Cheating is the ultimate betrayal. It’s one of those whispered words and taboo topics that, unfortunately, is far more common than we would all like to believe. People choose to cheat in relationships for a number of reasons that range from the logical (though still unacceptable) to the absurd.
However, it is often what we learn from cheating, both as a cheater and as the one who is cheated on, that really makes a difference. In fact, as hard as it is to live through, cheating in a relationship can be one of the biggest eye-openers of your life.
Lessons Learned by Those Who Cheat
Not a lot of ink is spilled over the “poor souls” who cheat on their significant other. However, with the prevalence of advice geared at those who are cheated on, you know that there are plenty of them out there.
Like I said before, people cheat for a number of reasons, and what that reason is clearly dictates what they learn from the process. However, there are some common themes that cheating partners seem to glean from their affairs:
1. “I am not as good a guy/girl as I thought”
So many people have inflated self-images and see themselves as mostly good and honourable. Cheating makes them reevaluate that picture and come to terms with the fact that they are perhaps less perfect than they initially thought.
2.“Beauty isn’t everything”
We all want to look good, get in shape, take care of ourselves, etc. And when we are cheated on, many people justify that they weren’t [fill in the blank with something superficial] enough. However, cheaters report, time and time again, that they realize through the process that looks or weight or whatever isn’t everything. Just as many people cheat for emotional reasons as for physical ones.
3. “Don’t cheat with the one you ‘really’ want”
If you cheat on one significant other with someone else, the likelihood of ending up with the person you cheated with is more than impossible, it’s stupid. Even if you do stay together, the unraveling of the “fantasy” that cheating was and the reality of a relationship with a “known” cheater will almost always stop the new relationship before it starts.
4. “I don’t brag about this”
When it comes to men especially, the air that surrounds cheating seems almost ethereal. However, when it comes to men (and women) who actually cheat, those willing to talk about it at all are few and far between. In other words, this is not something to do for recognition or a feather in one’s cap.
Lessons Learned by Those Cheated on
The lessons that cheating partners learn are important, but those learned by those who are cheated on are far more valuable, since they apply whether you have been in this position or not:
1. Don’t Settle
An overwhelming number of cheating partners report that they knew their relationship was “over” before they began to cheat. In other words, they see the writing on the wall and use cheating as an excuse to end what is already going south.
This is cowardly, sure, but it also often speaks to both sides of the relationship.
Don’t stay in a relationship because it is easy or comfortable.You need to make sure your needs are being met and you are not devaluing yourself by staying with someone who doesn’t deserve your time, attention, and love.
2. You Are “Enough”
For further proof, see point #2 in the section above. No one cheats on their significant other because she isn’t pretty enough or he isn’t athletic enough. The right person will see you as enough as you are.
Plus, the reasons people cheat rarely have to do with such superficialities. There was nothing that simple that you could have changed to make your partner stay.
3. You Are Not “Bad” at Relationships
A lot of people try to blame themselves and their actions for a cheating partner. And, indeed, many cheating partners do the same. While there may be an argument for choosing better people or personality types in the future, it is not healthy to allow one bad experience and apply it to everything else. Oftentimes it is the people, not the relationship itself, that causes the problem.
In the End, You Are Most Important
The best thing that anyone can take away from being cheated on is the importance of self-love and self-actualization. You cannot define yourself by someone else or your relationship with them.
You are what (and who) matters in the end. Take cheating as an opportunity to reconnect with the one person you truly are stuck with forever – yourself!