Should I Leave a Cheater?
Infidelity is something rocks the majority of relationships. It is something that young hopefuls are adamant that will never happen to them, only to find that they were far too complacent. Let’s not kid ourselves here. Cheating is no unicorn. The reasons men and women turn to infidelity are blatantly obvious. When we understand these simple facts, we can take appropriate action in the months and years before any such challenge has the possibility of presenting itself. Too often, D-day arrives and only then does the affected spouse take the actions necessary to save an ailing relationship.
The topic of this article is to discuss whether one should or should not leave their cheating partner. In this, this relationship coach is the most forgiving, but also the most procedural. It is my contention that individuals need to behave according to a relatively strict framework, in order to maintain the life of the relationship. This might sound inhibiting, but it actually unshackles individuals and keeps them from facing constant negative emotional reactions.
In regards to the topic at hand, the framework gives two very simple and obvious choices: love ‘em or leave ‘em. We can choose to forgive any and every relationship crime that is committed, but this makes less and less sense when the relationship is no longer a “relationship”, by any objective measurement. If we are going to forgive, then we have to have something to look to as a guiding beacon, that is, there has to be a point of bliss that the relationship can return to. Absent of any of the aforementioned, we are left assessing the obvious facts of the situation. One’s partner is committing adultery (in some form), which implies a choice made from that individual.
Relationships work by constantly choosing each other, over the infinite alternatives. This needs to work, without fail, every single day. This is also where this advice and coaching turns the traditional wisdom on its head. Imagine you are in a wonderfully loving and passionate relationship. There are brief arguments, but they are few and far between. Each argument is resolved well, and the relationship moves forward. It is in this type example that cheating is far less forgivable, which only implies acceptance on the part of the affected spouse.
A relationship can only thrive if we are truly able to come and go, but choose to stay (again) every single day. We are not each other’s property. This reality of acceptance does not promote cheating but actually places an incredible weight on the shoulders of each partner. The mass majority of incidences of cheating do not operate on this principle of acceptance. The one that cheated (very often) has a lot of power over the affected partner, quite often. The cheater then has two guys/gals vying for their attention. If that cheating spouse had an accepting (cheated-on) spouse, that would imply letting the cheater make their choice between lover and spouse. It is a self-imposed ultimatum that is very cold and punishing. Again, counterintuitively, this approach to relationships, in general, keeps cheating far at bay.
What is the other scenario then? The other scenario is one in which both partners have lost their ways, and the relationship has devolved into one that resembles roommates living under the same roof, even if in the same bed. Cheating is highly likely under this relationship arrangement. It is also, counterintuitively, more forgivable. Why is this? Humans face a constant drive to seek connection. This drive can subvert objective logic. Without a fantastic relationship as a backdrop, establishing a romantic connection with an outsider just starts making sense to cheaters. These people that resort to cheating are not different than you and I, other than a difference in circumstances and varying levels of impulse and emotional control. When we look at incidences of cheating, we can understand the personal failings that contributed to it. As such, we can come up with a game plan that can establish/build Emotional Intelligence, that impulse, emotional control and general ability to manage one’s emotions and the emotions of others.
A relationship needs to be able to endure hardships and hard times. There should be an understanding that temptations will face every spouse. There will be periods of disconnection and some potentially bitter arguments that lead to contempt and resentment. Still, each spouse has to have the personal resolve to remain committed to the relationship. It is not enough to rest on a passionate and loving relationship to ward off infidelity. Challenges will come, and it is in those times that infidelity can rear its ugly face. Relationships are comprised of two individuals. These individuals must be strong and durable. Otherwise, we are only resting the success or failure upon hormones.
If there is that relationship that is lacking passion and love, then we can consider forgiveness as part of the reconciliation and reconnection process. It is going to be of considerable difficulty for many individuals, as they face choosing whether or not to remain committed to someone that they have little love for, themselves.
I am confident that this will be new and possibly controversial to many of my readers, as it should be. Consider that most relationships that survive infidelity did so out of desperation, and begging and pleading. Common also is the intense urge to constantly punish current and reformed cheating spouses. None of the aforementioned are actions that resemble any kind of healthy relationship. As such, they don’t exist in my Fire of Knowledge framework. Any relationship can survive infidelity, but we really have to take a step back and manage the emotional side of the situation, so that we can make choices with all of the objective costs and benefits on the table.
If cheating has become apparent. Do this:
Inform the cheating partner that you are aware of the situation. This is no discussion. You are laying out facts and they can squirm and twist them all they want, but you are not giving them time to convince you.
“This relationship is inappropriate, violates our boundaries and I am asking you to end it.”
“I will not monitor or check up on (spy) you to ensure that you have ended this inappropriate relationship.”
Take time away from the cheating partner and walk away.