A friend of mine recently asked me about my thoughts on cheating after experiencing a “yucky” situation. Hopefully you’ll find some of these useful if you’ve ever cheated, been cheated on, or been party to someone else’s cheating.
1) The root of all cheating can boiled down to one question, “Why would deception feel easier than the truth?”
Lies inherently require more effort and mental resources than simply telling the truth, but they often appear to be a shortcut to what we want. Why would this be? Perhaps because the person being deceived is perceived as more of an obstacle than an avenue, so the path of least resistance is simply to go around them.
2) Cheating often has a placebo effect in the sense that trying something outside the rules makes it easier to believe we’ll experience the desire that’s been eluding us. A healthy alternative is to break patterns instead of rules. Rules prohibit us from specific things in obvious ways; patterns prohibit us from whole swaths of possibilities in ways we seldom even notice.
3) Relationships die because they stop growing. They become fixed and dependable, which gives us a breather from dealing with the uncertainty of life, but the only reason we want that breather is because we’ve lost faith in our ability to attract what we desire through the unknown.
Cheating exposes us to the unknown through a familiar channel with the specific intent of satisfying desire. It blends the unknown with some of the desires that are on our mind most often. Perhaps if we more actively integrated the unknown into our daily lives, we could cultivate the fruit that cheating yields without having to pluck from another tree.
4) The concept of cheating is conditional love at its finest. “Do this and I’ll stop sharing my love with you.” It puts the onus on the other person to behave a certain way regardless of conditions. So instead of being unconditional with our love, we want someone else to be unconditionally conditional with their actions.
What if we put the onus back on ourselves? Instead of saying “it’s your responsibility to honor my desire,” we could say “it’s my responsibility to attract the behavior I desire from you.”
List out the behaviors you most want in a lover and ask yourself, “Who would naturally attract these from someone?”
5) To cheat is really just a shortcut. It’s saying “I want less of whatever the normal route entails.”
6) Exclusivity is a common way to create the feeling of being special. It’s measuring yourself by something you have that others don’t. If you really want to discover what makes you special, let your lover experience similar things with someone else. Then you won’t be special because of your status, but because of who you actually are. And exposure to contrast will often cause your partner to find things to appreciate in you that they previously took for granted.
7) Cheating could be drastically reduced if people were allowed to try things without long-term consequence. Cheating says “you can’t even try it,” which tends to turn a small desire into a hidden passion. Free trials say, “go ahead and explore what you think you want and see if you really do like it better. And if you do, let’s see if we can find a way to make it work within the confines of our relationship.”
This is different from a hall pass because it is not a temporary license to experience the forbidden. It is a regular fixture of a relationship that says, “I want you to be happy even if it’s not because of me.” Oftentimes the thing we think we want isn’t actually what makes us happy, and the easiest way to discover that is by living it.