I came across an e-mail from WebMD the other day that I actually found quite intriguing. (Yes, I’m subscribed to e-mails from Web-MD, and yes, I’ve self-diagnosed myself with cancer several times in the past). Anyway, this e-mail was chock-full of pertinent information that I knew would be extremely helpful to anyone in a relationship or someone who’s looking for answers. The first thing I did upon opening the e-mail was take a ‘quiz’ to test my knowledge on different aspects of infidelity. Much to my surprise, I actually answered every question correctly.
In hindsight, though, I’m pretty sure I scored a 100% because I’ve been through it before – I’ve been cheated on and I have cheated, and I’m the kind of person who wants to why when something happens. So, when I was cheated on, I asked my boyfriend at the time(s) about it and told him to be honest about it; when I cheated, I sat down and really tried to ask myself what I was feeling that made me think it was okay. In both instances, I got answers similar to the ones I gave for this little quiz. For those who don’t really know how to explore themselves or who don’t really want to ask their significant other why they cheated (because, let’s face it, you might not want to know), here’s the Q&A on infidelity:
Q: Most men who cheat are unhappy in their relationship: True or False?
A: This is FALSE! Ladies, it has been statistically proven that almost all guys will cheat if they feel like they need more sexual gratification or even attention. Yes, men are quite like children in the sense that they are in constant need of your regard – whether they admit it or not – because they don’t want to feel like the relationship is one-sided. That being said, keep this in mind: Guys feel like they are supplementing the relationship when they cheat, whereas women look to literally replace their partner when they cheat (I'll get to that in just a sec).
That’s why guys tend to get a worse rep when it comes to cheating than girls because the male brain is wired to think of additional sex or gratification as an “add-on” to what you two have; he’s not looking to get rid of you, he just wants something extra. Does that make it okay? Hell no. But, in a guy’s mind, cheating means he’s still thinking of you, but not considering how you feel…no justification here, just explanation. Your guy should value your relationship enough to suppress those feelings of desire and appreciate you and your desires. Guys – if you feel like you need satisfaction from a third-party, TALK! Relationships are always best between people who communicate with one another on all levels, so if you’re feeling distant from your girl, let her know. She’ll be more likely to listen before you do something rather than forgive you after you do.
Q: Women are more likely than men to give the following reason for cheating –
A: Loneliness. Okay girls, it’s your turn to feel the heat. When you cheat on your guy the absolute number one reason is because you feel like you’re missing something. Whether it’s emotional, physical or otherwise, most times we can’t put our finger on exactly what it is, we just know. (Guys, you’ve heard that before, I’m sure).
But, in all seriousness, women almost always cheat to fill a void, and it’s almost always an emotional one. According to WedMD, “Women are more emotionally connected to the person they love, making them more likely to have an affair if they begin to feel lonely or unwanted.” Guys, that’s why it’s absolutely crucial for you to pay attention: If she’s hinting at things, posting things on social media about what her dream man would do, or if she flat out tells you what the hell is bothering her – listen! That will be the best thing you’ll ever do for her and your relationship, I can guarantee.
Q: If you think your partner is cheating/has cheated, you should discuss it with them, even if you don’t have any concrete evidence: True or False?
A: Duh – TRUE. As I said before, communication is a key player in any relationship. Actually, most marriages that result in divorce are due to a lack of communication rather than infidelity itself. “Experts say that it’s important to address concerns about infidelity early, even if you don’t have clear proof that they’re having an affair. Whether or not it happened, the couple should still work on their trust and communication if this is even an issue.”
Q: People who are highly educated are less likely to cheat: True or False?
A: True. Now, the site doesn’t explain the why (for those of you who have a similar mindset to mine), but I can certainly explain my own justification for answering 'True'. People who have been through the higher education system inevitably become better at communicating than those who haven’t – you’re quite literally forced to open up and share your thoughts and feelings throughout your years at college more so than at any other point in your life.
With that being said, people who have obtained a degree or are in the process of one are actually less likely to cheat on their partner than someone who had either dropped out of high school or who holds only a high school diploma, because they are better able to communicate or openly express themselves. Just because these are the stats, doesn’t mean that there aren't outliers on either end of the spectrum (i.e. my parents, who both have only high school diplomas and have been happily married for 20+ years). There are also educated individuals who cheat or have cheated because of a lack of communication – it goes both ways. No matter what, it still boils down to the fact that you have to talk in a relationship. Here are the numbers for those who are interested: 13% of people with a college education have cheated on their partners, while 19% of those who hold a high school diploma or Associates degree and 21% of those who dropped out of high school.
Q: A partner may be cheating (or thinking about it) if they do the following –
A: Change their appearance, constantly criticize you and/or give you gifts. This doesn’t mean that if your man surprises you with a necklace for your birthday or “just because” flowers at work that he’s having an affair. It also doesn’t mean that if your girl is starting to think she’s packing on a few pounds because she hasn’t been hitting the gym as much as she was before you two met, that she’s seeing someone else. You have to know your partner – know when something seems different about them, get to know how they operate, because then you’ll be able to see discrepancies in their individual behaviors. Personally, I know that my boyfriend is an avid gym rat, so I’m not going to think twice if he spends hours there working on his body. However, if something like that is a little out-of-character for your guy (or girl) give it another look and ask them about it – calmly. Don’t jump right into saying something regarding infidelity, but also, let them know how you’re feeling about the change that you notice. If they become defensive about your questioning them, it might be high time to hit the road before you’re in too deep.
Q: The best way to heal a relationship after infidelity is –
A: Couple’s therapy. Although this pertains more to a couple that’s married or is planning on marriage, it makes sense to note. Other viable options and the other possible answers included Temporary separation, Individual therapy or Anger management. While these all seem like good options, they aren’t really sensible for the problem; separation is equivalent to putting your relationship and the problems on the backburner so-to-speak, and doing that will only prolong the issues at hand. Anger management won’t help unless there’s an actual issue of abuse in the relationship due to an uncontrolled source of anger (in which case, you probably should remove yourself from any relationship until the person has themselves in check), and individual therapy will actually end up creating a blockade or secrecy between the two of you, allowing things to be told in private about the relationship that you feel you can’t discuss openly with your partner.
I guess the takeaway from this entire article is this: Pay attention to your relationship – care about the person you’re with enough to openly communicate with them about anything you’re feeling, experiencing or going through. Look, being in a relationship with someone shouldn’t be difficult or stressful, but a healthy relationship does have its own requirements, that’s just how it is. You have to work to make the relationship work, but if you’re doing it right, it won’t feel like work. And as the old, cliché saying goes: “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life”.
“Have Fun. Be Fun. Forever.”