I closed the door with a thud squinting with my bloodshot eyes as the first rays of sunlight struck my face. An overwhelming feeling of nausea came over me.
Maybe it was the obscene amount of alcohol flooding my bloodstream. Maybe it was the five caps of MDMA I had consumed over the course of 5 hours or maybe it was the overwhelming guilt and sadness that was washing over me like a scolding hot shower.
I had just cheated on my girlfriend of two years. I had no excuse, no reason & no clear idea on what the f*ck to do now. Was I becoming the person that I had always dreaded I might become? Was I turning out to be just like my father?
I picked up my phone & for the first time in 12 hours I did the right thing. She answered and at the sound of her sweet and caring voice I lost all control. I burst into tears and confessed everything & then I made the biggest mistake of my life. I left. I ran from my problems & committed to becoming the person I despised the most.
How the f*ck did I let this happen?
Well that was 6 years ago now and it is safe to say I am a far better human now than I was back then. However, the guilt never left & although we re-ignited our damaged relationship the real issues were never confronted & sure enough just over a year ago our relationship dissolved.
I wish I had known what I know now 6 years ago. Why do we cheat?
Infidelity statistics show that in over a third of marriages one or both partners admit to cheating, unsurprisingly the numbers are higher among males: 22% of Men & 14% of Woman (Total - 34%). These percentages vary depending on age & location but the number is rising.
Controversial dating site Ashley Madison - a dating site for men & woman who are in committed relationships - has shared several alarming statistics which suggest a significantly higher number of 'cheaters' are out there. Interestingly the percentage of females cheating on their partners is growing faster.
But Why? Why do we cheat? And, is there anything we can do about it?
This blog will cover 4 reasons why we cheat on our partners. Being aware of which reason is most relevant to you is a start but it may not prevent you from cheating one day. I will also give you some ways that you & your partner can prevent the overwhelming hurt, betrayal & destruction of self confidence that is an inevitable result of infidelity.
So big words aside, let's learn why we cheat.
001 - Ego is Your Downfall
In a world dominated by social media, mainstream popularity, the glorification of reality TV and the dramatic rise of the Influencer. Ego has become a more threatening force than ever before. Ryan Holiday - author of NY Times bestseller, 'Ego is the Enemy' - suggests that if we can conquer our own ego's we can in fact achieve far more meaningful & fulfilling work.
What is a relationship but a continued work in progress? A relationship can in fact be a lifetime representation of meaningful & fulfilling work. If we are willing to put our ego's aside.
When you think of Ego what are your first thoughts? Let me hazard a guess - You are probably picturing someone cocky & over-confident. The 'Jock' who roams the halls with his super hot girlfriend in tow or the stunning blonde with incredible tits who struts past with her nose to the sky as men fumble their papers and spill coffee all over themselves just to catch a glimpse.
I have news for you, Ego is more than what you presume it to be & it is a huge reason behind why we cheat. Ego hides in the form of insecurities. Insecurities which lead to a hatred of ourselves which we then transfer into a hatred for our partner who we 'presume' does not look at us the same way any longer.
This might bruise your ego - If you are that person that sits their judging others who seem obsessed with their ego or if you are that person that allows the influence of others to affect how you view yourself. Then you my friend are under the seductive influence of your own ego. An ego which is feeding your insecurities.
As human beings we all have a need to feel significant. If our ego is telling us that we are no longer significant then we are going to try and find that significance any damn way we can. Maybe you just saw some pictures of Tom & Jane having "The Best Married Life Ever (Barf!)."
Maybe that image made you insecure about your own relationship. Maybe you went out with your mates to try and inflate your bruised ego. Maybe, after a few to many, you noticed that cute blondey at the end of the bar smiling at you. Maybe you realized that she made you feel significant again and temporarily your insecurities vanished.
Maybe 6am rolled around and you lay naked in a strange bed thinking to yourself, "How the F*CK did that happen." You then checked your phone only to find 20+ missed calls from your wife/girlfriend. "But I didn't mean to... it just happened baby." Of course you meant to! It's your Penis mate.
On a side note - Tom & Jane are probably only posting so many 'Happy Couple' photos because in reality they have a toxic relationship but their ego's won't allow them to talk over their insecurities. Instead they try to convince themselves and the world that they are happy and that you are not.
Ladies don't laugh just yet. Females nowadays are affected as much if not more by Ego than their more promiscuous male counterparts. You can thank Love Island for that one! Reality TV and Social Media has made us all more insecure than ever before.
Females especially are effected by how others perceive them, specifically how others perceive them based on their appearance. Females are constantly bombarded by shows & social media posts that make them feel less attractive thus fueling their insecurities. This may explain why female infidelity is rapidly on the rise. Ladies - stop posting insecure 'look at me I am sexy posts' your only fueling other female insecurities & your own.
Our Ego's are driving us more and more towards the quick fix. It's easy to cheat, "He/She will never know and we will both be happier for it." Right... and the earth is flat as well yeah?
Be completely open and honest about every single insecurity you have. Talk to each other, argue & find a resolution. Find something that you can both pursue in your life outside of your relationship that is meaningful & will offer you a continual source of significance.
Significance is like cocaine for your ego & it can come from anything. So channel your significance from something that helps you grow and contribute in a positive way.
The alternative is a life of lies, cheating and actual cocaine. Sounds great right? It's a short term solution to a long term problem. Trust me... The novelty wears off pretty damn quick.
Ego is your downfall but it can also be your saviour. Channel your Ego towards good and avoid that 6am phone call.
002 - Our Need for Variety/Uncertainty
Have you ever wondered why & how people go from being the couple that everyone looks up to and adores to the couple that cheats, lies and ends up never speaking again?
I did hahaha mainly because it happened to me. The answer is far simpler than you think. We all have a need for some level of variety in our life, a hint of risk and danger. There is a reason why the 'Bad boy' captures your heart in high school ladies. After all danger is sexy!
We also have a need for certainty which is why cheating is so appealing. We can have our danger & variety shrouded in secrecy (helped by apps like Ashley Madison) while still maintaining the security of a long term relationship/marriage.
Hell cheating also covers two more needs; Significance & Love. Well if it's so good then maybe this blog should be titled the 'Pro's of Cheating.' Then why the hell does it make you feel so damn sh*t afterwards? Simple - Your needs are being met through the wrong means.
Cheating may give temporary satisfaction but it does nothing to help you grow or contribute in a positive way. Aim to meet your need for variety & uncertainty in a mutually beneficial way.
Go Sky Diving! Metaphorically of course & also in real life, sky diving is f*cking awesome! Find your excitement and uncertainty in other ways. If you are a sexual person then try new things, purchase some sex toys, try out some new positions, learn about each others fantasies. Don't let your ego stop you from sharing what you truly want.
If sex isn't your main driver then go on adventures together, travel, explore, take up a new sport or start a business together. Uncertainty can be met in far more satisfactory ways than cheating. Cheating is just easy.
003 - Monogamy is not in Our DNA
Monogamy is the act of having one partner during your lifetime and it simply isn't in our DNA. I am not just saying this to excuse my cheating, that is a horrendous stain on my character which I will carry as a failure for the rest of my life.
Monogamy was invented by us and the reasons are not what you think. Love is what we associate marriage with, we choose to be with one person, to have sex with one person & to reproduce with one person because we love them. right?
What if I told you monogamy was actually adopted by predominately Christian societies around the time of the Roman Empire as a way to bolster numbers, increase political strength & please those with lower standings in a very ego driven society (Alexander, 1987).
Now this is just one plausible answer & there is still debate over how monogamy became the norm in human societies. Most historians and philosophers can agree that Monogamy has not always been our go to Facebook relationship status.
The reason why we are pulled toward the idea of having multiple sexual partners is due to our DNA. We come from a predominantly polygamous ancestry, historically powerful men would marry several wives for cultural & reproductive advantages.
There is also research that suggests early human communities would engage with multiple sexual partners regularly dependent on which females were ready to reproduce. Have you ever wondered why females make more noise while having sex? It comes from an ancient drive to signal their availability for reproduction.
Our desire for more sexual partners is partially due to our DNA but our ability to be self aware allows us to choose if that is what we want. If Polygamy is what you are after then it needs to be something that is mutually accepted. Yeah that's right Frank you can't just go f*ck crazy and expect Tabatha to just sleep with you.
If monogamy is not what you are after then talk with your partner they might be open to the idea of polygamy or just having different sexual partners. You can still be in love with each other so long as you have a mutual understanding of your primal needs.
The key here is that you are both committed to complete transparency and honesty. If you find polygamy is not for you then you need to be willing to say it even if it means ending the relationship.
004 - You Don't Know How to Fight!
As I mentioned in '6 Lessons I learnt from a Failed Relationship.' Fighting is crucial in a relationship, so long as you both know how to fight. I am not talking about jabs, right hooks, uppercuts or Connor McGregor. I am talking about arguments that have a resolution in mind.
Plenty of people have arguments and fights that result in a f*ck load of swearing, abuse & plate throwing but quite often result in no measurable outcome. This kind of fighting won't solve any real issues.
This kind of fighting will quite often result in one or both of you storming out of the house, slamming a bottle of Jack Daniels & f*cking the closest person to you in a seedy motel room. Not the ideal resolution right?
If you have an issue you need to voice it straight away, don't let it fester but don't throw it out there in an aggressive ego driven way. Write down your issues and come up with a plan as to how to present your argument.
When it comes to confronting your partner present your issues with the resolution first. Don't just list the problems and hope that your partner will figure out what it is you want resolved. Approach a fight with the solution to your problem & be open to opposing ideas.
If you have cheated in the past or you are thinking of cheating on your current partner then I guarantee your reasons can be traced back to one of these four; Ego, Your need for Variety, your genetic drive or your inability to confront problems as & when they arise.
Cheating may seem like the right thing to do at the time & it may give you temporary satisfaction but it will result in long term dissatisfaction, depression and a deep sense of guilt.
Now ask yourself, Why Cheat?
Life is Great. Travel is Better.
Paulo & Jacques