I cheated on my partner for a year. Here's how I stopped.
'It’s many series of events that can lead up to someone deciding to stop cheating, but often it is a specific moment of clarity or moment of higher functioning that we pinpoint as the pivotal change.'
The Dates & Mates Podcast. Cheating is almost always more about the cheater than the person or people they’re cheating on or with. But many people who have been unfaithful deal with a deep sense of shame, which is, in part, reinforced by societal stereotypes that paint all cheaters as bad people. “Changing behavior is hard, especially when it’s deeply tied to shame,” points out DeGeare. “If you’re feeling worthless deep down, it’s actually easier to continue with those behaviors than change behaviors that don’t match with how we see ourselves.” Therefore, that shame must be worked through in order for a person to be able to honestly look at why they cheat, and how they want to grow.
Sorting through a person’s motivations for infidelity can be much like detangling a delicate gold necklace chain — it’s slow work, and it requires time, dedication, and care. Someone’s first impulse might be to blame their partner, as Ava initially did. But oftentimes there’s internal work that needs to be done too. “Usually the process is doing deeper therapeutic work to understand the underlying beliefs and patterns that led you here,” Hoffman says.
AdvertisementOne way of examining one’s motivations is by unpacking what straying did for them, DeGeare says. “It’s about asking, ‘What is making you put this energy out there that you’re available? Is it because you love the feeling of being wanted? What’s the reason for that?'” she says. “For example, is it because a parent was neglectful and never made you feel like you were enough or had all their attention? Is it time to go have a conversation with that parent if they’re still alive? How can you feel good about yourself on your own, without the validation of other people?” headtopics.com
Of course, there’s no one smoking gun that’s true for all situations. Affairs and the motivations for indulging in them are complex, as Ava's story reveals. Ultimately, Hoffman notes, almost all people who are trying to recover from an affair will need to do some self-inquiry to better understand their impulses, emotions, and motivations, while also showing themselves some understanding and self-love.Read more: Refinery29 »
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