If you’ve ever had a significant other cheat on you, you understand the hurricane of confusion and emotions that can result. We invest so much of our lives and identities into our relationships, and when we find out they are not what we thought they were, it can feel like the foundation of your life has dropped out from below your feet. We want to know why our partner has done what they’ve done, and what to do about it, but because we are overwhelmed with powerful emotions, rarely do we ever find the answers we seek. Consider the following insight from Whitestone:
Why Did Your Partner Cheat?
Depending on the nature of your relationship, there are many different possible answers to the question. In this blog post we cant tell you why your partner cheated, but we can give you advice and resources that can help you find the answer. Lets start by considering this video from The School of Life:
The Path to Understanding
“When it comes to affairs, we spend far too long being incensed or secretive, and far too little time trying to understand”
When you’ve been cheated on by your partner, you’re experiencing powerful feelings of betrayal. Its human nature to respond to those feelings defensively, and we often do this by labeling ourselves and our significant other. We consider ourselves ‘victims’, and our S.O. a ‘perpetrator’. These labels are not necessarily unjust or unwarranted, but they also aren’t necessarily healthy or helpful to achieving understanding and peace of mind. It’s easy to believe that the actions of your cheating spouse stem from them being simply immoral, and though sometimes this is true, generally it isn’t. It can be extraordinarily difficult to find and face the real reasons behind your partners actions, and so we will often turn to simple explanations as a way to avoid the long hard process of finding and facing the truth.
If you truly want to understand why your partner cheated, you need to approach an analysis of their motivations and behavior without these labels. If you accept the belief that your partner is immoral, you will bend your understanding to suit your judgement, instead of basing your judgement off of understanding.
For Those Who Need Closeness
Going to bed with a new person might not be simply about lust, it’s about escaping the alarming feeling that ones whole identity appears to be on the verge of dissolving into the couple
It’s important to note the presence of the word ‘might’ in the above quote. While we are trying to steer you away from casting simple, easy judgments concerning the behavior of a cheating partner, that doesn’t make them false! Its simply the case that they are most often not true, and even when they are, they are far from comprehensive explanations. You might believe your partner cheated because of immoral promiscuity, and this may be true, but that answer does nothing for understanding. It simply means that now we have to ask why they are promiscuous.
When a person feels submerged or drowning in a relationship, without any space to be themselves, by themselves, for themselves; they lose a sense of identity. This gradual loss of our sense of personal identity feels like slowly dying, and in the throes of this ‘death’, we lash out in order to remember what it’s like to feel alive.
Consider a stay-at-home mom taking care of new twins, and a dad working 10-12 hour days to support the family. Both of these people were once their own people, but with kids, a mortgage, and car payments, they belong to others. Mom wakes up every morning, and from sun-up to sun-down, her thoughts are focused on what is best for the kids, not herself. Dad is the same, dedicating his life not to what is best for him, but for the family. In both of these cases, who we are as individuals is slowly eroded by who we are with respect to our roles in our relationships, in this case the family. We need time to be ourselves, and see our personal identity reflected in the eyes of another. Mom and Dad need to see each other as “Meagan” and “Austin”, but if all they ever get from each other is a reflection of their family role, the need to get validation of our identity from others grows until a boiling point is achieved, and infidelity occurs.
For Those Who Need Distance
We might end up having an affair not because we don’t love the partner anymore, but because we do.
This is a perfect example of how accepting an easy judgement can inhibit proper understanding of why a cheating partner cheats. When one partner has a high need for distance, and the other a high need for closeness, the one that needs to be close must find a source of intimacy in order to achieve peace of mind. Its easy to come to the conclusion that a cheating partner doesn’t love you anymore, but that doesn’t make it true!
Have you had a wife, husband, or partner of any kind cheat on you? In the state of confusion and emotional upheaval you’re experiencing, it’s extremely temping to cling to simple explanations as a way of dealing with stress and anxiety stemming from confusion. While easy, rarely are these explanations true, helpful, or conducive to peace of mind.
The fact is that nobody is capable of dealing with feelings this strong alone, and doing so can have long-lasting negative effects on your life. This pain and confusion isn’t going to be over quickly or easily, but it can be made quicker and easier with the right help. For that help, we recommend you get in touch with Whitestone.