Getting cheated on is never easy.
No matter how many times it happens, it never gets any easier.
While some relationships are able to heal from infidelity, for most it is a deal breaker. If you have ever been cheated on, you know that it changes you. For a while afterwards, you carry the weight of anger, confusion, and trust issues.
Cheating also makes you question everything about the relationship; what went wrong, whether it was your fault, where you messed up, if it was even real from the beginning, and why they didn’t just leave.
Fortunately, we are here to answer the last question for you.
The Sense of Security
For many, being in a stable relationship provides a sense of security. When you are in a loving relationship, you may feel that your needs are being met, to some extent. Partners become comfortable and are used to receiving quality time, gifts, or validation from each other. Breaking up is difficult because it means getting used to their absence, not just knowing they are not present in your day.
This familiarity can make people afraid to make a change. They fear jeopardizing the safety of their relationship for the uncertain possibility of whether something new would work out. They want to explore their options without risking their current relationship until they are certain they can drop it.
Is this cowardly? You bet it is.
The Thrill of the Hunt
Boredom is a common phase in long-term relationships, and moving past it requires effort from both parties. However, sometimes one partner may not want to try and resorts to cheating instead of leaving. This may not make sense, but let me explain.
Before the relationship began, both parties were likely putting in a lot of effort. This effort was fueled by the dopamine release during the “chasing phase” – the thrill of the unknown. Even during the honeymoon phase, when things are lovey-dovey, partners are still afraid to show their true selves. They present an idealized version of themselves to make their partner want them more and try to create a comfortable space for them.
However, as time goes on, things change. Both partners build a lifestyle together where they feel included, and they know the other will always be around. This can sometimes lead to boredom and a lack of effort, which can be a dangerous combination in a relationship.
They Took You for Granted
It’s painful to hear, but the truth is that they believed you would always be there no matter what. Attachment plays a major role in this situation. When they saw how attached you were to them, they thought they could get away with anything. This is especially true if they have already crossed a boundary or two and you allowed it.
We often let others walk all over our boundaries out of fear of upsetting them or, worse, losing them. When those with a tendency to cheat are repeatedly forgiven without any real consequences, we are taken for granted.
It doesn’t mean you have to constantly keep your partner in fear of being abandoned over something trivial. Instead, an honest conversation about boundaries could give insight into who they really are.
With that being said,
There isn’t much you can do in a relationship to avoid being cheated on. Cheaters cheat in every case and you are not to blame. With that being said, our one piece of advice would be: don’t overlook red flags.
Once a cheater, always a cheater. If you know they have cheated on an ex, they are most likely to cheat on you, especially if you were the one they cheated on their ex with.
Additionally, ask yourself: do you often go out with a group of friends and find them openly flirting with someone? Do they joke about cheating? Do they admire their friend who cheated on their partner and got away with it? Do they only keep around ‘friends’ of a certain type? These are all red flags you shouldn’t ignore.
Lastly, have an honest conversation at the beginning of the relationship about what you both consider ‘cheating’. The meaning of it differs from one couple to another. Making sure you both understand each other’s boundaries makes it easier to hold each other accountable for your mistakes later on.