CL Grant has authored many relationship books, including "30 Day No Contact Rule," "The Reality of Being the Other Woman," and "Ex Addict."
Are You Cheating in Your Relationship?
Committing adultery is the ultimate betrayal. Anyone who cheats, while in a monogamous relationship, is violating the love, trust, and loyalty that their significant other has placed in them. Whether you are an accidental cheater or an habitual one, cheating in a relationship rarely goes unpunished.
Also, did you know that a cheating spouse may as well be committing a criminal offence? Anti-adultery laws still exist in some parts of America. In certain states, adultery is a Class B misdemeanor, but watch out if you live in Michigan. Here, adultery is deemed a Class I felony, which could land you with a four-year prison term. You can also be reprimanded for infidelity if you are a member of the United States military forces. Whether such antiquated laws deserve a place in the 21st century is a matter for debate. Nonetheless, they are still being enforced, albeit rather infrequently. So remember: cheating always has consequences!
Why Do People Cheat on Their Partners?
Whether you are an adulterer or a victim of adultery, you will no doubt have already asked yourself this very question. Unfortunately, there is no right or wrong answer. The causes of infidelity are varied. In a perfect world, nobody would cheat on their partner. We would all be drawn to our soulmate, the absolute love of our life, get married, and live happily ever after. Sadly, this is not always the case.
Statistics show that thousands upon thousands of people are cheating on their significant other, each and every day. Marriages and relationships all over the globe are breaking down as a direct consequence of extramarital affairs. So why are so many people prepared to risk losing everything?
While the majority of affairs occur as a result of some form of marital dissatisfaction, they can also occur in happy relationships. Personal dissatisfaction and low self-esteem are contributory factors. In these instances, the unfaithful partner is often unaware of the role that they have played, in contributing to the breakdown of their relationship.
10 Common Reasons Why People Cheat
- Lack of commitment to present relationship
- Lack of sexual satisfaction with current partner
- Open-minded attitude towards sex outside of marriage
- Differing sexual needs
- Appetite for sexual encounters with others
- Lack of emotional satisfaction with current partner
- Feelings of insecurity or low self-esteem
- Financial, family or work pressures
- Thrill of the chase
- The opportunity presented itself
Causes of Infidelity in Relationships
If you were to search for a common denominator, then you would probably conclude that an element of dissatisfaction must exist within all cheating spouses. However, before you jump to any conclusions, it is important to remember that the sources of dissatisfaction can be intrinsic as well as extrinsic.
So what does this mean exactly? It is often perceived that people cheat due to some type of unhappiness or lack of fulfillment in their relationship. This may be due to a nagging or abusive spouse, or perhaps they and their partner have changed and simply want different things out of life. Quite often, people rush into marriage only to meet someone far more compatible, further on down the line.
Over a period of time, it is not uncommon for couples to start feeling comfortable with each other. They may begin developing a sibling type of affection for their spouse and consequently, no longer have any desire to be intimate. While sleeping in a separate bed or bedroom may have its advantages, especially in today's hectic style of living, it can also lead to couples becoming emotionally detached from each other.
Others may suffer from low self-esteem and require the reassurance that they are still desirable. Financial pressure may also drive someone to having an affair. It can act as a form of escapism and provide some time, when they don’t have to face up to the harsh realities of life.
Of course, there will always be those individuals who seem simply incapable of remaining faithful to their partners and who may have a long series of affairs. Perhaps they have a high sex drive or simply desire the excitement and danger that an extramarital affair brings.
Also, while some people actively search for a new lover, such on dating websites, for others, the opportunity evolves naturally. This is quite common with work-place affairs when individuals tend to spend a significant amount of time in their coworker's company. What starts out as a professional and platonic relationship may evolve into romantic feelings.
How Many People Cheat on Their Partners?
Depending upon which set of statistics you refer to, the number of people identified as committing adultery varies. Whilst men have always tended to have a propensity to cheat on their spouse, data indicates that women are now starting to follow suit. Nonetheless, men still lead the way in the adultery stakes. Typically, 20% of men are quoted as being unfaithful whereas, women trail behind with only 13% admitting adultery.
However, it is worth noting that such surveys can be fundamentally flawed and the actual figures are likely to be higher than stated. Why? Well, not everyone is prepared to admit that they have ever cheated on their spouse. Furthermore, if someone is prepared to lie to their partner, then they are hardly likely to have any compunction about lying to a researcher.
Additionally, the vast majority of these studies are undertaken on heterosexual couples and hence, there are many other monogamous relationships that will be excluded from these statistics. Noticeably, as the table below shows, the numbers of people committing adultery varies significantly with age.
Percentage of Men and Women Who Cheat by Age Range
|AGE RANGE||MEN (%)||WOMEN (%)|
18 - 29
30 - 39
40 - 49
50 - 59
60 - 69
70 - 79
How to Stop Being a Cheater
For this to work, you need to be wholeheartedly committed to your relationship, and genuinely want to stop committing adultery. Perhaps you have finally come to your senses and realized that you have made a big mistake. You may have already tried ending the affair, but without success. Your lover may be threatening to harm themselves, or may even be blackmailing you into staying, by promising to disclose everything to your partner.
Even if you find yourself in a situation that appears almost impossible to extricate yourself from, you are capable of being faithful. However, you must be prepared for your spouse finding out about your adultery, and the inevitable consequences that discovery entails.
Below are seven steps that will help you stop cheating and become faithful once again.
Adultery occurs in the head long before it occurs in the bed.
— Charles Rozell "Chuck" Swindoll
Step #1: What Type of Cheater Are You?
The first step is to identify why you cheat. There are essentially two types of cheaters: the Habitual Cheater and the Accidental Cheater. It is important that you recognize which one you are and also, any underlying reasons for your infidelity.
The Habitual Cheater
As the name suggests, this person is a serial offender and cheats simply because they can. Appearing outwardly confident, this type of cheater typically feels insecure and desperately seeks adoration. They may even display narcissistic traits.
When an opportunity to cheat arises, they take it. They crave drama and are risk-takers. They often have multiple affairs at the same time, as it increases the thrill and the danger of what they are doing. However, the habitual cheater rarely forms any meaningful type of attachment, and the affairs are often short-lived.
Habitual cheaters rarely regret their infidelity, but they do regret getting caught.
The Accidental Cheater
As the name suggests, this person did not set out to commit adultery. It just happened! They may have had a few too many drinks, or been in the wrong place, at the wrong time. Perhaps someone just sat and listened to their problems, and the relationship developed from there.
While the accidental cheater regrets their actions, they are more likely to form an emotional bond with their lovers.
Whatever the reasons, the adulterous relationship is inevitably fulfilling a gap in the cheater’s relationship. Identifying what this missing component is, is essential to understanding why you cheat and more importantly, how you can stop cheating.
Step #2: Why Do You Want to Change?
At the risk of sounding inane, you need to be perfectly honest with yourself and question your motives for wanting to stop cheating.
- Are you afraid of losing your partner?
- Are you afraid of losing your family and friends?
- Are you embarrassed about what your children will think?
- Do you worry about your financial situation, if you were to separate?
- Are you afraid of damaging your reputation?
- Is there a chance that you may lose your job, if the affair was exposed?
- Is the affair affecting your health?
- Is your lover demanding that you leave your spouse?
- Has your spouse found out about the affair and given you an ultimatum?
- Are you losing respect for yourself?
It is critical that you fully understand your motives for wanting to change. If, in reality, you would prefer to maintain the status quo, then your attempts at transforming your character are likely to be half-hearted and full of resentment. If change is forced upon you, then it is highly improbable that you will succeed. You are fighting a losing battle. To conquer your desires, you must want to change.
Scratch a lover, and find a foe.
— Dorothy Parker (1893 - 1967): Ballade of a Great Weariness
Step #3 - Put Yourself in Your Partner’s Shoes
Imagine swapping places with your partner right now. How ‘good’ do you think your betrayal is making him or her feel? Are they:
- Feeling numb
- Feeling sick
- Unable to face another day
- Unable to concentrate or focus on anything, other than your affair
- Sobbing endlessly
- Thinking that their world has just ended
How would you feel if someone ripped your heart out?
If you have an ounce of empathy in your body, it is often easier to stop cheating when you acknowledge the full extent of the hurt and damage that your adultery is causing to your loved ones.
Step #4: Avoid Temptation
Once you have taken the decision to end your affair, then it is imperative that you have absolutely no contact with your ex lover. If this means changing your phone number, email address and blocking them on social media sites, then so be it. If you are serious about this, then that's what you need to do.
Unfortunately, if you cheated with a work colleague, and many affairs start this way, then avoiding your ex lover could be something of an impossibility. In this situation, you must minimize any contact and keep it strictly at a professional level.
Ideally, you should actively pursue alternative employment. Not only will this demonstrate to your partner that you are serious about changing, it will also relieve some of the tension, every time you leave for work in the morning. If you are having trouble finding another job, then investigate the possibility of transferring to another office, department or building.
Of course, temptation is all around us. So what should you do?
- Refrain from flirting. What starts out as harmless fun often progresses into something more serious.
- Drink in moderation. Alcohol reduces sexual inhibition so be on your guard, when your partner is not present.
- Limit the number of times you attend social events, without your partner being present.
- Talk about your partner so that others know that you are already spoken for.
- Wear your wedding band
Step #5 - Identify What You Risk Losing by Cheating
Analyzing what you risk losing, by continuing to cheat, may lead to a sudden epiphany! The fallout from your cheating may extend a lot further than you first imagined.
Aside from losing your partner, relationship, children, family and friends, there are also other consequences to consider.
- Do you really want to lose the family home that holds so many memories?
- Are you honestly prepared to trade in your car for an older, cheaper model?
- Can you forgo your gym membership etc?
- Do you want to catch an STD?
- Do you want to pass an STD on to your partner?
- Are you happy to have a child with your lover?
- What about the potential damage to your professional reputation?
- Are you prepared to lose your job over an affair in the workplace?
- What about your reputation in the community?
- Are you willing to be judged by neighbors and acquaintances?
- Are you prepared to be ostracized?
- Is your affair worth all this?
- Are you really ready to throw this all away?
Step #6 - Arrange to See a Relationship or Marriage Counselor
You do not need to take your spouse with you, to visit a marriage counselor. Even if you did attend as a couple, it is not uncommon to have one-to-one sessions. However, if your spouse is unaware of your infidelity, then it is far better you seek professional help, by yourself.
A professional counselor is not there to judge you. They will help increase your awareness of why you cheated and help identify any issues with your relationship. They.will provide you with impartial advice and suggest strategies that can help improve your relationship in the long term.
Later in the counselling process, it may be beneficial for you and your partner to attend the sessions together. Infidelity is typically a sign of underlying problems in the relationship, and is often something that you will both need to tackle together.
Step #7 – Don’t Expect It to Be Easy
If you formed an emotional attachment to your lover, then you may be finding it extremely difficult and painful, not to see them again. However, there are strategies, such as the no contact rule, that can help you get over the breakup.
Even if there is no physical intimacy between you and your lover, you may be committing emotionally adultery. While it is human nature to grieve the loss of a relationship, even an adulterous one, you are not being faithful while your head is consumed with thoughts of your lover.
Remember, this is a life-changing decision and not a race. It takes time to heal and ultimately, improve your life for the better.
How to Prevent Cheating
- Michigan Legislature (1927). The Code of Criminal Procedure (Excerpt): Act 175 of 1927. [12 March 2018]
- General Social Survey.(2010 - 2016) [12 March 2018]
- Institute for Family Studies (2018). Who Cheats More? The Demographics of Cheating in America. [12 March 2018]
- Knopp, K., Scott, S.B., Ritchie, L.L., Rhoades, G.K., Markman, H.J., & Stanley, S.M. (2017). Once a Cheater, Always a Cheater? Serial Infidelity Across Subsequent Relationships.[12 March 2018]
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Questions & Answers
Question: How can I stop cheating with my boss and still stay at my job?
Answer: Realistically, you can't, so don't kid yourself otherwise. If you're unwilling or unable to find a new job elsewhere, then apply for a transfer or promotion, within the same company.
© 2012 C L Grant
AndreaAbbey on February 17, 2020:
I have been having a work affair for 8 months now, unfortunately it is still on going. I am unsure how to end it as we both have deep feelings for each other but also know it needs to end as we both have partners. We have been lucky so far that no one has found out but we both know if it carries on we are going to get caught. I know why the affiar started, and i know what i need to work in my marriage. I do not want to leave my job so that is not on the tables. Any advice would be great.
Dorca on January 12, 2020: