Uncomfortable facts about cheating on someone and what it could spell

by Gideon Hanekom
June 12, 2018

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In this post, we’re looking at a couple of hard-hitting facts about cheating on someone and what it could spell for a relationship afterwards.

Someone asked the following question on Quora.com recently: Should I get back with my boyfriend? I could see the pain in his eyes of not having me. I don’t know how long it will last. I feel he has changed. Will he ever cheat on me again or he has really changed? He says he wants to marry me immediately.”

Here’s are some of my thoughts about the issue of cheating on someone.

cheating on someone

Cheating on someone, in general, is a very complicated topic.

There are so many variables and factors at work here, that it’s almost impossible to give a one-size-fits-all piece of advice.

But, in saying that there is quite a bit of insight research has revealed to us about the nature of infidelity and cheating on someone (in general).

Cheating on someone Has Evolved

We know that generally speaking, roughly 1 in 3 men and 1 in 5 women have committed sexual infidelity, although these estimates vary from study to study.

Here in New Zealand, one survey suggests that a quarter of New Zealanders are cheaters and 1 in 7 are in long-term affairs.

We also know that our interconnectedness (mainly because of the internet) has put a completely new spin on the nature of what is perceived as infidelity or cheating on someone.

It has forced us to rethink what it is exactly, and HOW it influences relationships.

There is a real question to be asked here,

What exactly constitutes cheating these days, and what impact do these evolved forms of cheating have on relationships?

Is chatting with someone else online seen as “cheating?”

Or does there need to be sexual contact in order to qualify as cheating on someone?

Now even though this can become very complicated (if we overthink it), we do know that in essence, “cheating on someone” is any type of activity with a non-partner that your own partner would find upsetting or a breach of trust in your relationship.

In other words, even though our means to cheat have increased and changed, for example, you can literally cheat from the comfort of your own home while your partner is at the gym, it still comes down to the matter of TRUST.

Trust Is The Real Issue

Cheating on someone, as a rule of thumb, is when trust has been broken between two people – regardless of HOW it happened.

And this can vary from couple to couple, but the essence still remains the same.

The reason this is important is that the moment trust is lost in a relationship, through whichever means, it either blows the relationship apart, OR it puts a real brake on the growth and long-term success of that relationship, irrespective of feelings of guilt and remorse later on.

Some studies have shown that when somebody stays with a cheater because of fear (for example), he or she is more likely to seek revenge, avoid conflict, and become generally more disrespectful and aggressive towards the partner in the future.

That’s not a good foundation for a happy and fulfilling relationship long-term.

We also know from the same studies that the next most frequent outcome, in 34% of the sample, was that the marriage ended in divorce or breakup.

So, to clarify, whenever cheating was involved but the relationship continued, it either

  • experienced a significant drop in satisfaction and the increase of toxic behaviour from the one partner (cheated on) to the other (cheater), or,
  • it ended up in divorce/breakup later on (34% of the sample researched).

Those are not good odds for you should you consider continuing with this relationship.

The other important question to consider is,

WHY one partner has cheated in the first place?

This is typically overlooked after the fact when there are many feelings of guilt, regret, and remorse.

But, it would be a mistake to simply overlook or ignore the dynamics that actually led to someone cheating on someone.

Why Does A Person Cheat On Someone?

Again, it is very complicated as to why people cheat exactly.

There are many different reasons.

Some are complicated, and some are more obvious.

But, what we do know is that people typically become romantically involved with someone whom they love, respect, care about, and trust.

So whenever cheating happens, there is a huge question to be asked about one person’s true love, respect, care for the other, as well as their trustworthiness.

If we get together with someone at some point for one set of reasons, we can assume that when one partner cheats on the other, they cheat because those initial reasons are no longer true for them (in the current relationship).

We also know that cheating can take on many forms, and the one caught out will oftentimes show a lot of remorse later on.

However, regardless of that fact, it is safe to say that cheating damages relationships and undermines many of the positive reasons why a person likely entered the relationship in the first place.

Ultimately, if you want a long-term successful relationship, your best bet is to form a relationship based on trust with someone you care about and respect.

Moreover, once you’ve committed to someone, you then need to spend time making sure that that relationship is satisfying, fulfilling, and provides sufficient excitement so that neither partner will be inclined to stray.

Because temptations are simply too ever-present these days, with the biggest one being “opportunity.”

Coming back to the initial question (above), if a person has already cheated on someone, you have to consider the reality that your relationship up to the point of infidelity was most likely NOT all that satisfying and fulfilling as you thought.

It is also possible that the relationship lost its excitement and fun.

People simply rarely cheat on someone when in satisfying, fulfilling relationships filled with adventure, satisfactory levels of novelty and new experiences.

There are exceptions, I’m sure.

But it’s not the rule.

Now, there are obviously always two sides to any story.

Going back to the initial question, I obviously have no idea what the guy (and lady) contributed or neglected to have created the type of situation that contributed to him cheating on her.

All I know, based on what research is telling us, as well as my experience working with couples, is that if a person has cheated it is because they have already felt deep levels of dissatisfaction, unfulfillment, and a lack of excitement.

Thus, before salvaging the relationship, the question also needs to be asked about what will change in the future to keep this from happening again?

Especially now that trust has been broken completely.

Personally, I cannot tell anyone what to do, but what I do know is this,

I have met very few couples who have managed to overcome infidelity because of the huge commitment it demands of a couple to repair trust, respect, and love, and experience excitement together again.

Many find it too difficult because broken trust is no small matter when it comes to feelings of connectedness to another.

I would caution anyone to jump into a marriage based on feelings of remorse and hurt, as these are very unwise reasons to get married for.

Healthy, happy, and intimate marriages are the result of unconditional love, mutual respect and trust, and ongoing excitement within a framework of certainty and commitment.

Fear, remorse, hurt, and guilt are not good reasons at all.

They are a foundation of sand, and building on them sets a couple up to become another sad statistic.

Also, and lastly, you must also always yourself this question,

Is this all I am worth as a woman, man, and human being?

Or do I deserve someone who thinks the world of me, worships the ground I walk on, and loves me unconditionally no matter what?

About the author 

Gideon Hanekom

Gideon Hanekom is the creator of TheRelationshipGuy.com, a renowned relationship blog that ranks among the top 50 relationship blogs in 2024. The website shares valuable insights on creating healthy relationships life. Gideon holds a Master's degree in theological studies and transitioned into professional counseling more than a decade ago. In addition, he since completed post-graduate studies in Psychology at Massey University. With over seventeen years of marriage to his wife and two children, Gideon brings both professional and personal experience to his relationship advice. His articles have been featured on respected platforms such as Marriage.com and The Good Men Project.

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