... or That They Already Have
Phrases like “happily ever after” and “I will love your forever” is not the reality for over 52% of all marriages in America. What happens to couples beautiful dreams of “love you till death do us part” when so many people are cheating on their partners?
There are patterns that people who have committed infidelity have in common. I help my clients delve into their psyches in an effort to try to understand why they cheat and how to navigate the aftermath.
So you think your partner is cheating on you or has cheated in the past.
Let’s go inside the mind of the cheater and look at some of their behaviors.
Secrets of a cheater…
1. A cheater does not feel like an honest, truthful individual.
On one hand they are fully engaged in a full blown emotional and/ or physical affair, consumed by the yummy endorphins that are being released. On the other, they are filled with remorse, tears, feeling of dismay and a sense of being completely stuck. They may believe they are in love with their spouse but can't stop their feelings toward their affair partner.
2. The Cheater doesn’t feel worthy and often hides their insecurities
- they care deeply about what they look like, what clothes they wear, what car they drive and what they live in. They also care a great deal about what their spouse looks like. Often, they are critical as a way to avoid dealing with their insecurities.
-they hide their insecurities with expensive things
-level of self-indulgence
-sense of entitled to have a good time
-if the man is the cheater- he usuaylly does not have a close male friends.
These men base their self-worth on what others think and often act accordingly.
3. The Cheater often does not have a high threshold for feeling discontented and fights off an internal boredom
-they are masterful at multi-tasking
-they don’t make you feel like they are talking to you or even listening to you
-indulge too much in alcohol, exercise, work or their latest "project"
-is a risk taker
4. The Cheater does not feel comfortable with emotional intimacy
-very observant of other people’s behavior and mood
-often has the capacity for feeling empathic but can easily become overwhelmed by their feelings. This creates anxiety and stress, they don’t know how to deal with these feelings. Often the cheater has a behavior pattern of shutting off from people or staying very shallow to avoid being flooded with thoughts, feelings and evoking too much emotion.
5. The Cheater does not feel comfortable in social situations without the assistance of alcohol or drugs- (prescription or otherwise)
Although their partner repeatedly asks that they refrain from self-medicating with alcohol, drugs (prescribed or not), food, and/or exercise they do not.
The cheater is a master at blowing off others concerns by accusing others of being neurotic or anxious.
6. Cheaters don't forgive themselves for what they have done (or doing) to their spouses, children and/or selves. They are struggling to deal with feeling of Shame.
Shame is a very powerful and destructive emotion. It can lead to anxiety, depression and self-destructive behavior.
7. The Cheater doesn’t believe what they are doing is morally right.
They are flooded with conflict that often comes across as defensiveness, irritation, and disinterest in you and family.
8. The Cheater doesn’t know how to make peace with old traumas such as broken hearts or traumatic loss.
They have a habit of telling the same stories over and over again. Or, they have a habit of complaining about the same things over and over.
9. The Cheater is a master at compartmentalizing parts of their lives.
Despite the intensity of the conflict of having an affair, still loving their spouse and family but not stopping engaging in the affair they have an amazing ability to compartmentalize. This allows some cheaters to go undiscovered for months and even years.
10. The Cheater does not
Want the world to know they could be one of those people who have an affair! They will not share their secret of having the affair with anyone, except hopefully a therapist.
11. The Cheater does not have the courage to say to their partner that they are not happy with the status of their marriage.
Instead, they create lots of drama with a big dose of pain, to serve as the wake-up call.
By the time I meet the Cheater, they are full of guilt and feelings of hopelessness or they have just GOT caught by their spouse. The most popular way people are getting caught these days is by their phones.
Technology has made it so easy to cheat and even easier to get caught.
The common denominator of all the people I have helped through their infidelity is that no one ever sets out to hurt their spouse. Unresolved childhood, adolescent issues and traumas are a direct reason for a person to cheat on their partner. With insight, patience, compassion and guidance I help client’s move through their pain and find peace and healing.
-Nancy Kislin, LCSW and MFT