Once a cheater always a cheater? Could we have found the reason that some people cheat and therefore be closer to zapping this common problem?
The probability of someone cheating during the course of a relationship varies between 40 and 76 percent – says Geneviève Beaulieu-Pelletier, PhD student at the Université de Montréal’s Department of Psychology.
Ever discovered that your partner has been cheating, or has cheated on you? Did you somehow think that you could be to blame? Maybe you were under the illusion that the figure of temptation must be thinner, sexier, more intelligent than you?
Did it even cross your mind that you partner could possibly have felt something emotionally for this other person and that if you had somehow been that little bit more funny, spontaneous or wild that their attentions would never have veered off course in the first place?
1) Blaming yourself? You are never to blame!
How would you feel if I told you that all of the above may be totally off track, and that your partner could have actually have cheated in order to stop themselves from straying too far from you? Sounds bizarre doesn’t it, and no, I am not about to start making excuses for those who have broken marriage vows, but there is new evidence out there to support the fact that lovers may cheat as they are suffering with what is known as an avoidant attachment style personality.
What this means, is that the person with this personality type, has had something ingrained into their subconscious, right from being little, that has left them fearing rejection, and therefore avoiding commitment or attachment. We have all flirted with the fear of letting ourselves fall for someone at the risk of being rejected for who we are.
People with avoidant attachment personality types, may have suffered some sort of loss in their early life, and fear losing those they love, and so hard as it may seem to comprehend, the fact that they may throw themselves into the arms of another, may actually be because their fear has kicked in and they are scared of losing you.
2) Cheating keeps their love for you stronger than ever!
In distracting themselves with the initial buzz of an illicit affair, they are able to almost give themselves that high, that distracts them from facing the real problem. On the flip side of the coin, they also almost dabble with danger, and flirt with the risk of being found out, thus engaging in what could well end up as self sabotaging behaviour. If they push their loved one away, then they cannot be rejected, so in a round about way, they may often wind up being the catalyst for the very reason that they began their affair in the first place.
In a nutshell, turning their attentions to another often salvages the relationship with the one that they love (providing they do not get caught out of course!) because through avoiding having to face their underlying issues, those feelings that make them want to run – they are able to switch off from that panic mode, and then return to the safety of their love nest once they realise that they have actually gone and cheated!
3) Yes we may have found the reason but no it is not acceptable! Help is at hand!
Of course, if you are on the receiving end of such behaviour, all of the theoretical explanations in the world won’t help with the lasting damage that infidelity can do not only to a relationship, but also to both individuals. One thing that must be clarified, is that if you suspect that your partner could be living comfortably within the avoidant attachment personality zone, then you cannot make excuses for them and allow them to become too comfortable there, even if you can try and understand it.
Talking to your partner about your suspicions and making it clear that you are willing to support them through getting help is one way to handle things, but don’t allow yourself to become a doormat. If he or she thinks that they can excuse their behaviour every time, then you will soon find them repeating the cycle over and over, until you cannot take it any more.
4) It all comes down to FEAR. Are you going to let it kick YOUR butt?
Understand together, that the fuel that feeds the compulsion to run, is fear and as long as fear is given this incredible power, then your partner (and also yourself) are actually living as victims of an emotion – an emotion that we can actually learn to master.
Seeking some form of couples therapy would be a good place to initially look at how to tackle this issue, and perhaps the one who is cheating could work on the underlying issues via individual treatment.