Let’s settle one thing first: nobody can make your spouse cheat. No matter what the circumstances are, infidelity is a choice. Those who are tempted to cheat have the option to end their marriage before getting into another relationship. Although many people cheat because they have unmet needs and expectations, that does not mean that the person who cheated isn’t responsible for their actions and the choice they made.
Why Do People Cheat?
A lot of people make the choice to cheat because they have unmet needs and expectations. The person who cheated may have discussed their unmet needs and expectations with their partners, or they may not have discussed their dissatisfaction with their partners. It could be that they’ve discussed the dissatisfaction with their partner, but their partner hasn’t listened, or has gotten defensive. If the person who cheated doesn’t have a lot of insight into their emotions, they may not have even realized that they had unmet needs and expectations. Sometimes, the person who cheated has unrealistic expectations. These types of people tend to struggle to be satisfied in their relationships no matter who they’re with. While the cheating party may have had unmet needs, it does not mean the betrayed party is at fault here. The unfaithful party still made the choice to cheat when they could have brought their dissatisfaction to their spouse’s attention, or ended the marriage.
Why Not Just Leave?
Some people choose to stay instead of leaving because they aren’t sure whether or not they want to save the marriage, or the person who’s cheating may want to have a relationship with both their spouse and the other person. Most of the time, people get into affairs by accident. This is not to say that they aren’t responsible for starting the affair, but most people don’t actively seek out an affair. Instead, the cheating party often develops an emotional connection with someone they see frequently. This person they’re cheating with is good at meeting the unmet need or unmet expectation. Therefore, an emotional attachment develops, often without either party realizing what’s happening. And in some cases, it may be difficult for a person to admit to themselves what’s happening. Before they realize it, the emotional affair turns into a full-blown physical affair.
Can Cheating Be Prevented?
It’s possible to lower the chances of infidelity happening in your relationship. However, at the end of the day, cheating is a choice, regardless of whether or not the cheater was actively looking for the affair, or not. Since you can’t control your partner, you cannot control whether or not they cheat on you. But you can take precautions to make cheating less likely. For example, having open and honest conversations about needs and expectations can give you an idea of what your spouse needs and expects, and how you can meet those needs and expectations. However, you can’t have open and honest conversations if you and your spouse haven’t created a safe space for you both to discuss your dissatisfactions. When your spouse discusses their dissatisfactions or feelings, it’s likely a good idea to resist the urge to tell them why the way the feel is wrong, or the dissatisfactions they have aren’t your problem. If you are finding that you need help creating a safe space for you and your spouse to have these discussions, you may need to involve a marital counselor.
Establishing Boundaries for You
While you cannot control your spouse, you can control yourself. Having healthy boundaries can help you avoid the temptation of infidelity, even if your needs aren’t being met. Some examples of healthy boundaries include not hanging out with exes, and not spending time alone with people who may create a temptation. Again, while you may be able to reduce the chances of your spouse cheating, you will not be able to completely control whether or not your spouse cheats. If they cheat, it was their choice, no matter which needs or expectations—if any—were unmet. Since the only person you can control is yourself, make sure to uphold your personal boundaries to preserve your marriage.
In some cases, there are people who just simply cannot stay faithful, no matter how satisfied with the relationship they are, or who they’re dating. People who struggle to stay satisfied with monogamy may not stay faithful, and there may not be anything you can do to even reduce the chances of cheating. Many times, this behavior can be caused by trauma or mental health concerns that may need to be healed before they’re able to find happiness and satisfaction in a committed relationship.
If Infidelity Has Damaged Your Marriage
When infidelity has damaged your marriage, you may be wondering whether or not it’s possible to save the marriage. The good news is that many people do save their marriages after infidelity, and oftentimes those marriages are stronger than they were before. However, many couples are not able to save their marriages after infidelity. If your marriage has been damaged by infidelity and you’re filing for divorce, CoilLaw is here for you. Contact us today to set up your initial consultation.