Cheating is all about the sex, right? Wrong! Although sex is certainly one reason, there are many others. Here are five scenarios that could lead to cheating:
- Stress level at work and home: You’re stressed out at work. Your boss is demanding more and more and you’re buckling from the strain. Your wife is complaining because you’re always working and she’s overloaded at home. Your kids are unhappy because they never see you. On a business trip, you meet a nice lady with whom you have a heart-to-heart talk. You let down and unload your burdens; she’s sweet and understanding. Vulnerable and in need of relief, you give in to temptation. You didn’t mean for it to happen.
- Age: Mid-life is common. Looking in the mirror one day, you see someone you don’t recognize–an aging man with wrinkles and graying hair. You’ve been with your wife for twenty years; the spark is long gone. With life flying by, you’re scared you’ll die a bored old man. A secretary at the office has shown interest. Flattered by the attention, you think…what the hell. A one time thrill won’t hurt. One time leads to another and another. You’re addicted.
- Personal emptiness: You feel empty and depressed. Your relationship is groundhog day…stagnant and boring. It’s easy to blame your partner. If only he were more exciting, you think, things would be fine. Your personal trainer at the gym is sexy and a flirt. Explaining exercises, he touches you; his hands lingering a little too long. His touch makes you feel excited and alive. After your workout one day, you ask him out for a drink. Many drinks later, you go home with him. Temporarily, the emptiness is filled.
- Revenge: Your partner is a colossal flirt. At social gatherings, he ignores you and shamelessly flirts with other women. You’ve told him his behavior embarrasses and hurts you and have asked him to stop. He gets indignant and claims it’s all innocent fun. But you suspect he’s taken his seductive behavior to another level–that he’s having an affair. Your sexy gardener is working without a shirt. It’s hot. “Come in for some lemonade,” you say. One thing leads to another, and you head off to the bedroom. Why not? Revenge is sweet. At least for a little while.
- Just plain curiosity: You’ve been with your wife for fifteen years. She was your first and only sexual partner. Although you love your wife and you have a good relationship, you can’t help but wonder what sex would be like with someone else. You and an office peer have become good friends. She’s touchy and complimentary, and has hinted that she would go for more. Your curiosity gets the better of you.
Cheating is never a good choice. If something is troubling you about your relationship, bring it to light. Have deep honest talks with your partner to see if you can work it out. Sneaking around will bring more problems and complications than you ever imagined.
If you’re thinking about cheating, beware. The grass is not always greener. Others can look really good when it’s all sparkly and new. But the newness inevitably wears off, the heat subsides, and you’re left with reality, which may not be what you bargained for. You might even realize that what you had with your partner wasn’t so bad after all. The problem was, you didn’t appreciate it. And that could be one of the greatest lessons that comes out of your situation. Hopefully it won’t be too late.
Check out my book, The Affair: From Breakdown to Breakthrough, A Therapist’s Real-life Journey, to learn how my husband and I got through our crisis and made our bond ever stronger. You can buy it on Kindle worldwide from all Amazon websites, including www.amazon.com