Should I Cheat? 4 Important Things To Remember About How It Affects Your Relationship

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You know what they say: It's all fun and games until someone gets hurt. That adage holds as true for schoolyard games as it does for more adult matters, like cheating. Before you cheat, give serious thought to the repercussions of your actions. Whether your partner finds out days or years down the line, they will find out. And short of some serious intervention and counseling, your relationship will probably not be able to withstand the destruction you will have caused.

Before you claim that your partner's actions are responsible for your cheating, know that someone who has been cheated on in a relationship can never be at fault. That's because nobody controls your actions except for, well, you. Before you decide to cheat, think about how you would feel if you were to hear about someone else doing what you are about to do. Would you condemn them? Or would you be disgusted with their behavior? If you're cheating, you're probably taking the easy way out to hide from problems within the relationship. Cheating won't solve anything, and when you've come out the other side, you'll probably feel like a fool for not just being honest. You should consider that, as well as these other truths, before you cheat:

1. Cheating Is Betrayal

Before you cheat, evaluate what you are considering honestly. Cheating is not just some old form of adultery leftover from a period of arranged marriages. It amounts to betrayal. Dr. Martha Tara Lee, a clinical sexologist (DHS, MA, BA) and founder of Eros Coaching, told Elite Daily, "Most people are more disturbed by the breaking of trust and the intimacy in the 'rival' relationship, than whether there is sex involved." Presumably, you are considering cheating on your partner rather than breaking up with them because part of you wants to stay together. Are you really able to justify breaking a promise to somebody you care about because it feels good?

You have a bond in your relationship that is built on a foundation of trust. In a monogamous relationship, you trust that both of you will be the only ones to have a physical, emotional, and intellectual relationship on the level that you enjoy. Chris Armstrong, a certified relationship coach, told Elite Daily, "If you are married to or exclusively dating someone then you should fully expect that verbal, physical or emotional intimacy is exclusive to you and that person. End of discussion."

Are you willing to violate your partner's trust in you, rather than give them the honesty that you promised when you entered a relationship? Do you think that cheating will be worth the pain that betrayal will cause?

2. Cheating Will Not Solve The Issues In Your Relationship

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If you are considering cheating, then it is because your relationship has not received the attention that it needs to thrive. "Couples need to recognize their relationship is like a plant," says Dr. Wyatt Fisher, a psychologist based in Colorado. "If you water it, give it enough sunshine, and fertilize the soil, it will thrive. Conversely, if you neglect it, it will suffer and eventually die."

If you have neglected your relationship to the extent that you feel compelled to cheat to get what you need, then you are choosing to hide from the problems rather than work with them. If you don't want to put the work into your relationship, why don't you do the right thing and end it with your partner? At least then you won't make them the unwitting victim of your infidelity.

3. Cheating Can Cause Irreparable Damage

Cheating can impact a person's ability to form healthy relationships for years to come. After your partner finds out — and they definitely will find out — your partner might have difficulty trusting you or anybody they are intimate with for a long, long time. My last partner had an emotional affair for much of the length of our relationship, and two years later, I haven't been able to be vulnerable enough with anyone to have a committed relationship.

Cheating will likely damage your partner's self-esteem and will raise deep anger within them. If you do choose to cheat, you probably won't be as stealthy about it as you imagine, either. Your partner will be able to sense when you are withdrawing from the relationship, and when that happens, are you going to be honest with them? Or are you planning to lie and tell them their fears aren't based in reality?

If you don't plan on lying when they find out, why are you thinking about lying now? Do the right thing and be honest with your partner from the start, so they aren't suffering the consequences of your actions years down the line.

4. If You Were The One Being Cheated On, How Would You Feel?

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If you are really considering cheating on your partner, put the situation in reverse. How would you feel if they did something that violated the terms of your relationship behind your back? If your first reaction is to claim that you would be completely fine with it, ask yourself if you are being honest. Are you also OK with people lying to you? Do you have a hard time imagining what it would truly feel like because you know your partner would never betray you the way you are considering betraying them?

Toward the end of our relationship, that ex of mine who had the emotional affair told me that he would be completely OK if I went out and slept with someone else. And when I did, he was actually upset. "I thought you would give me more notice," he said. "Or ask me before you actually did it." It turned out that the only reason he had been OK with the thought of me sleeping with someone outside of our relationship was because he didn't think it could really happen.

That's what happens when you take someone for granted: You forget that they could be happier without you, particularly if you choose to introduce chaos, jealousy, and stress into your life. Before you think that your relationship is impervious to the effects of your cheating, ask yourself if you would stick around if you were put in the same position. Then, try to treat your partner with as much empathy as you have for yourself.

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