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Why Do People Cheat?

Its an age old question. One thats been on the cover of Cosmopolitan, taken up too much time on The View and continues to be bantered about in barbershops and beauty salons across the globe. Why do people cheat? And even more perplexing, why do they cheat when they know its going to wreak havoc on their lives and the lives of those around them? What follows is by no means an answer to those questions, but rather another way of looking at it. When it comes to infidelity consider me an infidelity pundit. My take on this comes from my nearly 20 years of work as a psychologist, with an ever increasing emphasis on both couples work and individual therapy addressing issues of infidelity. But also, like all psychologists our work is influenced by our own observations and experiences outside of the session. And in both circumstances the key to understanding lies in getting beneath the surface. Getting past the superficial reasons, such as its my diagnosis of sexual addiction, she just kept pursuing me, so I had to give in or, the sex just wasnt any good., and cutting to the core reasons, the true and resolvable reasons why people cheat has proven to take time, resilience, patience and most of all, courage. When courage has arisen during the course of therapy and the real reasons for infidelity have surfaced, each has invariably referenced a similar path that is taken. One that passes similar signposts and markers and all headed in the same direction. A direction that looks good on paper, but one where the journey ends on many levels in a symbolic Thelma and Louise fashion. So why do it if you know its going to end poorly? In order to take that first step a significant shift in perspective on their marriage and themselves must take place. One that downplays or pushes aside any potential for growth and change, in exchange for one that maximizes their own needs; be they sexual, countering insecurities or looking

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at infidelity as a way to resolve past losses or failures. In doing so one looks past the negative impact infidelity will have on themselves and others and grossly exaggerates the multiple benefits from cheating. What is. Takes a Backseat to What if? When this occurs the What is. of the marriage; its strengths, flaws, responsibilities and all, takes a backseat to the What if? of infidelity. In order for this to occur a subtle shift in rational thought, or questionable cost-benefit analysis must take place. One where the deck is stacked repeatedly in favor of infidelity, while denying the realities of how infidelity ends. After all, think about how often it ends well. True there may be moments, or even 45 minutes or so when infidelity works, but in the end the result is not a good one. This clear reality is placed on hold and instead the What if? of infidelity becomes a fictionalized moment for a realizations of ones fantasy for the partner that could have been, for the view of self that remains elusive. This shift in thinking brings with it a shift in planning, in action, and an uptick in deceit and denial. The deceit and denial, however are not traditional in nature, as in one partner deceives the other. To the contrary, the deceit that allows infidelity to move forward is focused inward, thus far more damaging to all involved. It fuels the individual down the road. And the further they go toward infidelity, the farther they have to travel to eventually confront the personal challenges and doubts that prompted infidelity to occur. The challenges more often than not have little to do with their partner, and more to do with themselves. Most challenging in this phase, however, is that embracing the irrational What if? clouds the opportunity for tough questions to be asked and causes the real work of a relationship to be put on hold. When those tough questions arent asked, and the What is. becomes secondary, well, thats when the What if? hops in the front seat, grabs the steering wheel and off you go. Off you go, in search of your infidelity soulmate. Your soulmate at the Motel 6.

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Your Motel 6 Soulmate And like a lonely traveler on a cross country road trip, you eventually find a resting place, a roadside diner and nice place to lay your head. Expectations are lowered, thirst makes you long for anything. No need to be choosy, just something to quench your thirst. And when alls said and done youll settle for anything. The passing glance becomes a gaze of interest, or seductive tease. A kind hello perceived as intimate banter. You begin to find what youre looking for, and more times than not, create what is not there. With the What if? behind the wheel you find your soulmate rather easily. Except this time its not as glorious as the stereotypical couple running , slow motion, toward each other through a field of daisies, nor is it on par with the 20-somethings who meet up by chance in Paris and fall in love. And its not as genuine and true as when you may have met you current partner. No, the standards have lowered a tad, this is your new soulmate, just this time, its your soulmate at the Motel 6. Together you and your Motel 6 Soulmate reinforce each others unspoken insecurities. You synchronize your respective stiff arm to greater understanding of what is behind the real reasons for your infidelity, or involvement in it, and in doing so keep any chance of problem solving and true honesty at arms length. You coordinate looking past the flaws, risks and imperfections of the infidelity relationship, so that the true realities of what is transpiring never enter the room. In doing so, this dishonesty keeps both from truly understanding why theyve become unfaithful and from understanding how they got to the motel room in the first place. This denial, deceit and yes, irrational thought results in an avoidance of the facts of whats going on that allows one to get further and further entrenched in the unfaithful relationship.

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Your room at the Motel 6 becomes a refuge from reality, a place to get your fix, all the while denying that either at the end of the night, or when the sun comes up the next day, reality will open the door. A reality that you are ill prepared to handle, especially if the world is now viewed through such a distorted and unrealistic lens. Cheating to Feel Like a Winner Fully immersed in infidelity, knowing that it doesnt end well, one needs intermittent reminders that its worth the risk. These small victories are claimed through the sexual encounter, the flattering text or even the seemingly impromptu, but meticulously planned meet up. Over the years infidelity pundits such as myself have heard various iterations of, I had to prove I still had it., despite the fact that its been proven time and time again. For a brief moment they feel like a winner, they feel connected, held and valued by another. Yet at what cost? The brief victory lap was gained through the aforementioned deceit and denial, and it is a hollow victory at that. When this realization sets in either through a happenstance epiphany or through the courage and resilience shown in therapy, there is a moment of contrition, and more importantly an opportunity for optimism and effort. Optimism that one can explore the reasons behind infidelity and be willing to accept wherever that exploration will take them. And as mentioned below, the outcome of facing the reasons behind infidelity are not always positive in the sense that he marriage is saved, but there is internal and personal gain through someone being willing to be truly honest with themselves and those they love.

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Becoming Illiterate When the Writings on the Wall Infidelity is a symptom, albeit a physical, emotional and moral symptom of a deeply personal issue for the individual. To understand why people cheat one cant look at the couple cheating, each must look themselves. They must look at the writing thats on the wall, rather than deny it, or pretend that now all of a sudden they are unable to read, interpret or understand whats really going on. Should they elect to look at the flaws or conflicts within the marriage they must do so with candor, honesty and a willingness to push themselves. They mustnt look at their relationship through rose colored glasses, but rather ones that are precise, raw and allow greater clarity on the relationship of the married couple and each person in it. Choosing not to be unfaithful does not solve the issues that may prompt someone to be unfaithful in the first place. But it does provide time, space and an opportunity for personal and moral growth. The result of this exploration may be difficult, painful, eye opening and ultimately rewarding. It may bring tears, yelling, hurt feelings, but also honesty and an openness to truly know one another for the first time. This difficult discussion may end up with renewed vows, an uptick in intimacy, or it may result in the decision to go your separate okays. It may end up in separation, divorce, tears and feelings of failure. But regardless of the outcome, choosing to be honest and open about the relationship, the married relationship provides an opportunity for courage to be exemplified. For the vows of for better for worse to be put into practice. And sadly for many the worse is divorce, but if that is the outcome, rather than dishonesty, deceit and a blemish on your character, then that is the greater of the two outcomes. No Easy Answers, Only Honest Ones There are no easy answers to resolving the issue that lead to infidelity, but there are ones that are honest, correct and true. The reasons why people cheat are endless, but www.milwaukeepsychologist.net www.BounceBackFromBetrayal.com

my work and life experience has shown me that people cheat because they take the easy way out. They focus more on the What if?, rather than dealing with the relationship and personal What is, they look for their soulmate in the person passing by, and sometimes find them at the Motel 6, they claim victory when engaged in an activity defined by cheating, they long for closeness by pushing others away, and seek a greater sense of self while denying who they truly are. In the end those who go down the path toward infidelity lose an opportunity to realize and fully embrace what can be and how the what is holds the potential for something greater than they ever imagined. Where the What is shifts to what can be with their partner, and most importantly, what can be with their own understanding of who they are. About the author For over 20 years Dr. Kenneth Cole has been committed to providing compassionate, solution focused and outcome based therapy to children, adolescents, adults, couples and families. As a psychologist and Clinic Director at Mequon Clinical Associates his goal is to honor and utilize the myriad of strengths you possess in order to help you reach your goals and realize potential. His approach to therapy assumes that with motivation,

collaboration and recognition of what lies within, progress will be made. To know more about Dr. Cole, visit his websitewww.milwaukeepsychologist.net.

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Click The Link Below To Watch A Free Video Presentation On Why Infidelity May Be the Best Thing To Have Happened To Your Relationship & How You Can Make Your Relationship Stronger, Better and More Fulfilling After Infidelity

www.BounceBackFromBetrayal.com

www.milwaukeepsychologist.net

www.BounceBackFromBetrayal.com