Question: I am devastated because I caught my girlfriend of two years cheating with my best friend. Why did she do it? Why did my best friend do it? Should I try to save the relationship?
Of course, you are feeling devastated and have so many questions about the infidelity. It is painful and confusing. Your reactions are perfectly normal here. Let’s look at some possible general whys with the understanding that your situation is unique to you. I encourage you to schedule your one-time Free call with me by clicking this link to talk about this further.
Many (though not all) of the reasons are Unmet needs. Sometimes we don’t know we have a need until it is unmet and then it becomes an issue. Whether it is spoken or unspoken, it is there. The good news is that needs can be met through honest communication, willingness to make it work, commitment, and most often with the help of a relationship coach or counselor.
Typically, women want an emotional connection. A woman who cheats is more often unhappy with her current relationship and either considering leaving it, or would leave it if some obstacle, real or imagined, were not there. On the other hand, generally speaking, men want a physical connection and are less likely to leave a current relationship. These are generalities only, and obviously every person’s infidelity is unique.
Below are some general reasons why people physically and/or emotionally cheat:
- Low self-esteem. Someone will seek validation through a lover to feel worthy, desired, lovable. This could be because of a loveless marriage, childhood trauma, or something else.
- Emotional high. Sometimes people just are hooked on getting a thrill. One person might take up sky-diving, another might have affairs and get high on the lust and excitement of a new relationship.
- Getting away with it. Essentially, the allure is the thrill of doing something clandestine and getting away with it. The more these people escape unscathed, the more risks they take, and the more likely they are to hurt someone. The attitude? “What my partner doesn’t know won’t hurt her/him.”
- Lack of empathy. Again—“What my partner doesn’t know ….” This is a basic lack of understanding about the devastating effect infidelity can have on a partner and relationship. Sometimes you have to chalk this one up to basic selfishness.
- Unrealistic expectations. Relationship experts are seeing this more and more in recent years. Our expectations are becoming unreasonable, partly due to the way the media portrays romance. If you expect your partner to meet every one of your needs, emotional and physical, you are likely to be disappointed.
- Failure to communicate. Related to the above, many people expect their partners to “just know” what they want and don’t communicate their wants and needs. Disappointment is inevitable. Rather than open the lines of communication, they seek satisfaction elsewhere, hoping someone else will be that magical mind reader.
- Lack of intimacy. If the current relationship is lacking in intimacy and attachment, it is much easier for one or both partners to stray. This intimacy-gap may be due to a number of factors—lack of communication or attention, or an emotional or physically unavailable partner.
- Opportunity. Temptation is real. If a person spends a lot of time around someone who is sexually very appealing, at work, for example, or while out of town on business, constant availability can wear him or her down.
- Situational factors. Chronic or unresolved anger at a partner, drugs and alcohol, loneliness during a long separation—these are slippery slopes.
- Unhappiness. Specifically, with the relationship. If a partnership is no longer fulfilling, or if it is increasingly clear that two partners are fundamentally incompatible, many people think that infidelity will solve everything. Interestingly, 90% of people who leave a committed relationship for a lover do not end up with that lover. Of the 10% who do, 70% don’t stay together. (People take their unhappiness with them.)
- Sex Addiction. Compared to the other reasons, this is relatively rare. Yes, it really is an addiction. Therapy is available.
Not surprisingly, the damage to a relationship that is done by infidelity can be difficult to overcome. But not impossible. If both partners are committed to change and to saving the relationship with the help of a couples coach or counselor it can be saved. Best case scenario? A relationship can be made stronger when both partners work together to resolve the issues that led to the infidelity in the first place.
If you need ny more assistance at all, I’m happy to help! Contact me for your complimentary session!