Curated from: Learn - shy
Infidelity is one of the most common reasons why relationships break down, and it almost feels as though there’s no escaping it — the hard truth is that we would probably encounter it or know someone who encounters it our lifetime. Amidst the mix of devastating emotions you might feel after discovering a partner has cheated on you, the big question on your mind might be “Why did they do it in the first place?”.
Why do people cheat?
According to Kelly Campbell, an Associate Professor of Psychology and Human Development at California State University, some of the main psychological factors behind cheating include:
Your lives are not intertwined. You find yourself hardly ever disclosing meaningful information to your partner, and you don’t feel vulnerable with them anymore
You see each other’s differences as flaws, instead of personality or mindset differences.
You/They have developed narcissistic tendencies. This might be made known to you if you notice that your partner has been craving more and more attention from external sources
But wait, what exactly constitutes “cheating”?
While some people consider the mere act of “liking another girl’s photo on Instagram” as a form of cheating (🙄), the different types of cheating can be classified as such:
Late-night texting, constant replying to their social media posts – it can be tough to figure out what is an innocent friendship and what is actually cheating.
Aside from the physical actions of hand-holding, making out, and more, cheating can take place emotionally if one has deep, intimate conversations on a very personal level with another, while letting the emotional connection with their own partner slip.
It differs from a platonic friendship because there definitely would be some sexual attraction and flirting involved.
While physical cheating is obvious when your partner and someone else had premeditated their actions, what happens when it comes to one-off actions such as meaningless kisses while drunk at a party?
Physical cheating can be defined as using bodily sensations to feel a connection in order to create sexual gain.
Additionally, physical and emotional cheating do not exist in their own individual boxes, but as the infidelity progresses, originally emotional cheating relationships can have physical elements to it and vice versa.
“Sort of cheating, but what we’re doing can’t be fully classified as cheating so…..”
Micro-cheating is a form of a relatively small act of emotional infidelity with a third party when one is in a committed relationship — often stemming from the micro-cheater still being unsure whether they would want to fully betray their partner, so micro-cheating allows them to test the waters and see what’s out there first. Such actions include online interactions, texting, having an added affection for one of their so-called “friends”, meeting up with their ex-partner that they might still harbour some feelings for, or going for date-like events with members of their preferred sex.
However, it is important to note that micro-cheating is often subjective, with what one might consider as full blown cheating might not even be given a bat of an eyelid to another. Therefore, it is essential that you and your partner set your boundaries and expectations when it comes to these unwritten rules.
So I’ve been cheated on. What can I do about it?
1. Remember that it was not your fault
It is easy and common for the victim to chalk up their partner’s behaviour to “if I spent more time with her, she wouldn’t have done this”, or feelings of how if you gave in more to their needs and desires, they might not have slept with someone else.
But please remember that whatever happened was completely not your fault, and the reasons your partner gave for cheating on you had nothing to do with you, but rather their own psychology.
2. Accept all the emotions that you will be feeling, including the negative ones
See it this way: the faster you let the negative emotions be released, the sooner it can help you recover from the pain. Instead of trying to fight and conceal the heartbreak, acknowledging it is the first step to take towards mending your heart.
Getting an expert opinion to help you process your emotions will also be useful, so you could consider going for therapy as well.
3. Prioritize yourself
The most important person in this situation is yourself, so indulge in a little self-care for the best vibes all around. Meet your friends, eat your favourite foods, and allocate some time for your hobbies.
It can also be tempting to stalk your ex and the third party but keep your thumbs to yourself!! Not only that, you could try giving social media a short break as well so you don’t need to continue keeping up appearances.
4. If necessary, get tested for STDs
If you feel that your partner has put your health in a compromising position, you can consider asking your partner to get an STD test, or you could get yourself tested also if you had sex with your partner prior to finding out about the infidelity.
5. Don’t make decisions out of fear
This fear can take on two spectrums, and don’t make a decision based on this that can end up backfiring on you. On one hand, when the feelings progress from the initial sadness to anger gets out of control, you may have entertained the idea of taking revenge and posting some compromising photos online. So before you even take this idea further, we’re here to tell you not to!!
And on the other hand, don’t take the fear of potentially being single push you into rushing into the next relationship.
Should I end the relationship because my partner cheated?
Ultimately, you need to be completely honest with yourself about your wants and needs in a relationship from now on, and how they have changed after this experience. When contemplating staying in or ending the relationship, ask yourself these guiding questions:
Can I truly forgive my partner? If you’re unable to, then the relationship will never be able to proceed.
Will my cheating partner ever be able to change? If you do continue the relationship, will both of you be willing to work on mending this? Your partner on changing to prevent this from happening, and if you will not constantly bring up this discrepancy every time you get into an argument in the future
Will I ever be able to trust my partner again?
Overall, we know that the experience of being cheated on will definitely be tough for the victim, and we hope that this guide helps you better process what to do from there 🤍🤍