There are different types of relationships that a couple can be in. A monogamous relationship is one in which two people agree not to engage in intimate activities with another person. Then there's the open relationship. This is when each party agrees that intimate involvement with another person, or people, is acceptable. In an open relationship there's no such thing as cheating. It's the monogamous relationships that feel the heavy impact of cheating.
Cheating can be many things. It can depend on the people in the relationship, their ages and age of the relationship. The circumstances under which the couple met may play a factor. For some, simple flirting with another person is considered cheating. Having a cup of coffee or a dinner out may be perceived as cheating. Kissing another person might be considered cheating. Being sexually involved with another person is nearly always considered cheating. Hopefully the parties in a committed relationship have similar ideas of what constitutes cheating. The worst part of cheating is the secrecy. Cheating involves sneaking around and lying about who you've been with, where you've been and what you've been doing.
Types of Cheating
There are many levels and degrees of cheating. Some might think that a one-night stand isn't as bad as the long lasting affair. A one-night stand implies that the intimate affair happened only once. It may have happened with a person you just met, or it can happen with someone that you've known for some time. Either way the assumption is that it's a one-time event. When that one-time event happens more often and turns into a regular meetings, it's considered an affair. It's not uncommon for what one thought would be a one-night stand to turn into a long-lasting affair. If you're the person who was cheated on, however, the level or degree doesn't matter. It hurts, no matter what the type of cheating was.
Reasons People Cheat
The reasons that people cheat are many. Essentially the breakdown of a relationship causes fissures that may cause a person to seek company and comfort from sources outside of the relationship. When a couple doesn't engage in activities that were at once fun and fulfilling, infidelity can occur. It can happen when the cheating party is no longer attracted to their partner, or finds someone else to be more attractive than their partner. Whenever there's a stress in the relationship there's a chance someone will cheat. The strength of the relationship and the personalities of the people involved are both factors. When a couple faces financial difficulties there's room for movement outside of the relationship, depending how the parties manage the stress. The living environment and the sharing of household chores, if they're living together, can impact the loyalty of the parties to one another. If one party feels as though they're doing more work they may feel slighted. They may feel that the other person isn't doing a good enough job with the chores around the house. This can lead to petty arguments and fighting which can be a breakdown in the relationship. Poor communication can cause a breakdown of a relationship.
Effect of Cheating But Not Getting Caught
To most people it feels wrong to cheat on a partner. Being involved with someone else while you're in a committed relationship is the breaking of a promise. If you do cheat and you don't get caught, it can eat you up inside. The guilt can be an overwhelming emotion to be saddled with. Two common effects of repressing guilt are anxiety and depression. To relieve the negative feelings associated with the guilt, the cheating party may decide independently to come clean to the partner who was cheated on. On the other hand, the cheating party may come clean simply because they believe doing so will provide a sure way to end the failing relationship.
Staying Together After a Partner Has Been Caught Cheating
Knowing that your partner has cheated on you hurts. It's the feeling that your partner chose to be with someone else, that they like someone else more than you. Consider the young child playing with a friend. If the friend decides to go play with someone else it's hurtful to the child who was left behind. Cheating in a relationship is the same emotional concept, though at a much more intimate level. The scarring from this event can be long-lasting. The party who was cheated on may never be able to trust their partner again. If the couple decides to stay together and work it out, it's best to have a plan. Discuss why the cheating happened. Plan out a way to fix what was wrong. Recognize that there will be trust issues and manage a way to avoid putting either party in the position where trust is again compromised. You must work on building that trust again. It may take a long time, but it can happen.
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Dana Mial McMahon's writing career began in 1999 while working for a major pharmaceutical company in Cambridge, Mass., where she wrote technical guides and cross-functional instructional guides. She is publishing a children's book series called "Lemonade, Marmalade and Jam." She has also written for Lovey Girl Designs. McMahon holds a Bachelor of Science in natural science from Worcester State College.