Interestingly enough cheating in a relationship is perceived to be a lot more common than it actually is.  Statistics show that most people feel that about 50% or half of all relationships will face an affair, but in reality the percentage is closer to 18-20% of both men and women admit to have cheated in a relationship at some point in their lifetime.

Perhaps the reason that many people perceive that cheating happens at least twice as often as it really does is because of the emotional impact that it has on a relationship.  There is no denying the hurt that comes with an affair.   Cheating can be so painful that for some, it becomes grounds for divorce, and in some states it is even illegal with penalties that include fines up to $10,000 and potentially 3 years of jail time.

So what causes someone to cheat in the first place?  Perhaps if we knew, we could address it ahead of time and prevent it from ever happening in the first place.  When asked, people site all kinds of reasons for cheating, including “having a moment of weakness”, or they felt like something was missing in their relationship”, or some combination of both. Yet, regardless of the varying details, there are really only two reasons that people cheat.  1.  They are not getting what they want/need from the relationship or 2. They are not really committed to the relationship in the first place.

So how do you know what your partner wants/needs from the relationship?

This is the harder question for people to answer, because it requires a lot of self-awareness.  Most of the time, people cannot define what it is that they want or need (unless they have a back ground in understanding human relationship psychology). Instead, they can only tell when something is “missing” or when they are not getting it.    Fortunately, you don’t have to have a degree in human relationship psychology to make things work SO LONG as you and your partner are willing to stay in good communication with one another and are willing to talk with each other anytime you start to feel like something is “off” or “missing”.   Those feelings of something being off are the emotional needs that we, relationship experts know need to be met in a relationship, in order for that individual to be fulfilled.  This is something to take very seriously because the moment one partner is beginning to feel unfulfilled is the moment the relationship becomes vulnerable.

To address this, we recommend that all couples speak proactively about what each person really wants and needs in the relationship, and agree ahead of time to promise to talk to one another should either of you start to feel like you are not getting what you need.  Some of the key areas to pay attention to are:

  • Anytime one of the partners begins to feel like they are not a priority (this includes feeling second to work, kids, hobbies, outside family, etc…) Any time one of the partners doesn’t feel like they come first, you are headed for trouble.
  • Anytime one of the partners isn’t feeling appreciated
  • Anytime one of the partners isn’t feeling respected
  • Anytime one of the partners isn’t feeling safe or secure in the relationship (physically, emotionally, financially, etc..)
  • Anytime one of the partners’ sexual needs are not being met
  • Anytime one of the partners’ feel like they cannot be who they really are in the relationship.
  • Anytime one of the partners isn’t feeling important enough in the relationship
  • Anytime one of the partners feels like they are not being heard or understood in the relationship.
  • Anytime one of the partners is bored in the relationship
  • Anytime of the of the partners doesn’t feel connected in the relationship.
  • Anytime one of the partners has lost respect for the other partner
  • Anytime there is not attraction or polarity in the relationship
  • Anytime one of the partners feels like they are having to compete with their partner

Focusing your efforts in each of these areas and making sure that your partner feels fulfilled in each of these areas will dramatically increase the success rate of your relationship

Other than not getting what you want/need from the relationship, the only other reason people cheat is because they are not really committed to the relationship. This can be because they weren’t committed from the beginning, or that their level of commitment changed over time because some of the above mentioned needs are not being met.  That is why it is so important to constantly be communicating with your partner if your level of happiness or satisfaction in the relationship changes, and if so, what is missing.

To address this, it is important to talk with your partner ahead of time about if you want to be in a committed relationship or not.  There are simply too many ideas of what “being in a relationship” means in today’s world, that you can no longer just assume that your partner is wanting the same thing as you.  Some people are just not ready to be in a committed relationship and that is perfectly okay.  It is just important to communicate that so that your partner is not having a different expectation.  This is especially true when sex is involved.

At the end of the day, the key to making sure that both partners are happy, and satisfied in the relationship is to 1.  Make sure both partners want to be in a committed relationship, and 2. That both partners are getting exactly what they want and need from that relationship.  When those two areas are satisfied you will find that neither partner ever has the desire to stray.