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What is Cheating, Why do we Cheat and How do we deal with it?

What is Cheating?

Whether we’re talking relationship, games, taxes or term papers cheating can be all bad, especially if you get caught.  Cheating is, by definition, to act dishonestly or unfairly to gain an advantage. It’s the breech of an understanding or agreement which can ultimately lead to a breach in trust.  When I am playing games with my daughter she thinks it’s funny to pick up or put down extra cards or skip ahead a couple places to win. If you play Uno with her expect the deck to be stacked in her advantage.  She understands the rules of the games and makes a conscious effort to cheat to win (we’re working on that).

How do we deal with cheating

It’s not much different with adults and relationships.  Depending on who you talk to, only married people can cheat because unless you’re married you’re single.  In my opinion, when you chose to co-mingle fluids exclusively with another person you are in an intimate relationship.  If you add in the other life components you have now formed a partnership by whatever name you choose to call it. Some couples are smart enough to talk through all aspects of their relationship but for most we make assumptions about cheating…and we know what they say about assuming.  If you haven’t already, I highly encourage you to define with your partner what cheating is for your relationship because it’s different for everyone. And don’t forget, cheating isn’t just physical. People can cheat emotionally as well and from my experience and stories I’ve heard it’s much more painful and harder to recover from.

Excluding the obvious, which to me is penetrative or oral sex, would your partner be cheating if they did anything on the list below without your knowledge?  

  • Hanging out with a friend they used to date

  • Had an online dating/hook-up profile to talk to people but never meets them in person

  • Likes and comments on risqué pictures on social media

  • Flirts

  • Openly admires an attractive person in your presence

  • Kissing or fondling someone else

  • Fantasizes about sex with another person/people

  • Shares personal things with another person but not you

  • Is known as the “work-wife” or “work-husband” to someone

  • Tipping or getting a lap dance from a stripper

The point is that, depending on the couple, all of it can be cheating and none of it can be cheating.  We make up our own rules. The basic principle of cheating goes back to the ground rules. Discuss them, understand them and stick to them.

Why do we cheat?

If you watched the video I posted on FB on Why Men Cheat, in this woman’s opinion it’s biological...but it’s not just that way for men.  As we grow up we are taught that we should get married, have kids and be productive members of society. We need good credit and must pay our taxes.  Once we get married we are supposed to work hard to take care of our families and before it’s all over we buy matching burial plots. I have met a few people in my whole life who met their soulmate while they were an adolescent and ended up spending their whole lives faithfully together.  If that’s you then your relationship is right up there with the 7 wonders of the world.

Most of us must go through the dating experience.  Some dates last minutes and others last years and for the most part they end (check out Netflix Series Black Mirror Season 4 Episode Hang the DJ), and cheating is a big reason why.  When you decide to be in a relationship with someone there’s no biological switch in your body that makes you stop finding other people attractive. You may express that attraction with a blush, smile, quick glance or full on erection or wetness.  It makes me think of the commercial of the Hefty commercial with John Cena and the 3 married women. Those women didn’t even claim their husbands while they were lusting after John Cena. Our body’s and our minds still find other people attractive and, in some instances, we become sexually intrigued.  Cheating is the decision to act on that intrigue…without the knowledge or consent of your partner. Consent is a big thing in sex and when you cheat you take your partner’s consent away consent away.

I have cheated in my life and depending on the boyfriend I had at the time I’m sure I felt justification for it because it wasn’t MY fault.  I wouldn’t have cheated if this thing or that thing was happening. Here are some reasons (or excuses) I and others have had for cheating. What are reasons have you had or heard?

  • Because I could

  • Bored or uninterested in the relationship

  • Looking for a reason to break it off

  • Blame it on the alcohol…or drugs or whatever substance took you out your right mind

  • Lack of sexual satisfaction in your primary relationship 

  • Desire for additional sexual encounters (think quantity)

  • You’re curious and want new experiences (think quality)

  • Lack of emotional satisfaction in your primary relationship

  • Your wanting to seek revenge

The only real way to know why someone cheated…is to ask them.  Sometimes you get the truth and sometimes they pull a Shaggy and say it wasn’t me until the end of time.  Working with a coach can help but the difference will come from knowing how you want to grow from the experience should it happen.

How to deal with cheating?

There are two sides to every story and three ways to deal with it: do nothing and nothing changes; work together to change the situation; leave.  

If you are the person cheating, then I seriously ask you to look at yourself in the mirror and think about how you would feel if you were being cheated on. Talk to your partner and tell them how you feel.  Give them the truth behind your actions. They can’t do anything about it if they aren’t aware. It’s a violation of trust and is a safety risk from a physical and health perspective. A lot of drama comes from someone sending screenshots of your conversations or private gallery, showing up at your or your partners home or place of work, babies outside the relationship and even STDs/STIs.  If you don’t want to be with that person, then end the relationship. They will get over it. It’s much worse to be lied to, cheated on and embarrassed on top of losing your relationship.

If you are the person who was cheated on, then you have a decision to make.  Your partner will have their reason for cheating. It may even be one of the ones listed above.  First, take stock of the situation. Did your partner communicate any issues with you and if so what was your response?  Did you listen? Did you act to address their concerns? If you honestly are being hit out of the blue with it then you have a decision to make.   

My personal perspective is that cheating alone is not enough to end a relationship.  I know some of you are like fuck that. If they cheat they are cut off. Once a cheater always a cheater.  There are a lot of celebrity couples who have had affairs publicly broadcast and stayed. There are several factors and circumstances to consider so I don’t look down on anyone for staying, or leaving, if that’s the decision.  The thing that can’t happen is do nothing. Ignoring the problems that led to cheating won’t make them go away.

The first thing to do is avoid it in the first place.  Talk honestly and talk often about everything. How do you feel about each other, the good and the not so good?  What are your collective expectations regarding monogamy? What sexual desires and fantasies would you like to explore?  There are some men who I believe suffer from the Madonna-whore complex where they must sexually separate the matronly mother wife from the sexually degraded whore.  I think getting all of it in one package is much more effective and satisfying.

In your talk make sure you add the possibility of an open relationship which comes in many forms.  The most common are poly and swinging which have their own subset of relationship types. Being in an open relationship doesn’t mean you don’t love each other, and it doesn’t mean you are any less committed to your partner.  You can be in an open relationship to address a purely sexual, physical component or you can have multiple deep connections, separately or together. It does require trust, lowering of ego and understanding and sticking to the rules of engagement.  Don’t take away your partner’s consent. You never know how they will feel until you talk about it. They may want the same thing and not know how to bring it up.

Working with a sex coach, like me, can help facilitate the conversation. Stay open to possibilities.  Life is too short.

Wishing You Love, Peace and Great Sex!!

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