Cheating or being cheated on can mess with your head, as a way to decompress and get some perspective, our Rev writer Ruth goes through to give you her best advice for those of you struggling with this.
Cheating can mean different things for different people, but I think it's a safe bet most of us have or know someone who has experienced cheating to some degree. And if you’ve ventured into this article it’s because you've either cheated, thought about it or have been cheated on. Perhaps, you’re just curious. Either way, pull up and feel free to take notes.
After you cheat, your next moves are extremely important. They can be the deciding factors in your current relationship and set the precedent for future relationships.
If you’ve cheated, the following steps can be helpful if you don’t know what to do next.
Get to the root of the problem.
Understanding the reasons you’re cheating can help you to correct the behavior. Before you go pointing fingers at your partner, you need to examine yourself. Are you a habitual cheater? You may have a bigger problem than you know. This may seem extreme, but you might even need professional help. For some, it may lead to intense guilt and/or shame; for others, a cheater’s high or thrill, making it hard to stop once you’ve started -- all of which, are toxic byproducts of cheating. Are you dissatisfied in your relationship? In my experience, women take opportunities presented to them, men tend to seek them out. Skrrrt. Pump the brakes. Now before you throw your whole computer away, I'm not trying to make men into villains and absolve women with that statement. What I mean is that generally, if a woman feels like her needs aren't being met, and someone starts to show her what she’s missing, she’s more likely to direct her attention that way. If you were hungry and someone showed you a plate of food, wouldn’t you want to take a bite? At the very least, you’d salivate. Obviously, that’s not always the case, but evaluating the state of your relationship is a good follow-up.
Cut it off.
Why is this the second step and not the first? Making a decision like this should be done after you evaluate yourself because it will help you decide which relationship to cut off. As unpopular as it sounds, you might decide that your tryst or affair is what you want. You might choose to end both of them (assuming there are only two relationships).
We’re all humans, we all make mistakes. No. The very nature of cheating is secrecy. It’s shrouded in deceit and laced with intention, so calling it a mishap or mistake is to excuse it. If you can’t be faithful, you should end the relationship, so that you’re free to pursue other options. The point is something needs to get cut off, here.
Tell the truth.
Don’t wait until you get caught. Cheating is selfish and a violation of your partner’s trust. Period. Being honest about what you’re doing is not an easy thing to do, but oddly enough, it could help to save your relationship or at least yourself. Cheating robs your partner of the ability to choose by unfairly tipping the scale in the cheater’s favor every time. Obviously, there’s a caveat to telling the truth -- your partner might break up with you (and who would blame them?). However, your significant other could very well decide to stay and work things out with you. That’s not a guarantee, but waiting to get caught significantly lowers those chances. And if your S/O decides they no longer want to be with you in light of your infidelity, not all hope is lost. Your situation might be the catalyst for some real-life personal changes.
If you’ve been having unprotected sex with someone other than your partner, you need to get tested for sexually transmitted infections. Please. Getting tested for STDs/STIs is a matter of life and death especially when you’re not practicing safe sex. Condoms and other contraceptives are not 100% effective. If you think you might’ve contracted an STD/STI, do not wait for it to go away on its own. Cease all sexual activity and seek medical attention. If you’ve contracted an infection, you need to let your partner know ASAP.
Is my relationship failing because I’m cheating or am I cheating because my relationship is failing?
The old chicken-and-egg logic doesn’t really work here because it’s never OK to cheat on your partner. Relationships are not easy. More than sex and romance, a relationship also needs love and intimacy. It requires honest communication, emotional support, attention, patience, forgiveness and time. Basically, work. So, when you ask yourself if your relationship is the cause of your cheating, remember that time spent somewhere else is time taken away from your relationship, and the grass is always greener where you water it.