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The Reason People Cheat

Cheating is one of the most traumatic and devastating things that can happen in a relationship. Often times, the infidelity is thought to occur because the ‘other person’ is more attractive or successful. In my experience as a marriage and couples therapist, the reason someone cheats typically stems from a lack of connection within the marriage.

While disconnection is experienced differently in every relationship, it commonly results in a lack of emotional intimacy. Partners may stop communicating about anything of emotional significance, or one or both might isolate or withdraw. Furthermore, as the distance between spouses grows, one partner might become increasingly angry and frustrated, sending the message that they are unhappy in their marriage and their spouse is failing them. These negative feedback loops are responsible for things like fighting, poor communication, and even a sense of hopelessness.

Disconnection is rarely sudden, but when partners are unable to communicate in ways that create closeness, validation and reassurance, one often begins to experience their spouse and relationship with discontent and indifference. As a result, marriages and relationships become vulnerable to infidelity. Of course, this doesn’t mean that every relationship is at risk of an affair or that someone has already cheated. However, when partners feel trapped in negative feedback loops and are having difficulty communicating in ways that repair and create connection, it is an indication that intervention is needed. The good news is that if couples seek intervention with a skilled therapist early, infidelity risk factors can be identified and mitigated. 

 

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