Cheating is a big problem. However, one of the things that make this big problem even worse is misunderstanding and underestimating the motivations behind the infidelity.
How many times have you heard or seen a relationship fall apart because the girl saw ‘all the signs’ in just one day or that the man felt wrongfully accused and controlled? I know I’ve seen plenty!
So to avoid that hot mess, it’s important to know what the word exploring means.
There is no doubt that we are digging into a really negative, uncomfortable topic. It’s a deep, dark place. Yet like any deep, dark place, we need a torch to light our way and be on the lookout for danger.
Step 1. Know the Common Signs
First up, have a good knowledge of the common signs. Whether it’s decreasing communication, losing intimacy, or being more defensive, make sure you know these signs for what they are.
Of course, don’t just let one or two of these signs set you off. That only means your knowledge is surface-level. If your partner is cheating, then they are going to be all-in on secrecy. Don’t be too sure that they can hide it perfectly, but don’t be complacent either.
In fact, that ties into why a lack of self-esteem can be a motivation to cheat. Being able to two-time ‘successfully’ is regarded as a confidence booster in some toxic circles. Alternatively, it could just be that a partner’s lack of self-esteem is drawing them closer to someone who makes them feel better about it.
So, again, keep an eye out for the signs.
Step 2. Investigate (Don’t React)
“You’re being paranoid.”
We’ve heard this before. Unfortunately, there’s a little bit of truth to this at times. Overreacting to what you think looks like a cheating partner is a recipe for a lot of drama (which many of us have seen plenty of on TV and in real relationships).
How do you prevent this? Answer: Don’t react. Investigate.
Reacting is exactly what will set off a cheating partner if they’re already trying to keep secrets from you. Investigating on the other hand requires care. It requires respect. It requires discretion.
Now, I’m not saying you should hire a private eye like they do in the movies. What I am saying is that there are proper ways to do it. None of them include overreacting and running around looking under the couch every day.
Step 3. Plug the Holes
One of the advantages of knowing the main cause behind cheating behavior is that you can learn where it is coming from.
Is there a lack of intimacy? Maybe you’ll find out that their job has been stressing them out lately. Maybe they have some bedroom ideas in mind and they may want you to let them talk about it.
Love is complex. People are complex. When you take the time to discover that your partner still has some unmet needs, then that’s time saved from the fear of cheating behavior. If they are lacking confidence, then it might be high time to know where that’s been coming from.
Relationships are always a work in progress, which is why building them is often tantamount to all the usual advice about preventing cheating.
Step 4. Plan for Intervention
Intervention sounds scary to some people. And in some relationships, it has been.
However, not everything has to begin (or end) in an angry confrontation with a cheater. If you have evidence of their infidelity, then it is time to start putting it all together.
Another important thing to remember is to never do this alone. Seek help. Get counseling. Look for support from friends and family.
When you learn about your partner’s motivations behind their cheating, then you need to know how to use that information.
On a final note, you should also know that you don’t have to complete all these steps to the end. Sometimes it is enough to see the signs and start checking for the pulse of your relationship. It could mean that there was no cheating involved, but you and your partner still had problems to face.
Again, the important thing here is Love. Whether you start with Love for yourself or what Love you still have for your partner, let it guide you to finding out the truth.