Cheating is a common term that is used by lay people. The term cheating is often used synonymously with “illicit affair, infidelity, unfaithful, bamboozle, fool, con, and defraud.” Cheating is frequently thought of as engaging in sexual activity with someone other than your partner; or doing something intimate with another person behind a lover’s back without his or her knowledge. Others use a broader definition to include not just getting physically sexually involved with someone else, but the emotional side. For example, some people may feel betrayed or “cheated on” when their partner: masturbates to pornography, fantasizes about another person during sex, or engages in an emotional affair etc.
Cheating is typically associated with feeling betrayed by his or her partners’ sexual actions or choices that are considered disloyal or unfaithful. Every couple, whether they are monogamous or have an open relationship, establishes certain guidelines, rules, or boundaries pertaining to their intimate life, specifically in regards what friendships should look like along with having sex with people outside of their relationship, and now also the Internet. The breaking of any of these rules (which are sometimes never explicitly discussed) constitutes cheating. Often the person who has been cheated upon feels like their trust has been violated. Their trust/faith in their lover has been broken.
To move on from a cheating type of situation, we encourage the person who cheated to take some time and try to identify what was going on before they “cheated.” What made them feel the need to cheat? Were they feeling dissatisfied with the relationship? Does the person who cheated, feel as if she/he did nothing wrong and it’s an issue of each person having a different value system? For the person who was cheated on, can you learn to forgive the person? Looking back did the cheating make sense? Were the two of you emotionally or sexually disconnected? Were there signs that you missed? Was the old relationship meeting all of your emotional and sexual needs? What makes this relationship worth saving? What would you like the relationship moving forward to look like? Take some time and imagine what will need to occur so that a different kind of trust can occur? Talk to each other about expectations, desires and wants. If either person is having difficulty coming to terms with the situation, or moving forward, do not hesitate to schedule an appointment with a therapist at the Center for Growth / Sex Therapy in Philadelphia. Our marriage counselors are trained to help couples work through issues around cheating.
If the underlying issue behind the cheating, we at Sex Therapy In Philadelphia, recommend reading the following tips