With the abundance of honesty in the media about cheating and affairs, it’s safe to say that a lot of couples deal with this hurtful (and quite damaging) act. Perhaps this has become ingrained in society – like a habit – that needs desperately to be broken to salvage any last hope of a “happily ever after”. Why do so many turn to cheating?
People who habitually cheat, in my experience, tend to have several reasons. The foremost reason being: 1) the need to supplement what they feel is lacking in their primary relationship, and 2) the need to feel the excitement of a new appreciation from another.
Both of these needs are intertwined with the inability or unwillingness to communicate honestly, and a lack of of self-esteem. Rarely, I believe, is cheating in a relationship a one-time offense with the person but a habitual way of dealing with challenges in relationships. This could be a lifelong, adult habit.
I have observed in readings that frequently one party in a relationship will feel that overall the life they have with their partner is rewarding — they own property together, have children, mutual social interests. There’s also an established network of friends, relatives and acquaintances in common, which is gratifying to both parties. However, there is a lack of emotional honesty, which either has never been developed or which has not been nurtured as much as necessary. One or both are unable to express to the other what they feel is a lack in the relationship, a lack which needs to be addressed.
Along with the inability to fully communicate is a lack of self-esteem. One might feel that he is not worthy of his partner’s full appreciation, or anyone else, for that matter. To superficially obtain a feeling of self-worth, he participates in an affair, where he can obtain the new and exciting appreciation from another, without the burdensome details of everyday life interfering.
The lack of an ability to communicate honestly with another in an intimate relationship, and the inability to appreciate oneself and accept appreciation from others — are problems that could be addressed with counseling. Whether cheating occurs during the honeymoon, or after ten years of marriage, or during a long-term committed relationship, I believe this will occur again and again until these issues are resolved.