Should You Cheat to Get Back at Your Partner?

shutterstock_311207699Most people who have been cheated on are devastated when they are finally confronted with the truth, whether they find out on their own or their partner confesses. A guilty confession may feel like cold comfort. But at least they were honest with you. Worse than the physical transgression is the emotional sharing and the deceit. The lying is what many find the most abhorrent aspect. You may feel angry, sad, betrayed, abandoned, or even rejected. Particularly with anger, one of the things that will eventually cross our mind is revenge. We want to even the score, and make our partner feel as bad as we do. There is a certain delicious delight in the thought revenge sex. Some even up the ante making it someone close to their partner, a sibling or close friend for instance. Not only can this course of action obliterate your relationship, it can hurt your reputation, as well as setting your emotional recovery back a few steps. Psychological research shows that we are hardwired for revenge. Such fantasies even bring people to feel a happiness they think is out of their reach otherwise in the aftermath of infidelity. But studies have shown that those who are successful in their revenge feel worse off in the long run.

The truth is your cheating cannot even the score. The bond of trust has already been ruptured. What you have to decide now is if this relationship is worth salvaging or not, and if each of you have the energy to invest in fixing it. Usually, cheating is a sign of deep seated problems and one or both person’s needs not being met. These can be emotional or physical needs. Another reason it is such revenge cheating is a waste of time. It is likely your infidelity will not impact your partner as theirs has impacted you. They may feel relieved, even justified in crossing that boundary to begin with. These actions might even be used against you, for instance as justification for continuing the affair. In this way, your cheating could also be used for fuel in the argument against you. Instead of trying to see where you are coming from and making amends, they will be further driven away from you. Will cheating teach them a lesson? It will probably display to them that you are vengeful, and perhaps that this relationship is not worth it, rather than showing them the error of their ways. It may even encourage them to cheat again.

A retaliatory affair will only distract you from the matter at hand, whether to stay in this relationship, or tell your partner to hit the road. Things are already tense, and you are probably feeling vulnerable. So your cheating could be more negatively impactful to you as well. It may also put a nail in the coffin of this relationship, adding lies and betrayal on top of those which have already transpired. In some cases, this action could escalate anger between partners, even leading to domestic violence. If you want to let this relationship go, do so. You do not need to go into weighty explanations. Instead, practical arrangements, especially if you live together or have kids together, need to be made. But if anything, the cheating should be all the reasoning you need. If you are reinvesting in the relationship, it may be wise to take some time away from your partner. Moving forward, consider couple’s counseling, and establish how you will rebuild things, and what steps they have to take to reestablish trust, and show that they are sincerely sorry. They need to make amends to be forgiven. It surely is not easy. But for some couples, infidelity is a wakeup call to issues that they have been in denial about for some time. Now they have to finally face them together. So for those stalwart few, infidelity may actually be a blessing in disguise.

If you two are trying to reconcile read, After the Affair: Healing the Pain and Rebuilding Trust When a Partner Has Been Unfaithful by Janis A. Spring.

Infidelity is No Longer the Biggest Reason for Divorce

shutterstock_149077067We are used to hear all the time about marriages being torn apart by infidelity. Our imagination swirls with stories where a jilted lover dragged their spouse into court ready to strip them of every penny, and screaming from the rooftops to shatter their good name. That is no longer the case. According to a leading group of family lawyers in the UK, today most couples are splitting up due to a lack of love in their marriage. Long-term partners are falling out of love, and unable to recoup it, so they decide to go their separate ways. On the other side of the ledger, the number of pre-nuptial agreements has also risen dramatically, according to this same group. Moreover, lots of couples are staving off divorce for when their financial situation improves. Salaries have stagnated on both sides of the pond, while the cost of living has gone up. This survey which polled 100 such lawyers from across the UK also found that these lawyers themselves believe about one-third of husbands hide assets when fearing divorce. In most of these cases the husband was the higher earner, and had more wealth to conceal.

So which situation would you rather be in, your spouse cheated on you or has fallen out of love with you? It is a sadistic choice, to be sure. How can you tell if love is exiting your marriage? There are lots of signs. You show less affection to one another. You pay less attention when the other person is not there, or even when they are, and vice-versa. The lunchtime phone calls and random texts taper off. There is little nurturing in this kind of relationship. Blame, passive-aggression, nagging, and angry fights take its place. Your priorities change and so do theirs, and the marriage is not necessarily the first on the list. If you have no energy to deal with one another, or don’t want to bother going out of your way for each other, chances are love has bid you farewell. Here, conflicts don’t get resolved. They get swept under the rug. Each person tries to control more and more things or situations. Passion drops off and you become completely disconnected from one another. If one person is a narcissist, now is the time when it surfaces full force. You feel as though you diminish yourself, or go along a fog. You lose who you really are, blurred by this overbearing relationship.

Lots of couples chug along for years this way. But being in that kind of marriage eats away at you, until you can’t even recognize yourself anymore. Is there a way back? The first step is to find out how you feel and where your feelings come from. Own those feelings and use them to fuel inner healing. Practice self-compassion. Forgive your spouse for the transgressions and pain they have caused you, not for their sake but for yours. No one should abandon themselves to a loveless relationship. Instead, in a loveless relationship it is the responsibility of both people to look for places where they can reconnect. Talk for a long time and really come to understand one another. After you have done this, see if this relationship can be resurrected. If it cannot, the tendency is to feel shame or point fingers. Instead, find some closure. Remember the good times. Reminisce and come to understand how things changed. But don’t be afraid to move on. If it is time to reinvest in this relationship, communicate long and often. Find the energy to tackle problems, or even consider couples counseling. Infidelity may not be the biggest reason for splitting up, but falling out of love is no less painful. All each person has to do is to decide if the relationship is right for them, and if they have the energy to invest in it.

For those in a loveless relationship in the here and now try reading, The Emotionally Destructive Marriage: How to Find Your Voice and Reclaim Your Hope by Leslie Vernick.

Are Men More Likely to Cheat?

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If you ask any group of people who is more likely to cheat men or women, almost all will respond men. On a recent dating forum one woman even asked, “Why do ALL men cheat?” Of course, scientists would say that we cannot rely on the myopia of personal experience. Part of this could be a cultural assumption as well. But if you look at the statistics behind cheating males are indeed more likely to travel beyond the confines of monogamy. Some guys cry foul at this and say women also have a preponderance to stray. There is some evidence to back this up. A 2013 survey of 3,000 daters conducted by British dating site Coffee & Company found that women were more bent toward infidelity than men. Nine percent of male respondents had cheated versus 25% of women. Ladies age 35 to 40 were the most likely end up in the arms of another. Some were unmarried and looking for a thrill. Most said they were driven to it through emotional or physical neglect in their primary relationship, typified by the oft uttered phrase, “He made me feel special.”

Research published in a 2013 issue of the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin found that both sexes have an urge to cheat, and both have equal ability to contain themselves. But it also found that a man’s desire is stronger than a woman’s. Bitter women often say men lack self-control. Is it true? According to two studies conducted at the University of Texas, self-control in either sex is the same. But sexual feelings and urges in men are more powerful. In the first study, 148 participants were asked to illustrate an instance where a person they were attracted to was “off-limits.” The strength of attraction, their sexual attraction to the person, and the strength of their self-control were all measured. Responses to questions included, “I exerted myself to resist the desire/impulse” and “my behavior clearly indicated that I was acting on the desire/impulse.” Men reported more instances of infidelity in this study. They did however exhibit just as much effort in trying to control their impulses. Paul Eastwick was the study’s co-author. He wrote that men have just as much self-control as women. But when they don’t use it, their sexual impulses are stronger, and so in this instance cheating is likely to occur.

600 undergraduates took part in the second study, 326 were men and 274 women. Here each was given a joystick and so the ability to accept or reject a mate based on a series of photos presented to them. They moved left to reject and right to accept. By the men’s reaction times, researchers found that men take longer to accept a partner. Also, though self-control was not seen as an issue, men were “impulsively drawn to attractive targets.” This means that men evaluated potential mates on physical attractiveness. From an evolutionary standpoint, self-control is relatively new. Men contain the copulatory imperative, a strong sex drive in order to ensure the perpetuation of the human race. For males, mates from this view are evaluated based on attractiveness as this telegraphs health and means she is more likely to bare healthy offspring. But with modern society and sensibilities, these simple impulses get caught in a net of artificiality. Sociologists say monogamy has brought stability to many societies. Some fringe independent thinkers today wonder if in the age of dating apps, whether or not monogamy itself is outdated. Still, most Americans are monogamists. And that’s okay. Psychologists say as long as both partners are honest and invest in the relationship whole heartedly we can find utter happiness in a monogamy and neither party will have reason to cheat.

For help finding your most logical match read, The Science of Happily Ever After: What Really Matters in the Quest for Enduring Love

by: Ty Tashiro.

Year Two Can be Hard on a Relationship

That sheer rush when you fall for someone can be so exhilarating. Every insight they share fills you with awe, their jokes are hilarious, and every idiosyncrasy tickles you pink. But some two years later some find their partner’s insights stale, their jokes lame, and the little habits you used to find so cute are now positively irritating. What happened? The biochemical that kept you high on this person this entire time has leveled off. This is what some people call limerence and others the “honeymoon phase.” After about six months it begins to wear off. The two year point is heavy for most people. Some never want to settle down. They just want to jump from person to the next, chasing the feeling of newfound love. But many people want a life partner to share things with. So in this case to keep those feelings alive takes a lot of work. It takes a considerable investment in time, effort, thinking and planning for any relationship to run smoothly. Once those feelings end you have to evaluate it for what it really is, and consider whether you indeed have a deeper connection with this person or if it was all just infatuation.

Take a good look. Is there good communication? What about affection and tenderness? Do you treat each other with respect? Can you work through problems constructively? If the thrill is gone and you can’t for the life of you figure out what you saw in this person, be happy that the fog of love has lifted and cut your losses. Don’t keep trying to breathe life back into the corpse or you will waste a lot of time and effort, and frustrate yourself to no end. If you have been through a series of these relationships and are always let down in the second year or thereabouts, take a look at your standards. Are they perhaps too high? Some dating experts say apps and websites have made it seem like we can find someone perfect, when it’s really in our foibles and our acceptance of one another’s that we find acceptance and through it, love. Another aspect may be a fear of intimacy. Those who fear commitment often find their fears bubble up to the surface once the feel good chemicals of love wear off. Take it slow, communicate and seek help so as not to sabotage a good relationship if you are indeed in one.

As things develop, that frantic intensity might be gone. But there are other advantages not available before. Sometimes we forget how those dizzying first days, weeks, and months give us tremendous anxiety. But relationships in later stages are more comfortable. Partners who know each other better are closer. Though the instant need to gobble one another may be gone, many married couples say sex is better once you get to know each other’s likes and dislikes, and perhaps what kinks you share in common. You have your technique down too. Sometimes relationships and sex can get dull and need some sprucing up. Having a date night, plan a vacation, consider tantra, learn a hobby together like cooking, rock climbing, yoga, or salsa dancing. These are novel experiences which will invigorate your relationship. Talk about what you want to explore together. Also, partners who spend too much time together can get on each other’s nerves. Spend a little time apart to explore different hobbies or spend time with friends. You can talk about something new over the breakfast table. Consider your relationship carefully. But if you have all the right things to make it great, try and infuse a few changes and you’ll be able to reignite the spark. For more readHow to Keep Your Relationship Exciting: 85 Tips to Keep the Romance in Your Life! by Kate Anderson.

Are your Ready for a Long-term Relationship?

 

According to society, the media, our family, and perhaps even friends, a long-term, monogamous relationship is the only legitimate kind. Dating around is considered something for impetuous youth, and for the eternal playboy who flaunts societies rules and fails to slow down. Women are judged even more harshly if they do not want to find “The One.” Though many powerful, innovative female role models in the past never settled down, the fact is gleaned over, if not forgotten. Even after a painful breakup or divorce, folks will reach out, try to set you up with someone, ask when you are going to “get serious” with someone again, or merely inquire, whether politely or otherwise, why you are still single. The fact is, there is no right or wrong way to manage a love life. It is really all up to each, particular individual, what works for them, and where they are in life. No one can tell you if you are ready for or even want a long-term relationship, right now or ever. Only the voice in your own heart can tell you. If you rush into one with the wrong person, or with the right person at the wrong time—failing to allow things to develop at their natural pace, tragedy can ensue. It really is out of anxiety for others or societal expectations that we jump into a long-term relationship when we do not want one, or when we are not ready. So if you are interested in a long-term relationship, and that is your goal, how do you know when you are ready?

Did you just get out of such a relationship? If so, jumping into another may not be the smartest move. If you are seeing someone to get over your ex, to make them jealous, or if you know in your heart of hearts that this is just a rebound, do not move forward. You would be doing so not because you want to but out of expectation. A house of love built on a flimsy foundation will sooner or later come crashing down. You will have broken the heart of someone you had no intention of truly loving. Do not set up false expectations. Let the person you are dating know where you have been, where you are at, and how you aren’t looking for anything serious right now. Do not open the door to future seriousness with them if you have no intention of doing so. You will only set up a false expectation.

There is nothing wrong with a rebound or dating casually, as long as each party is aware of exactly what is going on and everything is consensual. Another time to avoid a long-term relationship is when you are expecting big changes soon. If you are moving away, starting a new job, entering into medical school, or taking some time off to take care of a sick relative, your time will be limited. Do you really have the time and energy to make this relationship work? Spreading yourself too thin will only cause arguments, derision, and heartache. A Long distance relationship needs even more of an investment. Talk it over with your love interest and let them know where you are at, and where you are going.

Some people love singledom and hate being tied down. Then they meet someone that they like, and even though becoming a unit doesn’t feel right, they do it to not lose the person. But they are never truly happy in captivity. Whether it is a temporary thing such as you are at a transition point and need to do some soul searching, or you have always been a lone wolf and will always be, do not settle for what you know in your heart will never work. State who you are and what you like clearly. If they won’t take no for an answer, you probably shouldn’t be dating this person to begin with. Perhaps you feel as though you need to keep your defenses up. You cannot trust anyone to get close. This is not the time to get serious with someone. They will attempt to get closer to you, while all you will be doing is pushing them away. This situation makes both of you dissatisfied. Instead, work on yourself. Why do you have these trust issues? Where do they stem from? Get yourself where you need to be, and once you get there, you will know how to manage your love life in the way that is right for you.

For more up a copy of Every Single Woman’s Battle: Guarding Your Heart and Mind Against Sexual and Emotional Compromise (The Every Man Series) Workbook by Shannon Ethridge.