Are you listening to all the stories about how your friends got cheated on?
Are you fearful of the same terrible scenario happening to you?
While we can’t force this from going away, there are some key elements to understanding why it happens in the first place and what we can do to stack the deck in our favor.
Both men and women cheat on their spouses; don’t think it’s just one-sided. Whether you’re a young couple or have been married for decades with children, there is going to be the possibility for your partner to stray—and it’s always the most surprising to hear when it is coming from the married couple of 30 years (yes, I’ve seen it).
So what the hell are we to do? Is a relationship just naturally doomed to result in promiscuity? Are we all bound to be cheated on?
Thankfully, no, we are not all going to have to experience that situation, but someone you know will or has already experienced the pain of finding out their loved one went behind their back—and we can learn from them.
While I can’t make this article into a book (just yet), let’s talk about a few of the key reasons why cheating happens in the first place, some of the signs a relationship is slipping, and what we should all do, whether we are in a relationship or not.
We know that women typically cheat based on emotional needs and men cheat based on physical needs. This isn’t the case for everyone, but it is a pattern among the sexes.
When distance becomes the norm in a relationship, a woman will have a deficit in her need for an emotional connection and begin wondering if her partner is compatible. If a man feels distance from his woman on a sexual basis, he will begin seeking someone who will fulfill his appetites. Sometimes it really is that simple, but the events leading up to distance can be complex.
Distance from Constant Arguing
For women, the emotional connection in a relationship is paramount. She needs to feel like she can express herself around someone she is comfortable with and not be pushed into coming up with an equation-like solution or answer.
Often, guys will screw up by being too abrasive and sharp in the beginning of a conversation, wanting a finalized answer right away, or overanalyzing and not giving her time to think and feel. That masculine need for analytical thinking often pushes women away, making a small amount of distance. If this type of situation happens far too often with conversations, then both people will act like opposite ends of a battery and start to push each other away instead of coming close.
Men, when you have a conversation with a women, try to be open to the fact that you won’t solve everything right at that moment. Sometimes she needs to sleep on it, or perhaps she doesn’t quite feel ready to open herself up to you—that’s fine. A woman will come close when she is ready and seek mystery or privacy when she isn’t.
Don’t force her to overanalyze a discussion with you; just relax and gauge whether the matter needs a sense of urgency or not. If it does, then maybe you should just do it already and report back to her after.
If it isn’t life-or-death, then calm down and stop pushing and let her come back to the topic when she is ready. She will always want to feel a solution rather than using your words and concepts.
Women, it’s okay to be inside of a man’s box of details and concepts, as long as you are not walking away. He likes to think inside a safe box with sides that protects ideas and makes sure nothing is lost or misplaced. His analytical mind can take a concept to its end and beat it with a stick.
Sometimes, you can let his mind run and just let him go, let him feel heard so he doesn’t think he is going crazy. When he exhausts himself, as he will eventually do, just step in and ask to continue the matter in a bit. He will be okay knowing he said his piece, and you can move on to what you were doing.
Make sure he feels heard.
Distance from Affection
Couples who have been together for long periods of time will eventually become good roommates. They have their routine—either work, children, or both—and the time for relationship development becomes a low priority.
Couples assume that they’ve been together long enough and they don’t have to worry about that whole relationship development thing. Wrong. If anything, the more you are around someone and the longer you are together, the more work that’s required to keep things fresh and worth living through.
We assume far too often that our human is ours and no one else’s. But our minds seek novelty, variety, and constant refreshing.
She will always need you to show her she is your priority. He will always need you to give him attention to make sure you are still attracted.
When our loved ones drop the ball and let life take over for too long, there will be an attention deficit disorder. A woman will need to be held and touched; a man will need to be reminded he is still your man and can get your rocks off.
Make time for each other no matter what. You’re lovers first.
Go out and have date nights for the rest of your life. When spending time at home, make sure you are in the same room. And, for God’s sake, touch each other regularly. Men, feel her hair, hold her tight and squeeze, compliment her. For women, make sure your man is sexually fulfilled. Remember to offer your partner what they want, what they need—and sometimes just tell them to take their clothes off.
Distance from Work
Work-related distance will cause an emotional gap between two people. When a job puts you out in the world and away from the loving embrace of your partner, there can, and most likely will, be a strain on the emotional availability of the relationship. We want our loved ones to be as near as possible, and we need our loved ones to at least be mentally and emotionally connected if being there physically is not possible.
When one partner has to be away for work, the distance between two people will leave them wanting more, and it will cause the person left behind to wonder if they can do better.
Not being there for someone, not being in their life when they need you, can lead to a type of separation anxiety often relieved by the company of other people. We are often too preoccupied with work that we don’t even sense when the other person is asking for affection, or trying to explain what they need. And when work is stressful, the last thing we want to do is come home to a stressful environment that demands more work on our part.
While we can’t always choose our job or where our job puts us, we can choose to be more involved in family and relationship matters, thanks to technology. For those of you who travel throughout the week and are home only on weekends, make sure you text, call, and FaceTime whenever you can. Try to start and end the day by checking in back home, and send loving texts throughout the day. A short, “Can’t wait to be in your arms again,” can go a long way and only takes a minute.
When you finally get back home, you have to do even more work to make it count. That means taking extra steps to say I love you, need you, and care about you. Excelling at your job and helping pay the bills says very little to how much you care about someone.
Rocky Roads: Having a Shaky Start
Relationship hopping breeds bad relationships. When we don’t make time for self-development, we will attract a reflection of ourselves—often that means someone who is just as needy, stressed, depressed, unstable, or substance-addicted as we are.
Whether you have one or all of those qualities, you can be sure that you are going to attract a similar natured person. Imagine your sh*t times two in one relationship.
We tend to think that someone in our life will save us, but it just isn’t the case. Relationships are hard, and they require constant work, and the complexity they add to your life should mean you are able to take on the duty of one. Like having a child, you should be prepared mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually before seeking the next love of your life. If you don’t, if you rush into someone thinking that they are your savior, you will be sadly disappointed when you are either a) disappointed and seek someone else, or b) become let down when they realize you aren’t their best selection either.
Take time before wanting—even letting—someone else in your life.
Begin to understand my three questions: Who are you? What are you all about? How much can you endure?
Get your head right, figure out your passion, and actually develop that passion. Make sure you have gone far enough into deconstructing how you feel about life after death, if karma exists, and whether you want to go to a church or not. Ask yourself big questions about family, your relationship with yours, and if you want your own in the future. Double check to make sure your past is resolved enough to the point where you don’t have those night terrors anymore.
How do you know when self-development is far enough along and you should start dating again? When you are content and at peace with being single. When months have gone by and you haven’t even thought about dating or hooking up, and when if someone comes along it would be nice—but you aren’t too worried about it.
Being cool and collected with yourself is the best feeling next to a complete union with another human, but you can’t have one without the other. We can’t have that amazing relationship unless we are stable, solid, and self-aware.
Don’t let someone have your past burdens and don’t take on another’s—that’s not what a relationship means. A complete and whole relationship means you take on the burdens that you make together.
You Got Cheated On
I’m so sorry you had to go through the gripping pain of infidelity. Something has been taken from you, and now relationships are like walking on ice. Perhaps you try to fix and mend the broken trust. I wish you the best. In my experience, when this trust has been broken by just one of the two people, it can’t be fixed. If it was broken by both of you, consider it over without chance of repair.
People will try to justify being single forever after they’ve been cheated on. There needs to be a bit of tough love when it comes to helping someone get back on their feet after the worst has happened.
Everyone has had their heart broken. Move on, and start reorganizing your values and develop yourself more. Not everyone is going to cheat, and as soon as you realize that, you will open the doors to more potential soulmates.
In the end nothing, can prevent someone else from being unfaithful. But there are key foundational things you can work on to make sure your relationship has the best chance of survival, or the best starting points.
When worse comes to worst and it happens to you, the tools of self-development will also give you stability to not hit rock bottom. Getting to know who you are before the relationship takes place is the safest thing to rely on. Then you know what type of relationship you actually want to be in—and then you create it.
We don’t just give up on love, because it’s the one thing in life that can bring us closer to a divine expression.
The problems of heartache usually stem from an incorrect definition of where love should come from. We get enthralled with someone else and start to forget that love ultimately comes from within us. Our heart is the first heart to take care of, and our soul is the first one to connect with.
After enough self-love, self-confidence, and self-reliance—and the ability to generate those qualities at will—we can appreciate someone else for their unique differences, perspectives, and experiences.
When you can see and appreciate differences in someone else, along with the common interests, you have two souls that can make for a complete and whole life-long relationship.