So, you’ve been in a committed relationship with your partner for a while and everything has been going well, but something just feels… off. You can’t understand why or where this feeling is stemming from, but your intuition is telling you that something isn’t right. As the days go by, the feeling increases, but you still can’t pinpoint why. Your partner starts coming home from work later and leaving earlier. He/she is less affectionate and colder towards you. Are you imagining it?
And how can you know for sure? Do you confront them directly with your suspicions (at the risk of being lied to, yelled at or rebuffed), or play Inspector Gadget and conduct your own research in private to discover the truth? Cheating is the silent, secret assassin of any relationship.
Everyone has a different definition of what technically classifies cheating: Is it flirting? Texting? Kissing? Sex? The list can go on and on. Either way, having an emotional and/or physical affair is a choice, and usually stems from one (or both) partner’s needs or desires not being met within the current relationship. Sometimes, it can have nothing to do with the unknowing partner – it can be caused by insecurity, emotional immaturity, stress, financial struggles, etc. Is this an excuse to cheat? No. You and your partner need to understand that there are consequences to those actions, and it’s a decision you cannot reverse. If you sense that something’s off, carve out some time to communicate and assess your current relationship as soon as possible, before the volcano get the chance to explode.
A problem arises and takes root within the relationship. The partners become disconnected and have difficulty communicating clearly. The cheater slowly starts drifting away from their current partner and shifts their focus elsewhere, intentionally or otherwise. They become more repulsed and annoyed by their current partner, and the lies slowly start to build. They may be sending (at first innocent) texts to someone else that quickly turn romantic, and more. Daily lies become the norm. Although they may want to stop the secret rendezvous, the rush keeps them addicted and the fear of hurting their partner or facing their issues head-on keeps them quiet. You think to yourself, “Can the relationship be mended at this point?” All of the love looks different to you now. Everything you did for that person, they no longer have any interest in.
No matter how connected to your partner you may feel or how invested in the relationship you may be, know that you deserve better. Being single is actually much better than being lied to, cheated on and disrespected. And the damage a deep betrayal causes can be lasting. The hurt can hinder your future relationships, if you don’t release it and allow yourself to heal. Try to separate your heart from your brain. There is no shame in leaving an unfaithful partner. If you do, however, choose to stay and collectively rebuild your relationship, be sure you are both going in with a new commitment to honesty and a desire to strengthen the foundation you’d set at the beginning. Reflect back, together, to the root of when you first met. What attracted you to each other? What excited you and challenged you about them? What do you love most about the relationship? Can you truly rebuild the trust, or will the past be brought up in arguments as ammunition against each other? Can you admit your faults and accept the blame together to fix the issues?
Love is supposed to be the deepest and most exhilarating connection between two people, and we know it can be complicated. What’s most important in navigating your relationships is respecting and loving yourself first. Not in a selfish, put-your-wants-above-all-outcomes kind of way, but in an authentic, secure, self-worthy kind of way, which makes you better suited to giving and accepting love from another person.
Guest Post by Sandy Dapoz
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