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Cheating In A Relationship - The Lies, The Secrets, The Pain

The complexity involved in cheating in a relationship always inflict pain on the aggrieved party, particular on married people. Explore the ways to navigate the challenges that arise when infidelity occurs within a partnership. Find out if there’s a potential for healing and rebuilding trust.

Jaya Mckeown
Jul 25, 2023215 Shares107279 Views
Cheating in a relationshipis an emotionally charged and sensitive topic that often evokes feelings of betrayal, hurt, and mistrust.
While infidelity has been a part of human relationships throughout history, the dynamics and consequences associated with cheating have evolved in the modern era.
Advances in technology, changes in societal norms, and evolving perspectives on relationships have further complicated the understanding and impact of cheating.
This topic delves into the various aspects of cheating in a relationship, including its causes and consequences.

Staying Together After Cheating | Couples Can Survive Infidelity

What Does Infidelity Mean?

Infidelity - also known as cheating in a relationship - refers to the act of being unfaithful or disloyal to a committed romantic partner or spouse.
It involves:
  • engaging in intimate or sexual activities with someone outside of the established relationship
  • breaching the agreed-upon expectations of exclusivity and trust
Infidelity can occur in various forms, including:
a. Physical affairs
Physical infidelity typically involves engaging in sexual acts, ranging from kissing to sexual intercourse, with someone other than one’s partner.
b. Emotional affairs
Emotional infidelity, on the other hand, involves forming a deep emotional connection with someone outside the relationship.
This often leads to emotional intimacy, with one party:
  • sharing personal thoughts and feelings...
  • seeking support or companionship. . .
. . . to/from the person who is not the partner.
Cheating in a relationship can also be a combination of both physical and emotional infidelity.
Infidelity can have significant emotional, psychological, and relational consequences for all parties involved.
The impact and perception of cheating in a relationship vary across:
  • cultures
  • individuals
  • relationship dynamics
However, infidelity is generally regarded as:
  • a betrayal of trust
  • a violation of the established boundaries within a committed partnership
The reasons for cheating in a relationship are complex and multifaceted. Some common factors that may contribute to infidelity include:
a. Dissatisfaction
A person may feel unsatisfied with their current relationship, whether it’s due to:
  • a lack of emotional connection
  • sexual dissatisfaction
  • general unhappiness within the partnership
b. Opportunity
Being exposed to situations or individuals who present attractive alternatives can create temptation and increase the likelihood of engaging in infidelity.
c. Emotional needs
If one partner feels emotionally neglected or unfulfilled, they may seek emotional support and validation from someone outside the relationship.
d. Lack of communication
Poor communication within a relationship can lead to:
  • unaddressed issues
  • unmet needs
  • a breakdown of emotional intimacy. . .
. . . potentially driving individuals to seek connection elsewhere.
The consequences of infidelity or cheating in a relationship can be devastating, often leading to:
  • broken trust
  • emotional pain
  • relationship breakdown
However, some couples are able to work through the aftermath of infidelity with:
  • counseling
  • open communication
  • a commitment to rebuilding trust
Healing from cheating in a relationship is a challenging process that requires the willingness of both partners:
  • to address the underlying issues
  • to forgive
  • to rebuild the relationship on a foundation of renewed trust
Still, remember that not all relationships define infidelity in the same way, and boundaries around exclusivity and monogamy can vary.
Some relationships may embrace non-monogamy or consensual non-exclusivity, where partners engage in relationships or sexual encounters with others with mutual consent and openness.
Remember:Communication and agreement on expectations and boundaries are essential in establishing the rules and guidelines for a healthy and consensual relationship.

Infidelity VS. Adultery

Basically, infidelity is when someone in a relationship - that is, regardless of whether the couple concerned are married or not - cheats with his/her partner (boyfriend/girlfriend) or spouse (husband/wife).
Adultery is fundamentally when a married person cheats by engaging in a sexual intercourse - regardless if it only happened once - with another person.
That said, adultery is a form of infidelity. It’s cheating in a relationship.
In addition, that also explains why a legally married person having sex with someone other than his/her legal spouse is committing extramarital sex and is said to be having an extramarital affair.
The term “extramarital” means “occurring outside marriage.”
The left hands of the bride and groom, with their wedding bands
The left hands of the bride and groom, with their wedding bands

What Are Considered Cheating In A Relationship?

As mentioned earlier, cheating in a relationship can either be physical (can lead to sexual infidelity) or emotional (or both).
While the definition of cheating or infidelity may vary between individuals and cultural norms, some common forms of cheating include:
a. Online or virtual cheating
Engaging in intimate conversations, flirting, sexting, or exchanging explicit content with someone online or through electronic means.
b. Secretive behavior
Engaging in activities or maintaining relationships that you deliberately hide from your partner, such as:
  • meeting someone in secret
  • lying about your whereabouts
  • keeping communication and interactions with another person hidden
c. Intimate betrayal
Similar to physical intimacy, engaging in non-sexual physical acts of affection (e.g., holding hands) with someone other than your partner can be considered cheating in a relationship.
d. Excessive emotional investment
Spending excessive time, energy, or emotional investment in a relationship with someone else, taking away from the emotional connection and commitment to your partner.
e. Financial infidelity
Secretly and dishonestly managing finances, incurring significant debts, or making financial commitments without the knowledge or consent of your partner.
Remember:Different people and relationships have different boundaries and definitions of what constitutes cheating.
Therefore, partners must have open and honest communication about their expectations, boundaries, and what they consider to be cheating to establish a healthy and mutually respectful relationship.
A black woman with glasses sitting on the floor with her back against the bed and crying
A black woman with glasses sitting on the floor with her back against the bed and crying

Signs Of Cheating In A Relationship

Infidelity can have various signs or indicators.
It is always best to communicate openly and honestly with your partner if you have concerns.
Here are some possible signs of cheating in a relationship:
a. Changes in behavior and routine
A sudden alteration in habits, routines, or interests can be a sign of infidelity.
For instance, your partner may become:
  • distant
  • secretive
  • start spending more time away from home without a reasonable explanation
b. Emotional distance
These things could indicate cheating in a relationship:
  • your partner becomes emotionally distant
  • shows a lack of interest in your life
  • withdraws from intimacy
They may seem preoccupied or less affectionate than usual.
c. Increased secrecy
Secrecy and a desire for privacy are common signs.
Your partner might:
  • guard their phone or computer more closely
  • change passwords
  • avoid discussing certain topics they were open about before
d. Unexplained expenses
Cheating in a relationship can involve financial resources, such as spending money on hotels, dinners, gifts, or trips.
If you notice unexplained or unusual expenses on credit card statements or bank accounts, it may raise suspicions.
e. Decreased sexual intimacy
Infidelity can lead to a decline in sexual activity within the relationship.
Your partner may:
  • display a lack of interest or engagement
  • show unusual sexual behavior that differs from their typical patterns
f. Guilt or defensiveness
Your partner might be trying to hide something from you if they:
  • display signs of guilt
  • suddenly become defensiveness
  • become easily angered or defensive when you ask questions about their activities or whereabouts
g. Changes in appearance
Another factor that can be a sign of cheating in a relationship is your partner’s sudden change in:
  • appearance
  • grooming habits
  • style
Your partner may be dressing differently or paying more attention to their physical appearance to impress someone else.
h. Unavailability and unexplained absences
It could also be a sign of infidelity if your partner frequently:
  • becomes unavailable
  • cancels plans at the last minute without a valid reason
  • offers vague explanations for their absences
Remember:All these signs (or some of it) can be caused by factors other than cheating in a relationship.
A cheating husband standing right next to a plant near the main door of his house and calling his mistress
A cheating husband standing right next to a plant near the main door of his house and calling his mistress

Psychology Behind Cheating And Lying

Infidelity is a complex phenomenon with various psychological factors at play.
In his 2021 article for Psychology Today, relationship expert, psychology professor, and author Gary W. Lewandowski Jr., Ph.D. identified the following six reasons why people cheat:
angerlow commitment
lack of lovethey “want to be discovered”
Regarding the sixth reason (“want to be discovered”), Dr. Lewandowski Jr. surmised that there could be cheaters who are “intentionally” careless with their sordid affairs.
What could be the reason? He wrote:
Clearly, these individuals weren’t as concerned about getting caught and may have even wanted to get caught (i.e., the affair was an exit strategy).- Gary W. Lewandowski Jr., Ph.D.
Understanding the psychology behind cheating in a relationship can shed light on some of the underlying motives and reasons why individuals may engage in such behavior.
Here are some key psychological factors that contribute to infidelity:
a. Desire for novelty and excitement
Humans have a natural inclination for novelty and excitement. Some individuals may seek these experiences outside of their primary relationship.
The thrill of a new relationship can be enticing and provide a temporary escape from the routine and familiarity of a long-term partnership.
b. Emotional dissatisfaction
Emotional dissatisfaction within a relationship can be a significant factor behind cheating in a relationship.
Individuals may seek emotional support, validation, or intimacy from someone else if they feel:
  • emotionally disconnected
  • neglected
  • unfulfilled within their current relationship
c. Sexual dissatisfaction
Sexual incompatibility or dissatisfaction can also contribute to infidelity.
If an individual feels their sexual needs are not being met within their primary relationship, they may seek sexual fulfillment elsewhere.
d. Low relationship satisfaction
When individuals are unhappy or dissatisfied with their current relationship, they may be more inclined to cheat.
It can be a way to seek fulfillment, excitement, or validation that they feel is lacking in their current partnership.
e. Lack of commitment
People who have a lower level of commitment to their relationships may be more likely to engage in infidelity.
Cheating in a relationship could be inevitable for individuals who have:
  • a fear of commitment
  • difficulty with monogamy
  • a belief that they are entitled to pursue multiple partners
In that case, they may be more prone to infidelity.
f. Impulse and self-control
Some individuals may struggle with impulse control, making it more challenging for them to:
  • resist temptations
  • act in line with their commitments
This can lead to impulsive decisions to cheat without fully considering the consequences.
g. Relationship dissatisfaction or instability
Cheating in a relationship can sometimes be a response to underlying relationship problems, such as:
  • unresolved conflicts
  • communication breakdowns
  • general relationship dissatisfaction
Instead of addressing these issues directly, some individuals may turn to infidelity as a way to cope or express their discontent - or frustration.
In her 2021 article for The International Psychology Clinic, its CEO and founder Dr. Martina Paglia, a London-based clinical and counseling psychologist, mentioned another reason why people cheat, according to different psychologists:
Cheating can be regarded as an outlet for frustration.- Dr. Martina Paglia
Remember:Reasons behind cheating in a relationship can vary significantly from person to person. Also, not all individuals who experience these factors will engage in infidelity.
Psychological factors interact with individual personalities, values, and life circumstances, making each case unique.
Brad Pitt in ‘Mr. & Mrs. Smith;’ Kristen Stewart in ‘Snow White and the Huntsman;’ Tiger Woods
Brad Pitt in ‘Mr. & Mrs. Smith;’ Kristen Stewart in ‘Snow White and the Huntsman;’ Tiger Woods

Celebrities Who Cheated On Their Partners

Being human beings - more gorgeous than most common people, though - celebrities are not exempted when it comes to cheating in a relationship.
Celebrities who got cheated on recently included the lovely Natalie Portman.
PEOPLE reported that her French husband, dancer and choreographer Benjamin Millepied, had a “short-lived” affair.
According to The Things, per French magazine Voici, Millepied, 46, had an extramarital affair with Belgian actress Pauline Etienne, 34.
Portman and Millepied got married in 2012. They have two children: Aleph, 12; and Amalia, 6.
The good news is that the celebrity couple are working to fix their marriage.
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This video is unavailable
When it comes to cheating in a relationship in the world of Hollywood, one of the biggest cheating celebrities was Brad Pitt.
It was rumored that while still married to Jennifer Aniston, Pitt started a relationship with co-star Angelina Jolie while they were filming Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005).
Below is a list of other celebrities who cheated on their partners (note: except for Grant-Hurley and Pattinson-Stewart, all celebrities mentioned are/were married to each other):
Cheating CelebritiesWho They Cheated?
Ashton KutcherDemi Moore
Ben AffleckJennifer Garner
Gavin RossdaleGwen Stefani
Hugh GrantElizabeth Hurley
Jada Pinkett SmithWill Smith (still together)
Jay-ZBeyoncé (still together)
Jesse James (TV host)Sandra Bullock
Jude LawSienna Miller
Kristen StewartRobert Pattinson
Tiger WoodsElin Nordegren (model)

People Also Ask

Who Is Prone To Cheating?

According to Canadian private investigator Discreet Investigations and Securities, the Institute for Family Studies (IFS) conducted a survey from 2010 to 2016 about cheating in a relationship.
The result of that survey revealed that:
  • married men (20 percent) tends to cheat more…
  • …than married women (13 percent)

How Do You Catch Someone Cheating?

These tips on how to catch someone cheating come from personal investigator David Muguercia and published by Aguilera Law Center:
  • Check closets and clothes (particularly the pockets) and look for anything suspicious (e.g., condoms).
  • Put a bug device under the car seats (could be illegal in some states; check first).
  • Put a GPS device on the vehicle (allowed by the law for legally married couples only).
  • Hire a private investigator.

Should You Forgive Infidelity Or Not?

Forgiving your cheating partner is a good option, and healing will come with the passage of time, according to psychotherapist Dr. Barton Goldsmith.
Still, in his article for Psychology Today, he advised not to forgive the one who cheated on you if he/she “will not apologize or take responsibility.”

Final Thoughts

Cheating in a relationship basically refers to a kind of dishonest act of one partner engaging in intimate or sexual interactions outside the established boundaries of a committed relationship.
Jumping to conclusions without evidence or having a conversation can potentially harm the relationship.
Therefore, once you suspect cheating in a relationship, engage in open and honest communication with your partner and address any concerns or suspicions you may have.
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