a long way in restoring your self-belief and help you fight for your rights.
Cheating is the worst pain that a partner can inflict and hence this should be reported. Maybe like you, the partner of the person with whom your spouse is having an affair is also in the dark. By revealing the truth, you would be saving that person from pain and agony.
Knowing that your partner is cheating you may cause unbearable stress. It can cause health hazards too. By exposing the truth, you can give vent to the pent-up feelings and save yourself from depression and other stress-related diseases.
As we mentioned earlier, there are many reasons behind a partner seeking solace from someone else. By coming out with the truth, you would be giving him a chance to share his part of the story. All the issues that you were unaware of or those that you never thought were important would surface up. This would give you a chance to reassess the situation and take necessary steps. If your partner is apologetic and wants to come back, you can decide to give the relationship another shot. There are plenty of instances where after infidelity, the couples have got together for the sake of the children or the relationship and try again to make it work.
There are habitual offenders who cheat to add variety to their love life. They may have many partners. It’s a good thing to expose such a person as you would be stopping the cycle and save yourself from humiliation and pain and also those who unknowingly fall for the trap.
Truth has a strange way of coming out. You can never hide it for long. I know of some person who didn’t report their partner’s cheating in fear of social gossip. However, the truth eventually came out, that too in a nasty way and they could not save their reputation.
Should you report a cheater whom you know by relation?
Now it gets tricky. What if you find out that your sister-in-law is cheating your brother? What if your brother-in-law is cheating your sister? What would you do if you find out that your neighbor is cheating on his wife?
In all these cases, you have to practice caution before exposing the cheater. Firstly, you have to be sure that the person is cheating. Get double sure. You need to be ABSOLUTELY sure before opening your mouth. Remember that it is a case of someone’s reputation and relationship and hence, you should never be rash. Don’t expect people to believe your words and hence collect evidence. Try to collect photos, emails, or anything that you can lay your hand upon to prove your case.
In the case of a family member, consider your terms with that person before revealing the truth. Understand that the person concerned may not believe you and even question your motive. He or she may accuse you creating a rift between them. You would earn wrath and in extreme cases, they can sever all ties with you.
In spite of all these cons, we would advise you to report the cheater. Armed with evidence, you can always prove your point. If you really love the person, be it your sister, brother or a friend, you should try to save them from the pain. So come out with the truth but with empathy and show your near and dear one that you are there in times of need.
Now, what if the person is an acquaintance or someone unknown to you? Like your neighbor or someone you know little? In this case, you may report the cheater after getting 200% sure of the affair and after checking a few facts. What if the person has a history of domestic violence? By exposing such a person you would be putting the partner at risk of further violence. Exposing a notorious person poses a risk to your own safety also.
The last word – think of the consequences
We live in a world which is far away from being ideal. I have seen people who feared their partners so much that they couldn’t muster the courage to report the cheating. This happens with women who are dependent on their partners financially. Fear of domestic violence may also deter someone. If you fear your safety, make sure that you first get separated and arrange for a separate home. In case there are kids involved, get restraint order, find a good lawyer for yourself and expose the affair. If you are trying to expose someone else’s partner, make sure that the victim moves to a safe place before revealing the truth.
It’s hard to accept cheating. It’s even harder to report it because you know that a lot of questions would be raised and your integrity would be questioned. And it is easy for an outsider to ask you to report against your partner but it is you who have to take the final call. We would want you to stand for your own right and dignity and let the world know how you have been treated. This is not only for your benefit but also for others who are involved.
Seek help from your friends or relatives whom you can trust and ask for suggestions to handle the crisis. Seek legal help if you are considering separation and try to become financially independent. Do what you feel right for yourself and your kids and always believe that things would be okay in the end.