It’s easy to generalize here, but the fact is everyone is capable of cheating. There’s no one particular gender that’s exclusively guilty. I will avoid the clichés (all men/women are cheaters) and speak directly to those who have committed adultery, or are on the verge of doing so. Here are some things to consider before you make that mistake:
1. If you’re going to cheat, then you better own up to it.
Don’t sugarcoat it. That only makes the situation worse. Keep in mind that the situation is already miles beyond worse. So just say it. And be transparent about it. Lay out the basic and most important details as straight as possible (when it happened, how long it’s been going on, etc.). Don’t save any of it for later. Think about it this way: do you want to keep twisting the knife in their abdomen? Or do you want a swift jab to the heart? They’re going to suffer either way. It’s just a matter of choosing the lesser of two evils. If this all seems difficult for you, just remember: you committed the act. So commit to it.
2. There are consequences.
This one may seem like a given, but there is a lasting impact for those who have been cheated on. It goes on to affect their future relationships. Of course, this isn’t something you’re thinking about while you’re getting it on with your partner’s best friend. Trust issues will skyrocket, and your partner may even find him or herself vulnerable in situations that are oddly familiar, meaning they’ll be susceptible to triggers that they don’t even realize they have. The paranoia is an unfortunate souvenir that your partner will take with them. Thus, the cheating never really ends. It haunts them in ways you, the cheater, couldn’t possibly imagine.
3. You may be forgiven, but it will never be forgotten.
This applies to the couples who manage to move on despite their partner’s adultery. And it kind of goes without saying. Indeed, you may have gone on and on about how it was only a “one time thing,” but what’s going to stop them from believing you could do it again? Your partner is going to be a hell of a lot more suspicious of you, and he or she has every right to be. After all, you tied that noose for yourself. So don’t be surprised if they call you out on it every now and then. Who knows, maybe time can wash that stain away. But don’t expect it to. Like forgiveness, it’s something you’ll have to earn.
4. You control your body, not the other way around.
Yes, you may have had your eye on that cute co-worker of yours, and your body may start to get curious. But, contrary to popular belief, you do have the power to decide if you’ll actually do something about it. It can remain a foolish daydream, or become a brutal reality. It all rests on an impulse. You find yourself alone in a room with your crush. You can stay. Or you can go. Your decision in that moment changes everything. Now, unless you’re a slave to your private parts, take the time to consider the big picture. Will a brief moment of self-satisfaction outweigh the long-term happiness that you have with your spouse? Or more simply, will you jeopardize everything you have for the sake of sating your own carnal desires? Some people try to convince themselves that it’s okay, that perhaps they’d be better off with that cute co-worker. But do you really want that new relationship to be built on a crime? Again, you are in control of your impulses. Remember that. It might save your partner the grief.
5. Don’t use cheating as the easy way out.
Whether consciously or subconsciously, people at the breaking point of their relationships begin seeking for the nearest exit. For some, cheating offers them exactly that. But it’s far from the easy way. It’s cowardly and plain old pathetic. Your partner doesn’t deserve it either, no matter how much you try to rationalize that he or she “had it coming.” Have the guts to face the bitter end. On the contrary, some people cheat to reinforce the affection they feel for their partner. And you don’t need me to tell you how incredibly stupid that is. If you have to sleep with someone else to realize the true value of your relationship, then you probably aren’t mature enough to be in one, which brings me to my next point…
6. You probably shouldn’t be in a relationship in the first place.
If you have the propensity to cheat, then maybe it’s time to step away from relationships entirely. Because the notions you have on what it takes to be faithful are clearly flawed. If you’re the type to cheat in order to escape the problems of your relationship, something is very wrong. The same goes if you’re the type to explore the idea of cheating while you’re in deep in a fight with your partner, perhaps anticipating that you two will break it off anyway. That’s not how you solve a problem. It’s how you create an even bigger one. Fighting is never the end either; it only seems that way when you’re in it. Relationships take time and hard work. You have to give it everything you’ve got. Otherwise, what’s the point? If your partner is in it all the way while you’re merely tip-toeing on the edge, then you’re just wasting each other’s time. Instead, take some time to yourself to evaluate your perceptions of a real relationship. You might save a lot of broken hearts that way.