According to researchers, 30% to 60% of individuals in a long-term relationship cheat. While the research is the product of rough estimates, it’s becoming evident that infidelity is an ingrained habit in love relationships.
Cheating has been normalized by movies, media, and countless psychological studies. While it doesn’t mean that discovering your spouse or partner has been cheating on you doesn’t hurt, the mind is already used to the idea.
Cheating hurts, there is no doubt about that. However, psychologists reckon than infidelity is a form of communication that requires your attention. Indeed, most cheaters admit they still love their partners. Therefore, it’s important to point out that infidelity is not always triggered by the desire to find a better-suited mate. On the contrary, it might have deeper roots.
Consequently, figuring out what infidelity says about your relationship can give you the key to handle the situation and protect your sanity.
Handling the pain
While cheating is a form of communication, it doesn’t mean that you are ready to decrypt the message. When you are on the receiving end, there is one decision you need to take, namely whether you are willing to understand. Showing understanding is the beginning of your path toward better communication.
However, it requires being able to look past the pain and choose to heal together. Not everybody is ready to forgive to move on and preserve their relationship. Nevertheless, once the infidelity has been revealed, you have the upper hand to decide how you want to carry on the journey with the knowledge that your partner hurt you.
As such, you might feel that the best solution for yourself is to move on without them. Forgiving is only a viable option if you want to find a form of understanding of the situation. But if you don’t care about the message behind the infidelity, the path forward is about healing yourself and moving on alone.
Looking for a solution together
When you agree to engage with the underlying message, you begin to question the path to follow together. Indeed, you might want to review the situation with your partner to understand what triggered their infidelity. For repeated cheating, professional counseling from sex therapists can be a useful tool to tackle disorders and addictions. In other words, cheating can be a symptom of an unknown condition that affects your partner’s life – and yourself.
More importantly, you have to embrace honesty without blaming each other if you are willing to protect your relationship. Compulsive behaviors, while they can be hurtful, are the kind of things that your partner can’t control without supportive therapy. In short, if you want to forgive, you have to give them time to “heal” too.
Did you fail your partner?
Have you considered the possibility that your partner was looking for the emotional connection you are not giving them? Indeed, emotional neglect can not only hurt your partner but also drive them to build meaningful connections outside of their relationship. In other words, your behavior might have created the need for cheating.
Learning that your partner cheated on you is the beginning of a painful journey. But it is a journey with multiple options, where you can move on alone, choose to look for support or question your responsibility in the situation. The truth is that whichever approach you pick, you will learn something about yourself.