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"Once a Cheater..."
“...Always a cheater?” as the saying goes. But oh no, not this time. I am a reformed ‘cheater’ and it’s time to wipe the slate clean for other former cheaters out there. Of course I am not advocating having an affair, nor saying it is, by any means, acceptable. What I am saying, is that we can learn from our mistakes and turn our lives around after doing something wrong. It seems rather harsh to brand people “once a cheater, always a cheater”…
For starters, it is not that simple. There are a myriad of factors that cause people (including me) to cheat in the first place, and the motto fails to recognise this complexity, never mind predicting the possibility of betraying again.
As a victim of infidelity as well as being guilty of it myself, I have had time to think about the deeper psychology and here are my reasonings and reflections on cheating:
- I felt sorry for myself and blamed my boyfriend for feeling unfulfilled. We were arguing, having sex less, and he didn’t seem to want to spend quality time together. In retrospect there were other things going on for both of us and pressures on the relationship which should have been discussed. Always remember that a relationship is a team effort and it is never one person to blame.
- It was the ‘perfect storm.’ Too much alcohol, too many stimulating factors, and not enough boundaries, I found myself in a situation I never imagined I would, with a person I never imagined I would. My relationship could not compete with a fantasy, a spark of lust. It comes down to the fact that sexual attraction is not love, and love is based on more than just a physical desire.
- I thought he was doing it. This, the ultimate insecurity, is not a reason in itself, rather the result of trust issues from previous relationships coming out to play. Feeling inadequate and jealous are traits that will only push someone away. Talk it out. Counselling sessions really help combat these emotions head on.
So, there you have it. I wallowed for weeks and went around in circles, but once I had accepted these reasonings, and really spoke to my boyfriend at the time about it (I’m not saying this was easy, or quick) we were able to move on. Of course, trust has to be rebuilt and this takes time. But things trip you up in life and I am proof that you can learn and move on.
Every relationship is different and often infidelity is a sign that things are not right, which is something I have learnt from previous partners. The more people cheat, the more likely they are to become dissociated from the act, and the emotional reaction within them reduces each time. So, beware the serial cheaters.
There is never a sufficient explanation why someone is unfaithful, yet, if something is worth fighting for, and working through together, you can both allow yourself to learn from the experience and, if you both want it, save the relationship.
I cheated, learnt from it, and will most definitely not be doing it again. Perhaps some of us can be called “Once a cheater… Reformed.”