How to stop cheating – the second instalment

Cheaters are selfish, self-absorbed and self-indulgent. Do I have the right to say any of these things? Oh yes, I do. As a former cheater, I think I am fully equipped to talk first-hand on the topic.

People cheat for different reasons

“We don’t have sex anymore”, “I’m lonely”, “He doesn’t understand me”, “We are always fighting” and so on. 

In my case, my feelings of rejection at being denied a child was my justification for cheating. One thing remains true for all cheaters though; a cheater is always looking for validation. If a cheater looks hard enough for reasons to corroborate why he/she cheated, believe me, those excuses can be found.  Even friends who mean well can help the cheater justify an affair.

The greatest deception stems from the belief that the person with whom the cheater engaged in an affair with is his/her true love and a fulfilling relationship can bud from the affair. It’s just another way us cheaters find some kind of silver lining in the whole tainted matter.

Having an affair is an exit from the existing relationship, it is a way to escape the problems of the current relationship, it is focusing solely on how you feel and putting your wants and needs before that of anyone else.  It is, most importantly, not an apt solution to any problem experienced in a relationship.

Stopping the bus

If you find yourself cheating or contemplating a relationship with someone other than your partner, how do you stop? A moving bus with bad brakes is hard to stop. The best way of course is to recognise what is happening before you find yourself knee-deep in a scenario you can’t get out of.  Here’s my advice:

  1. Before you embark on a relationship with another person, save yourself the unneeded complication by choosing to handle one relationship at a time. You can’t give yourself fully to two people at the same time.  If you really care about this other person, and he/she about you, then a little space can do no harm.  Besides, if it’s true love, another few months apart won’t make much of a difference right?
  2. So take a time out – not a week or two either – to focus on what you want, and to figure out if the current relationship can be saved or fixed. Marriage counselling or individual sessions with a therapist can go a long way in helping you to clear your mind and see things with a little more perspective. Don’t elude yourself into thinking that the new relationship won’t come with its own set of complications – perhaps worse than the existing relationship. Then what will you do, have another affair?
  3. You’ll be surprised at how quickly things can settle when you have no extra pressure from a second relationship on the go. If you’ve made up your mind and feel 100% certain that the current relationship cannot be spared, then at least its closure. Make a clean break and end the relationship with your partner first (move out, start the divorce proceedings, get your life back on track).
  4. Don’t jump into a full-blown committed relationship with the other person before the ink has even dried on your divorce papers!  Ending one relationship is traumatic enough and fraught with its own myriad of emotions.  Enjoy being single for a bit – even if you find yourself lonely and miserable. It’s all part of the experience and will pass in time. If you can’t stand not talking to the other person during this time, that’s fine. Just don’t move in together and spend every waking hour together. You need time to heal, to feel and to re-discover YOU.
  5. Time has passed, and you should feel semi-human again. If the other person is still on the scene and you feel ready to indulge some form of commitment, start from scratch:  start dating and getting to know the person all over again. Now that the excitement of sneaking around and trying not to be caught is out of the way, the filters are off and you can actually get to know this person the right way.  Odds are that the relationship will feel different and you may not be so enamoured with the person as before. But that’s a risk you have to take …
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