Forgive and Forget?

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Some say once a cheater always a cheater. That if a person has stepped out on their relationship before than most likely they are going to do it again. There is no mistake. They will always be a cheater.

I, however, don’t agree with that statement. I don’t think cheating is ingrained in someone to continuously do. I don’t believe just because someone made a decision to cheat that they will necessarily do it again in the current relationship (if the person was to take them back) or in any future relationships. Cheating isn’t genetic. It’s not a characteristic that a person inherited. It’s a decision one makes out of circumstance. It’s a choice. You can choose to be a faithful partner or you can choose to cheat.

I believe many factors go into why a person may cheat on their significant other. One is the 80/20 rule. Basically a person has a significant other who has 80 percent of everything they want in a person, but is lacking 20 percent of what they think they also want. They may deem the 20 percent that is missing more important than the 80 percent that their significant other encompasses. This person doesn’t necessarily actively look for a person with the 20 percent they feel they are missing, but if they happen to run across that person they’re tempted to cheat. On the occasions that they do cheat and leave their 80 for the 20 it more or less backfires on them. Because while the 20 percent looked good in the packaging it will never compare to the 80 that was left behind. I believe those who cheat by the 80/20 rule are actually looking for a partner who encompasses 100 percent of what they want. The “unicorn” that doesn’t exist. No one will ever be perfect. Every one has their flaws. What’s important and what I think is truly missed by people who start a relationship with someone is knowing what you can live with and what you absolutely cannot live without. For instance if you are with someone who has explicitly said they never want children, but you know that at some point you do, then you need to decide if you have a future with this person. Don’t hope that maybe he/she will change their mind. You can’t base your future on a maybe.

A second factor that comes in to play is accessibility. In this day and age of social media and technology it’s easier now to access other people to cheat. Whereas before, you had to physically meet up with someone, today you don’t. Social media has made it easier to click a button and send and receive nudes, videos, etc. You have a cellphone that you can carry with you anywhere at anytime and receive messages, pictures, videos at the touch of a screen. Privacy has become even more abundant with passwords for access to cellphones and social media sites. Cheating at times can be easier to hide. For me personally, if someone is sending my significant other nude pictures, videos, Facebook messages declaring their feelings, etc. and my significant other is responding to them in kind, than they are cheating on me. I don’t see cheating as just being physically intimate. It’s any act that a person is doing with someone else that they are trying to conceal from their significant other.

A third factor that can lead to cheating that I don’t think people focus enough on is the emotional needs of their significant other. Sometimes we focus too much on the physical and material that we completely overlook the emotional. Communication is key to understanding what your partner needs emotionally. I have a friend who at every wedding she attends gives the bride and groom a book as a gift. It’s a book by Gary Chapman entitled “The Five Love Languages.” In this book he describes what he calls the five emotional love languages. It’s the five ways that people speak and understand emotional love. It helps you to understand not only your love language, but how to speak to the love language of your significant other. What do they need from you? How do they interpret love? Through this book I have learned that my emotional love language is quality time. I get very emotional if my significant other doesn’t give me quality time. I’m not talking every day, day in and day out. I mean when we do have available time with each other we spend it with each other. Not on our phones scrolling through social media. Just the knowledge that someone has taken time out of their day to turn the outside world off and focus on “us” is the quality time I look for. But that can’t come about if there is no communication. We need to start listening to one another and adjusting our behavior accordingly. If you can’t, than maybe it isn’t the relationship for you.

I speak from personal experience when I say being cheated on is a very hard pill to swallow. But not everyone will react the same way in the situation. Can you move past infidelity and continue a relationship? There is no yes or no answer for that. It’s not right or wrong to stay or move on after you have been cheated on. It’s an individual choice made by the person who has been wronged. However, I will say that if you make the choice to stay than the past has to be the past. You cannot bring up the infidelity every time you are in an argument with your significant other. If you have truly chosen to move on and move forward with this person than you have to let the indiscretion go. Meaning you have to trust them again. Not instantaneously because it won’t be that easy, but eventually. If you can’t rebuild that trust than you need to let the relationship go. And for those people who have friends that have been cheated on and made the choice to stay, no matter how you feel about their decision, you need to support them. This isn’t your life. It’s theirs. For them to truly move forward and let go they need people in their inner circle they know will be there. Not people who will constantly berate them for their decision. They are waging their own war to believe in and trust someone who has hurt them, they don’t need to wage one with you.

 

 

 

 

 

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