I Can’t Stop Cheating

 

If you’re in a love relationship and you can’t stop cheating, the first step is to consider is the idea that you have an emotional problem. Plainly stated, you have a problem with intimacy. If you can accept that, you get to go on, and with enough self-dedication change your “psychological love life.” That’s your “internal love life blueprint” that recreates the love life you will inevitably experience. The only real way to change your love life for the better, is to identify your own unique psychological love life and change it.

Now there are a couple of different kinds of cheating, and one is  harder to change than the other. Type 1: The most difficult kind is cheating as an addiction or compulsion. This mean you cheat because you have to. It’s just what you do when you are in a love relationship. You don’t even have to think about it much. It always happens when you are in love, period. The reason this is harder to cure is because there’s something about human intimacy that scares the bejesus out of you and you don’t even know why. By that I mean, you’re good at putting it to the side, and not thinking about it.

Like any other addiction, you won’t make any headway changing yourself until you stop cheating. Take a break, because you now know cheating, as a compulsive action, will ruin your love life. Chances are you’ll be alone, older, and still trying to cheat, if you don’t. This is what you’ll experience when you stop, and dedicate yourself to changing your psychological love life:  the absence of cheating as a defensive distraction away from your intimacy problem, will permit your relevant personal issues to emerge into your consciousness where you can work on them.

Once there, you can start to figure out what all the running away from intimacy is about in your love life. You might find out that at one point or another in your life, starting at the beginning of your life, you’ve experienced some kind of unresolved hurt in love that keeps you from ever needing somebody again in such a vulnerable way. Keeping love relationships superficially intimate, focused on attraction instead of relationship, and across several people, is an effective way of trying to “avoid” any additional hurt.

Also, consider the possibility that you may have learned that cheating is part of a person’s love life in adulthood. Perhaps that was  taught to you by a parent or somebody else you looked up to. This kind of learning, especially if its unknown to you, can strongly reinforce the compulsive need to keep this kind of defensive habit going.

Type 2: Then of course, there is cheating because you are not getting what you “need” from someone you are in love relationship with. Cheating being the easiest way not to solve the problem of intimacy: just add another person to your love life. Now this kind of cheating, called infidelity when you’re married, always occurs in the context of a particular, supposedly committed, love relationship. It exists because of an unresolved relationship or marital problem.

In most instances of this type of cheating, the person you are in a love relationship is loved by you, with no intention of being “laid off” by you, so to speak. Without really thinking about it, you simply feel you can’t solve your relationship problem in any other way. Of course, your relationship problem can exist in many different forms: less sex than you feel you should get or need (a common reason among male cheaters), a feeling of not being loved (a common reason among female cheaters), etc.

It’s also common for this kind of cheating to produce what I like to call unhealthy “love triangles.” Example, a committed man and two women, one being his wife. Or a committed woman and two men, one being her husband. Apart from all the emotional pain this limited love triangle will produce, it will never solve the original intimacy problem that continues to exist.

Lastly, the “cure” for this type of cheating can be difficult for most Type 2 cheaters. Open admission of cheating, then a motivated effort to solve the intimacy problem with your love partner in or out of couple therapy. By the way, the admission of cheating is important, and understandably most people try to get around it. It puts the decision to stay or leave the relationship evenly in two people’s hands, by removing the secrecy, one person is trying to have over the other. If you tell your love partner you’ve been cheating on him or her, and sincerely want to work on your relationship with him or her, taking the risk to admit the reality, gets you points. Only if and when your partner decides to risk staying in a love relationship with someone who has already lied and is promising not to lie again.

Dr. Thomas Jordan, author of….Learn to Love: Guide to Healing Your Disappointing Love Life

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Dr. Jordan

Dr. Thomas Jordan is a clinical psychologist, certified interpersonal psychoanalyst, author, professor, and love life researcher.