If you've ever been cheated on, you know the pain and anguish that accompanies it. The feelings of rejection and helplessness are almost unbearable, but rest assured there is something you can do to help the situation.
Here's how you can help change a cheating partner -- if they're willing to change too.
Cheating Is Only the Symptom
Cheating is almost always the symptom of some other issue within the relationship. By focusing solely on the act of cheating, we're missing the point entirely. This may be different than what you've heard in the past but if you read the rest of this article, you'll have a much better understanding of cheating and how to stop it.
When one partner cheats on the other, it is usually because some physical or emotional need isn't being met in the current relationship and for some reason they don't feel safe addressing the issues with their current partner. It could be embarrassment, fear of being judged or criticized, or the complete inability of either partner to listen or communicate in a compassionate and loving way.
Many partners have affairs because they don't feel appreciated or maybe they need a confidence boost to know they've "still got it," so they seek the approval of someone else to satisfy that need. Are you appreciating your partner in the way that they need to feel loved? We all experience love and appreciation differently. Some people like to hear certain words, or be touched in a certain way. Others like to received gifts or simply need to feel heard and understood to feel loved. How do you and your partner like to be loved?
One partner may not be getting enough sex or having satisfying sex, or they may want to feel in control or have repressed anger towards their partner that they're not letting out. In some cases it may even be that he or she is simply repeating a relationship pattern from their past, or their parents past.
Either way, the one thing that is common between almost all cheaters is that they have some kind of unfulfilled need -- something they aren't getting from their current partner. It's critical to pay attention to your partner and to create a safe environment where he or she feels safe bringing up issues or sharing when their needs are not being met. Once you begin to understand the reasons behind cheating, only then can you begin to move forward.
Own Your Part of the Cheating
I'm not saying that the cheater is the victim, but neither are you and the sooner you stop acting like a victim, the better off you will be in all areas of your life. Once again, cheating is a symptom of some other issue within the relationship -- and it's critical that you take 100 percent ownership of your relationship rather than pointing fingers and assigning blame to your partner. If you want your partner to stop cheating, talk to them about it. Ask them what they need to have in your current relationship to feel satisfied and let them know you're going to do your best to meet those needs. If it's purely sex, ask them what you can do to make sex hotter and more satisfying for your partner. If your partner is seeking the approval of someone else, stop and think about how you're treating your partner in the relationship. Are you putting them down? Do you criticize them often? If so, your partner may be seeking time with someone who simply dotes on them and enjoys spending time with them without the criticism. Take the time to analyze exactly what is behind your partner's cheating, because it may not be what you think. Make the initiative to change the relationship and try to meet those needs at home, so your partner doesn't have to look elsewhere.
Focus on creating a safe and loving environment where your partner can share anything with you and the cheating will stop.
Is Your Partner Willing To Change?
That said, you can only do so much to change the relationship to try to meet your partner's needs. Your partner must have the desire to stop cheating and work on being more involved in the relationship too. They must be willing to not only change themselves, but they have to be open and honest enough to let you know what is truly causing them to cheat. You deserve to be in a happy, fulfilling relationship with someone who honest and open with you about absolutely everything. And when a partner cheats, it takes both of you to fix it. Both partners have to be willing to discuss the issues and make the required changes. If your partner simply shuts down when you try to talk to them about how to change the situation, flat out denies cheating (with substantial proof otherwise) or doesn't desire to change their ways at all, it might be time to think about moving on.
As always, please seek the help of a professional counselor if you're unable to work through the issues on your own.