The Reasons We Cheat

Jealousy runs amok

Photo by zelle duda on Unsplash

My childhood dentist was having sex with my mom. She called him “the painless dentist” to my delight. After my parent’s divorce, a neighbor told my dad, who told me and I told my brother. We continued to see the dentist and chuckled in the waiting room when my mom closed the door behind her to “talk” to him. I was twelve.

That same year, my dad felt the need to inform me about the wild love affairs he had when I was only a baby. There was a woman named Terry, a stripper, and an ongoing lover named Sylvia whom he dated after the divorce for many years.

After moving in with my first live-in boyfriend, I told my dad that my boyfriend admitted he was interested in other girls. My dad warned me that I would have to grow accustomed to someone cheating on me. The funny part is…I became the cheater instead.

Primary Narcissism

Freud developed a concept in which he believed that babies could not separate themselves from their environment. Their mother, their toys, their food, their boob was attached to the core of their being. A baby will not disengage from their environment until several later stages. The tendency to act as if the person you are dating is attached to you is pervasive for many couples even into adulthood. Primary narcissism can sneak up on some lost souls. And unlike the baby, the jealous partner destroys all they cannot have as their own.

Photo by Siora Photography on Unsplash

There are three reasons that a person cheats. And none of the reasons truly have no real connection to their partner even if it seems so at first glance.

1. The first reason a person decides to cheat relates to the innate awareness that who you love does not truly love you. In this case, the cheater seeks love outside of their relationship to punish their partner for not loving them the way they want to be loved.

It is possible that the cheater is unable to accept being loved and perceives their partner as an ominous pain creator. Therefore, even if the partner loves the cheater, the partner cannot love the cheater in the way that repeats a past need that was left unattained by the inner child inside the cheater.

The skewed perception of the cheater’s immediate concernis safety. In order to save oneself from being cheated on by the person who does not truly love you, the cheater cheats first. A powerful surge accompanies this thrill, and the mind games begin as you become more and more delusional that the partner deserves to be objectified like a play thing that has lost its appeal.

All along, you play nice and work both angles. You are a walking self fulfilling prophesy that cleans your own wounds before you are torn and tattered

I remember the first time I cheated on a boyfriend. The guy was tall, handsome, emotionally unavailable, and perfect. I did not have to tie up loose ends, I found a playmate who could care less that he was entangling himself into relationship triangulation. Those who find themselves in the middle between two people become the casualty, but the cheater’s jealous belief systems validify the sex, the emotional infidelity, and all of the lies and backtracking.

2. The next reason a person cheats is rooted in childhood. Somewhere along the line, the cheater was abandoned by someone that they loved. This scar, buried deep, is left to fester until adulthood. The cheater creates a situation where the cheater must leave their partner before they leave you.

And what is the best way to get someone to leave you? You cheat on them. This scenario works out well because the cheater will be left with either the one they love or develop a new obsession with the person with whom they cheated.

The mind of the cheater is not grounded in reality. They are constantly triggered by feelings of abandonment that never dissipate until the cheater is ready to change. However, change requires vulnerability. Vulberability follows a willingness to change and that is what the cheater fears most. The world is an extension of themselves as every narcissist feels. To seperate from the world feels like death itself. Therefore, a vicious cycle continues throughout the cheater’s life. “once a cheater always a cheater,” becomes the abandoned person’s decree.

3. The third reason a person cheats is simply that they do not love themselves. They seek approval from external sources and a need for insatiable attention anywhere that they can get it. Similar to a needy, narcissitic baby, the cheater views the world as their playground and vows to take and take and take from others what thye are due.

This type of cheater is usually charming, well equipped to manipulate, and unwilling to share the spotlight with their partner. Everything is about them. And everyone is a source of fulfillment to their undying need to be loved.

I cheated on another boyfriend several times whenever he was out of sight. I did not care about who I hurt as long as my needs were met. I could not resist the temptation to be wanted by someone at every moment.

While my intellect was high, my emotional maturity level waned. I complained that I wanted to get married but what I really wanted was for someone to ask me to marry them. I never even considered the next day. The day when happily ever after begins with the same sexual partner forever.

The Outcome

In all scenarios, the cheater will end up alone. The traits of primary narcissism usually linger in the first year of childhood. But some part of the infant’s capacity to sever their emotional tie to their environment goes awry.

Only two decisions can be made; the cheater can continue pursuing relationships where the cheater will seek out another warm body for some lovin’. Or…a person may, if they are lucky, find the humility they need to start fulfilling their own needs through self-care and loving acts.

One can only hope that the cheater finds the latter. Because if they do, if they become a recovered cheater, the possibility of a wonderful partnership may await them. But none of this can happen if the cheater is not willing to do the work it takes to change how they feel inside.

For me, the journey to monogamy has brought me to the greatest height of love. I grimace and shake thinking of how I used to be. Thankfully, I am devoted to my marriage and my partner is undeniably devoted to me.

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