Friday, March 03, 2006

How Not to Cheat

Excuses, excuses, excuses. I cheated because my husband doesn't understand me. I cheat because we've grown apart. I cheat because I'm not in love with my wife anymore. I cheat because my husband doesn't pay attention to me. I cheat because my wife won't give me what I want in bed. I cheat because - well, because I want to, darnit!

We have all heard, said and read about reasons to cheat. We all know why it's okay, why it's justifiable and why we can get away with it. Cheating has, in fact, almost become acceptable. After all, how can you possibly expect to stay faithful to one man or one woman for 10, 20 or even 30 years. Impossible! Right?

Impossible, no. Difficult, yes. So, following is my short and sweet list of How Not to Cheat:

1. Don't find yourself in a private setting with a member of the opposite sex.

As I always say - it's really, really hard to cheat when you're at home, alone, by yourself! Don't give yourself any more reasons to give into temptation.

2. Don't build emotional relationships with too many members of the opposite sex.

Friends, shmiends, most friend-ships (for men) are just a holding pattern until you are willing and ready to take it further. And we women are no better - we often just like to have a man as a backup plan, in case our current relationship doesn't work out. Guard your heart and your time - and hang out with more of your same sex friends.

3. Don't confide all your secrets in a member of the opposite sex.

Yeah, I know, it's much easier to share sometimes with someone that has a different set of chromosomes, but this is definitely heading in the direction of building emotional relationships (and you know where that usually leads). Especially don't share everything that your significant other does that bothers you. Some unscrupulous friends can and will use this against you at a later date. Get a best friend who is the same sex as you. Trust me - it's much easier in the end.

4. Don't spend time fantasizing about 'what if'.

Yes, I know most people don't really consider it cheating unless something physically happens, but, here's a news flash - thinking about doing something is just one step away from actually doing something. Don't think so? Fantasize about ice cream for the next half hour, and see if you don't head to your nearest Ben & Jerry's!

5. Stop seeking external validation.

Make sure you already think that you are okay. Or that you are great. Or whatever it is you need to make it through the day. Because the sooner you believe it yourself, the sooner you will no longer need someone else to make you feel that way.

6. Stay Busy!

Do I even need to get into this one? Suffice it to say the less free time you have, the less time you have to get yourself into 'trouble'.

7. Think about your mate.

Hey, here's something that's probably fallen by the wayside. Remember when you thought your mate was absolutely perfect and could do no wrong? Okay, so you know that ain't true, but I bet he or she still does some things very, very right. Think about those things. Replay them in your mind. Repeat.

8. Spend time building your relationship with your mate.

Spend time planning things you would like to do. Spend time cooking for him or her, sending him or her emails, spending quality time or taking long walks in the park. Whatever it takes to build upon what you already have. 'Cause building a new one will take just as much work as you are putting into the relationship you have now. It's easier (and cheaper) in the end to just love the one you've got.

9. Follow your own passion.

Quit trying to live your life through someone else! And quit thinking if you've bedded three or four people other than your significant other, that this makes you some type of player! You are not. You just lack self-control. Find what you do best - and do it. Enough said.

10. Commit to Yourself first!

Forget about trying to commit to another person through thick and thin. 'Cause his 'thin' will be too thin and her 'thick' will turn you off. Commit instead to your own personal desire to be faithful, loving and attentive to the one you've got. People change. Feelings change. But, knowing (and sticking to) who you are on the inside never goes out of style. Then, when you have the desire to cheat, you will realize it's much more important to be true to yourself than indulging in a temporary fix.

So, go forth and be faithful!

9 comments:

Paul Campbell said...

Hi Sonya, good post. I'm sure a few will try to pick it apart, but it has a solid foundation. Being in a relationship that does not seem ideal at times is no excuse. No matter how wonderful your marriage seems to be, there will be highs and lows... so of primary importance is remembering your vows. Those promises we all made? Yeah, God was there and so was your spouse! Taking the "till death do we part" commitment seriously builds up defenses. My wife and I always joke that we already have a divorce lawyer - his name is Mr. Tombstone and his office is six feet under ;)

I think there may be occasional exceptions to point two; not every guy uses friendship as a "holding pattern". MOST, probably… but not every. I don't "hang" with anybody of the opposite sex but my wife. However, I only have a few "real" friendships with men, partly due to some guys feeling intimidated by me (that's what I've been told anyway), and partly due to being burned by a best friend who assaulted my wife.

I would have to say though, that there is a drastic difference between what I consider a close friend, and my best friend. With my best friend, she is the only one with which there are no secrets, the only one that I can discuss anything with, the only one with a shoulder to lean on (or cry on) in any situation, and most importantly, the only one who is on my marriage certificate.

Friendships can be a good thing, but someone who is your friend, and not your spouse’s friend, is definitely on the list of things to avoid. Of course there are times when someone will become friends with your spouse just to get to you, but those have been pretty rare. Only one caught me completely by surprise (at home, with my wife in the house, and she pulls a stunt like that!), but fortunately nothing happened.

Anyway, I’ve got to go. BTW; almost all of your points have direct scriptural backing, but there no references… any particular reason?

sonya said...

Thanks for your comments, Paul. I love hearing back from people - it helps me to learn what actually works in relationships. I love the whole divorce lawyer thing - that is a good idea that you both believe the same thing about marriage - that it is 'til death do you part.

I agree with you that not every guy uses friendships as a holding pattern, but I think the majority of them do. I can't tell you how many times I thought a guy was my 'friend' until I realized he was just waiting for the big breakup. I personally think it's hard for men to relate to women solely as friends - they have a much higher sex drive (generally speaking), are very visual, and don't seem to need the talking and hanging out that women do. Not to say it can't happen, it's just that maintaining a perfectly platonic relationship is very challenging (and I'm speaking from personal experience).

I'm not all that sure about only being friends with friends of your spouse. I am friends with both married men and women and I don't have a problem with it - though their spouse might :) I also don't really see sharing all my friendships with my (future) husband. We came into the relationship as two separate people and I'm really big on maintaining my own identity. Which will probably include having friends of both sexes. But, we'll have to wait until that's put to the test!

Last, but not least - I sometimes use scripture references and sometimes I don't. I have found that it's easier for some people to read what I have to say without them because of their own (lack of) relationship with God. For instance, in many general conversations I have with people, people automatically respond negatively to what I'm saying because they interpret it as being a 'Christian' condemnation of them, when I haven't said a word about God! In other words, people are sometimes so convicted in their own minds, it's hard for them to 'hear' what I have to say. So I find it easier at times to just distill the Bible into every day terms. And the Bible is (of course) the greatest source of wisdom I know.

Thanks for the great comment!

Anonymous said...

Really good post. I needed to read something like this, because I lacked to realize how selfish I was being in my relationship with my husband. Your right. In today's society, cheating has become a way of life. I know so many people, including members in our church, who openly cheat, and this is what I grew up on. Thank you for your info and your realness.

Anonymous said...

Great stuff!
I just hope people will actually read it! It is so sad that people cheat and get away with it. Even sometimes blaming their partner for it. Women can cheat easily when they have children with their husband because if the husband divorces her, he will have to pay her! Are you serious? That is a bunch of crap! She chose to cheat so she should not get a dime! And then if he does divorce her, well, then he is a jerk for breaking up the family. The wife has all the control and can cheat and know that most times the husband will love his kids so much that he will take her back. These guys should be respected! These guys love their kids so much that he puts his kids above himself. Again, these guys should be respected! Im tired of hearing, "How can you respect yourself when you have a cheating wife?" Well, if a guy loves his kids above himself, then what a great person that is!

Anonymous said...

i have been cheating on my boyfriend for a few months now im a christian hes a chritstian and i dont know how to tell him and weather i should i love him and want to stay with him. What do i do?

Anonymous said...

i need some help... PLEASE ANYONE!!! I just found out that my girlfriend of 4 years is cheating. She did it before and I forgave her and then she did it again and i forgave her again..and again. This time its more serious cause i found out that she was close to sexual with him and its the same guy that she cheated with the first time. I am a Christian and so is she and we are active in our Church.. can someone please give me some Christian advice please.. its like im dying here...

Anonymous said...

Sonya,
Honestly I do have a guy friend and he will never be a "holding" pattern with me. He is a guy friend and that's all he'll ever be, even though my marriage of 21 years has become very stagnant due to health problems. I don't have the health problem and my husband does, and yet he denies it and says he doesn't. By now, I'm sure you've guessed. I've learned to be faithful for the last 20 years eventhough the sex life is almost nothing. I want to get out of the marriage, but everything else but the sex life is good. I don't care if people want to judge me, I say walk a mile in these shoes! I know I won't find anyone else. I wish I could find someone who will love me and have sex. Is that so much to ask?

Anonymous said...

IT ONLY LOOKS THAT WAY NOW BUT

Cheaters Never Win, and Neither Will the Other man/Woman..
Anonymous said...
i need some help... PLEASE ANYONE!!! I just found out that my girlfriend of 4 years is cheating. She did it before and I forgave her and then she did it again and i forgave her again..and again. This time its more serious cause i found out that she was close to sexual with him and its the same guy that she cheated with the first time. I am a Christian and so is she and we are active in our Church.. can someone please give me some Christian advice please.. its like im dying here...


Pastordoreen@hotmail.com
MY REPLY
married men do not leave their wives for their mistresses Needless to say, there are doubtless many women still in this situation wondering what to do...
The Other Man/Other Woman:
In general, society looks at the other man/other woman as being the responsible party in an affair. It's understandable that the other man/other woman become the target for the rage and anger the deceived spouse feels. Blaming the other man/other woman keeps us from having to take responsibility for the problems in the marriage and our own feelings, so we like to pretend that if it hadn't been for that other person there would have never been an affair. Problem is, there would have been, it just would have been a different other man/other woman.

How you handle the fact that there is another man or woman has a great deal to do with whether or not you end up in divorce court or, are able to save your marriage. I have a few suggestions that will help save your sanity and possibly your marriage.

Don't Make The Other Person More Important Than They Really Are:

He/she happened to be in the right spot at the right time. They are nothing special. Your spouse was looking for an affair, not looking for them in particular. They are not superior to you, they are simply different from you. You are the husband or wife, all they are is the lover. Your role in your spouse's life far outweighs their role.

The circumstance is more important than the person your spouse is involved with. Spend your time and energy focused on the problems in the marriage that led to an affair and finding a solution for those problems.

See The Relationship For What It Really Is:
A fantasy relationship with no foundation but lies and dishonesty. The other man/other woman is showing only their best side, they are being all they can be to your spouse. No one can carry on that act for long. Their true nature will show itself and the fantasy will wear off. When the other person starts making demands of your spouse he/she will begin to feel as if they have another spouse to take care of instead of a lover.

An affair is not a rejection of you but a rejection of their role as husband/wife and the restrictions it brings. You should not take it personally because it is not about you as a person. Given time and patience most affairs go down in flames.

They Are Not A Reality, They Are An Illusion:
Your spouse may see this new person as someone who offers up a new life, someone who will take them away from the burdens of having a wife and family. In the end, they discover that all the old burdens and issues that came along with his family are the same, the only difference is, the person they feel responsible to is different. The only thing that changed was the players, not the game. Even if your marriage ends in divorce and your spouse chooses the other man/other woman you can bet, given time reality will hit

Don't Internalize Your Feelings:

When a person views the world through a self-critical perspective, the outcome turns out rather distorted. Don't allow the actions of an unfaithful spouse cause you to feel shame or unworthy. Such feelings can lead to depression, self – loathing and anxiety. Whether your goal is to save your marriage or divorce your unfaithful spouse, you need to keep a level head and develop good coping strategies.

Sam Connelly said...

Great Blog. I am Wichita's Christian Faith & Culture Examiner, and I have just written an article on Social Networks for those who want to Cheat, I have added a quote and a link to this blog.

My hat is off to you, great blog.
Samuel Connelly
Wichita Christian Faith & Culture Examiner.

www.samthewriter.com if you want to check it out go to my website and click on the examiner box.