Why do people cheat in relationships?

Have you ever wondered why people cheat in relationships? Why do so many marriages tend to fail? I’ve been asked this question recently and it gave me a lot to think about.

I want you to explore these questions with me, to help us unfold one of the most critical aspects of being in a relationship; loyalty. There are 2 ways to that I’ll tack this: Discussing short-term relationships and long-term relationships.

I’m not an expert in this field at all, but I’ve done my fair share of research (This is my way of theorizing). I’ve also got experience from observing the dynamics within my friends and family. Of course, the movies and series we’ve watched also play a role in our (flawed) understanding of loyalty & love.

Short-term relationships

I’ll consider this to be relationships that last for less than 5 years.

1Immaturity

This to me, is the most significant contributor to cheating within short-term relationships. People who don’t fully commit themselves in a relationship, especially at a young age, tend to be emotionally immature. It’s part of the learning process; making stupid mistakes.

There’s also no specific reason to be in a relationship. When you ask people why they’re in a relationship, they often don’t give you a valid enough reason. “I’m in love with that person”

When your understanding of love comes from media or movies, you tend to confuse the intention behind being in a relationship. Always start with why.

“Love is a skill, not an enthusiasm.”

2Lust

This can definitely be sub-categorized under immaturity. Distinguishing between love and lust isn’t an innate ability. We’re not born with that kind of awareness. It requires experience, conscious effort and self-reflection.

Confusing physical attraction with an emotional attraction can definitely lead to problems. When you’re not emotionally committed, all you tend to care about is the physical pleasure or constant attention.

This makes it rather difficult to stay loyal to a single person, as your intentions are misaligned from the get-go.

3-Being wounded

When you get hurt or betrayed from a relationship, it can often lead to a shift in mindset. This occurs when you don’t allow the wound to heal, or when you’re unable to effectively deal with the pain.

You no longer see the other person as potential for emotional connection, but rather as a means to an end. The mindset switches from caring to playing. This is definitely a common reason people end up being disloyal; when they haven’t adequately dealt with their own trauma.

When someone has broken your trust, you generally find it difficult to trust again. You need an honest confession and clear progress to start re-building that trust.

Side thought: When you apply that logic to other people, it should allow you to embrace rejection with open arms. Sometimes the fault isn’t in you, it’s in the person rejecting you. Maybe they’re still healing and developing self-love.

Long-term relationships

This is a much more difficult aspect to speak about. I have no experience being in a relationship for over 5 years. But I’m here to think out loud. Feel free to comment your own thoughts or to disagree with me.

1-Boredom

It can sometimes be a scary thought. Are we inevitably going to get bored of someone we’re with for a very long time? How do we stay excited in a long-term relationship?

I genuinely don’t have the answer to those questions, but I’m just curious as to the way people deal with these thoughts. Questions are a vital tool for self-awareness, so you need to constantly ask yourself the right ones.

I suppose disloyalty forms when we haven’t adequately dealt with boredom. When we don’t remember our intention behind being in the relationship, we can get lost in our temptations.

Start with why!

2-Fear

When we’re in a relationship for a prolonged period of time, a sense of comfort forms. We tend to ignore our hidden desires and feel like it’s no big deal.

The type of fear I’m talking about is rather an insecurity. We’re afraid to be vulnerable and talk about what’s really on our minds, especially when it’s petty. This is dangerous because we end up seeking strangers to whom we can confide in.

Disloyalty or cheating isn’t only the act of being with another person. It’s the intention that has formed long before any action has taken place.

In essence, lack of vulnerability starts becoming a problem. Something that was pivotal to starting the relationship in the first place. When we take things for granted, we create space for scarcity. We should learn to discuss honestly, the little issues that bother us. Especially the annoyances that we consider petty.

3-The danger of a single story

This YouTube video will perfectly summarize what I mean by this, albeit in a different context. There’s more than a single side to the story. That shouldn’t be a surprise to you, just don’t forget about it.

Empathy being the key ingredient here, but more importantly just an open mind. When you stick to your narrow point of view for years on end, it’ll definitely hinder your relationship’s ability to grow.

We’re very eager to show others how their actions affect us. Sometimes we have to think about how our actions affect them.

How do we overcome these issues?

Okay this got a little nerve wrecking, even for me. But I’m a glass half-full kinda guy, so let’s try and figure out how to deal with all this drama.

The one skill that immediately comes to my mind is communication. (You can click on that link to read my old blog post, where I speak about it in much more detail).

How can be become better communicators? Here are a few points that I think we should work on:

  • Don’t be afraid of rumbling with vulnerability.
  • Be your authentic self.
  • Watch your ego.
  • Make appointments in real life.
  • Become an active listener.

The most important aspect in my opinion is learning to be vulnerably honest. Can the 2 actually exist without each other? Can any healthy relationship exist at all without vulnerability and honesty?

We need to stop being afraid. We need to open up. We need to live through love. We need to stop judging. We need to pay more attention to the condition of our souls. We need to learn how to listen. We have to be patient and willing to both teach AND learn.

Some things are inevitable. We don’t always get to choose the situations we’re put in. But we always get to choose our reaction. Don’t victimize yourself, it’s part of your journey! It’s ultimately about trying your best.

The pain that people experience from being cheated on is traumatic. We need to pay attention to the way our decisions affect the people around us. Trust isn’t something that can be easily restored.

Choose growth. Choose resilience. Choose love. Don’t ever forget your intentions.

Better awareness – Better choices – Better results.