What Is Cheating? Couples Counselling Sydney, Central Coast and Online
Cheating within the context of an intimate relationship is often a topic for debate and dispute. We hear about this in the tabloids when prominent political figures or celebrities get caught doing things they really shouldn't be doing with people who are not their partners.
This also means different things to different couples and is ultimately up to each couple to decide what cheating means in the context of their relationship.
Some couples agree to engage in swinging or partner swapping and that is deemed as OK as long as no one becomes emotionally involved.
I have had enough couples seeking counselling for this situation to be able to say.....it probably won't work given enough time.
So what may be deemed to be cheating?
- Anything that you need to keep a secret from your partner.
- Anything that feels wrong to you because you know it will hurt your partner if they found out.
- Knowingly breaking any agreement that you have made with your partner. This even includes what you have agreed about money as well as sexual fidelity.
- Telling white lies to your partner because the truth "might hurt them" if they knew.
- Emotional intimacy with someone of the opposite sex can be just as damaging as sexual intimacy.
- All the above applies if it is "virtual" cheating on the internet, by text message or e-mail. Cybersex counts!
Genevieve Gannon reports in an article in smh.com.au on August 7, 2012, Natural Born Cheaters:
"The idea that a liaison outside marriage is harmless - even healthy - has become so widely accepted there's a website devoted to facilitating adulterous liaisons.
In Australia alone, more than 400,000 people are actively seeking affairs online. They are paid-up members of an infidelity dating website."
What are the usual consequences of cheating?
- Your partner will usually feel betrayed.
- Trust will be broken and is extremely hard to recover.
- Your partner may go through a grieving process for what they feel as being a significant loss.
- Your partner may feel very angry and end the relationship if the betrayal is a "deal breaker" for them.
- You may feel guilty or confused - unsure of what you really want.
Recovery After an Affair or Infidelity
Recovering from an affair can be an incredibly challenging and painful process. Infidelity can shatter trust, destroy relationships, and leave both partners feeling hurt, angry, and confused. However, with time, effort, and a commitment to healing, it is possible for couples to overcome the damage caused by an affair and rebuild their relationship.
Steps to Recovery
- Acknowledge the pain and hurt
- Identify the underlying issues that contributed to the affair
- Be patient and compassionate with each other
It is important to understand that healing is a process that takes time and requires both partners to be committed to the process. This means being open and honest with each other about their feelings, being willing to listen and understand each other's perspectives, and being patient and compassionate with each other.
This may involve exploring issues such as communication, trust, intimacy, and personal insecurities. It is important for both partners to take responsibility for their actions and to work together to address these underlying issues.
Forgiveness is not about forgetting what happened or excusing the behaviour, but rather about letting go of the anger and resentment that can prevent healing and growth. Forgiveness requires both partners to be willing to let go of the past and to focus on building a stronger and healthier relationship in the future.
Healing from an affair isn’t easy, and there may be setbacks along the way. However, with a commitment to honesty, openness, and a willingness to work through your issues, you can emerge from the experience stronger and more connected than ever before.
What are the chances of recovery after cheating?
- This will depend on the commitment of both parties to do the work of re-connection and re-establishing trust.
- It can take some years to regain trust.
- It depends also, on the meaning that the betrayed person attaches to what happened.
- It depends on each person's value system.
- It also depends on the degree of goodwill left in the relationship.
- Sometimes there are more important factors involved than sexual betrayal, as motivation for healing the relationship.
Why Do Happy Couples Cheat?
Published on May 21, 2015
"Infidelity is the ultimate betrayal. But does it have to be? Relationship therapist Esther Perel examines why people cheat, and unpacks why affairs are so traumatic: because they threaten our emotional security. In infidelity, she sees something unexpected — an expression of longing and loss. A must-watch for anyone who has ever cheated or been cheated on, or who simply wants a new framework for understanding relationships.
Source: Ted Talks