Love is a complicated, messy, exhilarating, fun and exhausting feeling. When we fall in love we feel a sense of ownership over the other person. Not to say that it is out of a level of unhealthy control, but this person becomes “ours” in a way that is different from other relationships. Because committed romantic relationships require a level of vulnerability and openness between lovers, we need to feel a level of safety that is often achieved through knowing that he/she/they are hanging in there for the long haul with only you.
Typically, relationships have a set of boundaries that serve as guidelines, which break down what is and isn’t acceptable behavior in and out of the relationship. For example, violence would likely be a boundary that wouldn’t be tolerated. When it comes to boundaries outside of the relationship, most people would refer to cheating as the number one limit needing to be adhered to without question.
But is cheating that cut and dry? Is it something that should result in the demise of a bright future? Most people instinctually say yes. As a Psychotherapist, I say no & here’s why…
Being cheated on is a shitty experience (to say the least). Imaging your significant other being physically and emotional intimate with someone else is unbearable. But like almost everything else in life, cheating isn’t a black and white situation. When someone comes into my office and says their significant other has cheated, I’m more curious about their relationship leading up to the infidelity, rather than focusing on how it happened (at least initially). Because cheating doesn’t happen in a vacuum, it may be possible that the situation is fixable, if both parties are willing to evaluate their relationship and work on building it back up again.
Does understanding the reason behind cheating excuse the act? Of course not! Do you have the right to be bullshit by your partner’s seemingly selfish behaviors? Hell yes! But that doesn’t mean it has to be over. Are all situations of infidelity created equal? Nope! However, cheating is usually a sign that something has gone wrong and the search for intimacy and affection has led to the meeting of needs through someone else. Often we find that chaotic lives, demanding jobs, and familial responsibilities have left little time for relationship maintenance, i.e. discussing what is and isn’t working; fulfilling sexual needs, etc. Before you know it, that distance becomes the norm, but needs and wants are still there with desire sizzling under the surface.
So, if you find that distance is growing between you and your partner, talk about it.
Have the tough conversations before they become even tougher. If you have needs that aren’t being met, acknowledge them. If you can’t work on these issues alone, look into couple therapy. Remember, therapy isn’t a sign of weakness; it means you’re dedicated to making change. And if you find yourself in a situation where your partner has cheated, remind yourself that it doesn’t have to be the end. If both people are willing to do the work, it could be the beginning of a stronger relationship.
This is the first Blog post of the #Summer100 Blog Challenge created by Pretty Pink Lotus Bud. You’ll definitely want to stick around to read my next 99 (Yup, that’s right–99!!) posts, as well as check out other sex bloggers who I will be linking as the summer goes on.