21 Mar Cheating and how to deal with it
Trust is so important when you’re in a committed relationship. It’s the foundation of all successful partnerships and without it you will struggle. Betrayal will decimate a relationship in one fell swoop as once you know what they are capable of you will never be able to fully trust your partner again.
For some betrayal is an automatic red card and no matter what the circumstances they will end the relationship for good. For others it is not as black and white and it can be salvageable however the foundations will never be as strong. Maybe there are kids involved or the financial situation makes it too hard to separate. Fear of the unknown is a big reason for couples to try to make it work especially their self confidence is low and being single is too overwhelming.
Stephanie entered the Big Brother house with a boyfriend on the outside world. It was public knowledge and appeared to be a happy union with a bright future as they had plans for a family together.
However as soon as she entered the house sparks started to fly between her and Jeremy. There was an obvious attraction on both sides and the UK watched on as playful banter progressed to flirtation and cuddling and finally to kissing under the duvet! Stephanie was clearly in turmoil as she battled her emotions and tried to work out whether she should follow her heart or stay faithful to her boyfriend. However the public appeared to turn against her and to top it all her housemates were certainly up in arms that she was cheating on her boyfriend.
Ultimately cheating is wrong. It is disrespectful and unkind. It is a violation of your tacit agreement to care and look after each other. It is extremely hurtful and it can have the ripple effect of causing on-going pain in the form of lack of self-confidence and low self-esteem for many years to come, and in some cases, if not dealt with properly, for a lifetime. The right thing to do would be to end your current relationship before embarking on a new one. It’s not doing the right thing to have your cake and eat it. If you’re not happy address it with your partner with the aim to fixing it, or leave. Don’t be a coward.
However one thing I have learned from seeing many clients over the years is that you need to walk a mile in their shoes and see the world from their perspective before you can make a judgement about whether their behaviour is acceptable or not. Whatever you may assume it may not be the whole truth or the real story behind the scenes. I can say this as I know what it is like to be cheated on as I have experienced it myself. Whilst you may expect me to always condone cheating having been the victim of it I believe that it really does depend on the individual and what the real truth of the situation is. Sometimes we will never know and we certainly can’t judge from what we see on at TV show.
Stephanie was obviously struggling with her feelings for Jeremy and as time went on it became apparent that her relationship with her boyfriend was not the ‘oh so perfect’ union we were led to believe. It was alleged that he had cheated on her before and whilst they had patched things up she was clearly still feeling very insecure.
If you are happy and fulfilled in your relationship you will not cheat. Of course there will be ups and downs to navigate together and this is normal. You do need to work at keeping things on track with your partner so good communication is key. My top tips for keeping your relationship healthy are:
- Don’t let problems fester – deal with them immediately
- Keep the fun alive by doing things that make you laugh together
- Spend quality time together – date nights sound cheesy and you don’t have to go out but make sure you have alone time to be a couple
- Watch how your partner shows you that they love you and reciprocate in the same way. For example if they tell you that they love you a lot then this is how they know they feel loved too. You may show your love with gifts or touch but it will mean more to them if you reflect their language of love back to them.
There are lots of reasons why people cheat and it is up to you to make up your mind what is right for you based on your values, beliefs and circumstances. However powerless you may feel you do have options to consider:
- You can work to improve your relationship and give it a second chance
- You can leave immediately
- You can bide your time whilst you get your ducks in a line to leave on your terms
However if you do find yourself in the situation that your partner has cheated and you are unsure how to move forward then here are my tips for what to do:
- Take some time out from the relationship to consider what you really want
- Don’t feel pressured to respond to messages or speak to your partner until you are ready
- Crying is part of your healing process so don’t stuff down negative emotions
- Set up a team of family and friends who will give you positive and helpful advice. Be aware that some are well meaning but may be too emotionally involved to give you the best support.
- Write a list of everything that you are unhappy about in the relationship. Take off the rose tinted glasses and be honest. Take some time to consider whether you are prepared to go back to the relationship or whether you deserve better.
Stephanie jumped straight into a relationship with Jeremy without taking the time to understand what wasn’t working with her ex and whether Jeremy was exactly what she needed. It may be that she is lucky and they are well suited, or it could be that she has jumped from the frying pan into the fire. Who knows? Time will tell for sure.
Remember that you can design your life the way you want it. You are responsible for your own happiness so make sure that you are in control of your life. If your relationship isn’t working for you then it may be wise to take some time being single while you figure out what went wrong and why. If you can learn from your lessons and decide what you truly want, it will prevent you from making the same mistakes again. This way you are more likely to feel secure in your next relationship and know that you have made the right decision to be with them.