Cheating in a relationship can cause immense pain and betrayal for all parties involved. It can erode trust, lead to feelings of worthlessness, and ultimately shatter the foundation of the relationship. But these negative outcomes haven't made cheating less common.
Why People Cheat
Sadly, this seems to be a widespread issue as More than half (54%) of Americans who have ever been in a monogamous relationship say they have been cheated on — either physically, emotionally, or both.
According to Dr. Cortney S. Warren, Ph.D., ABPP, Board Certified Clinical Psychologist, and author of the forthcoming book, Letting Go of Your Ex. People may cheat for the following reasons:
- Unique opportunity or circumstance in which someone interesting comes into their life and sparks interest. For example, being on vacation, meeting a new person at work, experiencing a traumatic experience, and meeting someone else who understands because they’re going through something similar.
- Looking for the high that comes with “newness” or the “thrill of the hunt” for someone new.
- Unresolved issues from childhood lead them to struggle with intimacy. For example, meaningful romantic relationships generally require closeness, companionship, and attachment; if that’s painful or scary for someone, they may be more likely to cheat to cope with their fear.
- Anger or vengeance directed at a partner for a perceived transgression.
- Lack of commitment to the current partner or an internal desire to end their relationship without honestly communicating.
- Lack of desire for their current mate.
- Having a “grass is greener” mentality when there are difficult times with their partner—the perception that someone else out there is better, can appreciate them more, or offer them a better life.
- To boost their self-esteem and prove to themselves that they can still meet people.
- Falling out of love or realizing that their partner is not a good fit, and they don’t want to confront that reality directly.
If you are a person who tends to stray in your relationship, here are practical steps to take to help you stop cheating on your boyfriend.
Ways To Stop Cheating or Thinking About Cheating on Your Boyfriend
Maybe you are someone who is caught up in a web of lies and secret affairs. Perhaps you know the only way to sustain a loving and healthy relationship with your partner is by being honest.
But knowing it won't actually help you immediately fix things. Time, effort, and a lot of self-reflection may need to go into this. Don't know how to stop cheating on your wife, husband, or partner? Here are a few ways to stop cheating and even thinking about cheating:
1. Find Out Why
One way to prevent cheating again is to understand your motivations for cheating can be a crucial step toward overcoming your inclination to do so. It will aid in the introspection and resolution of any personal or relational difficulties at the root of your infidelity.
Self-reflection can help you understand your triggers and motivations, which can then be addressed by developing healthy coping skills or changing your behavior. You can create a more successful plan to stop cheating in the future by developing a deeper awareness of your motivations for doing so.
2. Come Clean
Communicate your emotions, goals, and future plans openly and honestly with your partner. It's essential to listen to your partner and figure out how to address their issues. If at all possible, be open and honest with your partner about your actions, where you go, and what you talk about.
Some couples have found it helpful to cease protecting their devices with passwords and instead share access with their significant others. The point is to not hide anything from each other.
3. Have The Two PS
Recovery will go more smoothly if you are persistent and patient. Accept them! Remember that you and your partner will need time to recover from the hurt caused by infidelity. The pace of this procedure can sometimes be excruciating. However, the connection might be salvaged if you are patient and consistent in your efforts to make amends.
Your partner's trust in you won't be restored instantly. Realize there are repercussions for betraying trust. Some people's reactions to pain are unpleasant, yet you may have to endure them. It's not pleasant, but it's manageable if you keep doing what it takes to earn their trust.
4. Confide in a Friend
Do you have a reliable confidant you can talk to? Ideally, someone who shares your values and respects your humility in admitting your error. Inform them that you have cheated and that you are determined to stop. This not only increases your responsibility to yourself for your future decisions but also gives others a chance to assist you.
5. Show, Don't Tell
Action speaks volumes. So, resolve to change your ways and take action to reassure your partner that you are serious about working on your relationship. For Warren, this could include trying out new methods of communication, devoting more time to one another, or discovering novel approaches to satisfying one another's emotional needs.
If you want to quit cheating on your boyfriend, you'll need to change how you act. According to Warren, a few things that many people find helpful include:
- Cut off contact with exes or people you cheated with in the past
- Get off social media related to dating (for example, delete your dating apps or main ways of meeting people to cheat with)
- Get into new patterns with your current partner that increase fulfillment in your relationship
- Be careful with high-inducing behaviors that stimulate dopamine in your brain (for example, you may be more likely to cheat if you’re drinking, using drugs, gambling, or engaging in other addictive behaviors)
6. Take Responsibility
Avoid justifications and shifting blame to anything or anybody, not even the devil. There’s no excuse to cheat. Recognize your role in the adverse outcomes you've brought about and take full accountability for them.
One can begin to make amends and restore trust by starting here.
7. Seek Professional Help
Seek the assistance of a therapist or counselor who specializes in relationship issues. They can help you address the underlying issues and strengthen your relationship by providing support and assistance. Seeking assistance is a sign of strength, not weakness, and it may be a critical step toward healing and progress for both individuals and relationships.
It addresses underlying difficulties, promotes self-awareness and personal growth, and allows people to understand their own behavior and motivations better. Exploring yourself and how your cheating habit ties to your past experiences and current relationship aspirations will be extremely beneficial.
8. Establish Accountability and Commitment
Commit yourself and your partner to stay faithful and work together toward a stronger, healthier relationship.
By establishing accountability, you can create a more trusting and secure relationship and reduce the risk of cheating. Expect that if you violate the expectations or boundaries, you should be ready to accept the consequences. These are things you and your partner must be open about.
9. Never Stop Trying
Relationships require continuous work. You have to go the extra mile to keep it healthy. Try to maintain physical affection and address any misunderstandings early.
10. Find New Interests
Start doing things that will make you happy and meet your emotional needs. This could be anything from going to the gym every day to starting a new hobby.
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Secret Affairs Are Not Sustainable
It can occasionally be challenging to break free of the cycle due to the thrill of secrecy and the sensation of being desired by someone else. Additionally, the cheater could struggle to stop due to emotions of shame or guilt. It's also possible that cheating develops into an addiction that would be difficult to shake.
Sometimes cheats may explain and defend their acts, making it more challenging to put an end to them. Seeing a therapist will help in every situation. Ultimately, it's up to you to want to stop and be willing to change.
1. Do People Who Cheat Have Low Morals
According to Warren, this isn't the case universally. Not all who cheat have “low morals. She explains, “Oftentimes, people cheat for reasons that they cannot even admit to themselves at the time.” People have different life experiences, different ways of conceptualizing relationships, and different views of “right” and “wrong.
2. What Can My Boyfriend Do To Help Me Stop Cheating?
Warren notes that there are ways your relationship may need attention or ways your partner could be contributing to relationship discord. That doesn’t mean they are responsible for your cheating behavior, but it does mean that you and your partner will need to work together to change your relationship dynamics and patterns. She suggests the following ways your partner can support you:
Open communication about what they want in a relationship and what is and is not working.
Set boundaries about what they need to stay in the relationship and what they will do if it happens again. Then, follow through with whatever agreements there are.
They can opt to go to therapy with you. They also need to go through the grieving process or any reaction they may have to the cheating behavior itself.
3. Can I Stop Cheating or Thinking of Cheating
Yes, a cheater can stop cheating for good, but it often requires a deep level of introspection and a willingness to address the underlying issues that led to the cheating in the first place. Additionally, it requires a commitment to change and a willingness to work on the relationship and rebuild trust with their partner.
4. Why Can't I Stop Cheating On My Boyfriend?
Again, this calls for self-reflection. As Warren pointed out, for some people, cheating may become a way of self-medicating their pain, and they may not be aware of the consequences their behavior is having on others. It can also become a form of avoidance. People who cheat might not want to deal with any underlying issues in their relationship or take responsibility for how their actions are causing hurt.
This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.