Cheating is a self-serving act. No one benefits from cheating except the cheater, and maybe the person they are cheating with. It doesn't matter what the underlying reason is that leads to the act of cheating, ultimately, people cheat because they are selfish. I say this because cheating is a choice, and the cheater chooses to cheat rather than find another way to deal with their issues.
Scientific America published an article titled, Why Do People in Relationships Cheat? The article looks at a completed study on why people decide to cheat. 495 people were recruited and participated in the study. An analysis of the study revealed eight key reasons that lead to cheating: anger, self-esteem, lack of love, low commitment, need for variety, neglect, sexual desire, and situation or circumstance. These "reasons" or feelings are not uncommon in relationships and most people have, or will experience them. I look at the reasons listed in this study as the motivation behind the cheating, rather than the actual cause of cheating.
It's easy for people to say they cheated because they were angry, unhappy or felt neglected by their partner. However, cheating has nothing to do with the person they are in a relationship with. Cheating is about the character of the person doing the cheating and how they deal with their feelings in relationships. When you feel anger, neglect, or any of the feelings listed above, you have the option to discuss the situation with your partner or to end the relationship. If you decide to cheat rather than deal with the issues or leave the relationship, you are choosing self gratification over doing the right thing. This is what makes cheating selfish. As hard that may be to accept, it is the truth.
Now, allow me to clear the air, so that men don't think I'm saying they are the only ones who cheat. People cheat. Men cheat. Women cheat. We are human beings with feelings, needs and desires. Gregory Lions posted an article about cheating in which he basically says that cheating is just a violation of the rules of the game of fidelity. He goes on to say that if we are honest with ourselves, "then we'd acknowledge the fact that we are sexually attracted to more than one individual." He also says that We as human beings, "attempt to enforce a set of Puritanical moral codes" on ourselves that contradict our physical desires. While he may not be wrong, I believe he downplays the importance of religion and morals on human existence. This cannot be underestimated considering the impact it has on our every day lives, whether we are interested in it or not. Furthermore, those "Puritanical moral codes" he's speaking of are what many people base their beliefs and views of relationships on. So although being attracted to more than one person may be human nature, as he says in his article, we can't ignore the need as humans to form meaningful relationships rooted in religious beliefs because that too, is human nature. Therefore, being attracted to more than one person doesn't validate or constitute cheating.
There is no validation for cheating. People cheat because their feelings lead them to give into their desires. If you are being neglected in your relationship why cheat rather than discuss it and work it out with your partner? If you're attracted to someone else why is your response to cheat rather than control your urges and be faithful to your partner? If you are not able to be with only one person, why are you in a relationship with someone who expects monogamy? Before you cheat, I challenge you to ask yourself, "what is wrong?" Not what is wrong with the person you're cheating on, but what is wrong with you. Is there anything that has gone unaddressed?What is it that you hope to gain from cheating? Should you end your relationship or discuss an open relationship? Get to the bottom of why you are acting out by cheating. Be honest with your partner and most importantly, be honest with yourself.
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