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How To Stop Cheating? A Former Cheater’s Guide To Breaking The Pattern!

How To Stop Cheating? A Former Cheater’s Guide To Breaking The Pattern!

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Once a cheater, always a cheater – that’s right. But have you ever thought about how to stop cheating? I honestly feel that for the majority of cheaters, including me, it’s a pattern. And at the time, you might think – yes, this is just one of those times. But if you see yourself doing the same thing in relationship after relationship, then you have a problem. 

I was only 16 when my first boyfriend broke my heart – he cheated on me with my best friend. Yep, the classic boyfriend and best friend trope. At the time, I was sure I was never going to cheat on anyone.

Half a decade later, I was unabashedly cheating on my long-distance boyfriend of the time. He was just never there for me – and after 3 years with someone who just didn’t care, I was exhausted. When love walked into my life (or so I thought), I didn’t think twice about welcoming the new man into my life. 

I don’t want to keep telling you guys about all the times I was unfaithful. But this wasn’t the only time I was disloyal in a relationship. Without even realizing it, I had developed a habit of sorts – and it wasn’t physical intimacy in most cases. 

It was mostly emotional infidelity, and I started thinking I was probably not cut out for monogamy, specifically, and relationships in general. But it was at my lowest; I figured out how to break this habit. 

It’s been 6 years since I last cheated. I have been happily dating someone for five years without slipping once, and I have never been more proud of breaking my toxic pattern. 

So, how did I do it? Let’s find out!

But First, Why Do We Even Cheat – What’s Missing?

Why Do We Even Cheat - What’s Missing

People can’t stop pretending that cheating is a pretty rare occurrence. In fact, it is surprisingly common in most relationships. 

As per the Institute for Family Studies, approximately 16% of people have cheated on their partners. And this does not even account for cheating in non-married relationships. 

Whatever might be the reason for infidelity, cheating is painful – not just for the person who you are cheating on, but also for you, that is, the cheater. 

Moreover, research shows that when anyone cheats, they are 3 times more likely to cheat again. 

Research shows that once someone cheats, they are three times more likely to do it again. Yep, the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior published a study in 2017 that came up with the data. 

As per the study, it was found that prior cases of infidelity emerged as a vital risk factor for cheating in future relationships. 

Also, researchers found that marital status or gender did not matter – cheating once typically led to more of it happening again, regardless of any demographics. 

Recently, YouGov did a poll – 1/3rd of Americans said that they have cheated, either emotionally, physically, or both. When the same people were asked about whether they had been cheated on, 54% (in monogamous relationships) said that they had been with someone who cheated on them. 

Then, the  Journal of Sex Research published a recent study – instead of looking at how common infidelity is, the study looked at how to stop cheating. To prevent cheating, researchers found that trying out perspective-taking can help. 

What Is Perspective Taking?

What Is Perspective Taking

So, what is perspective taking – it is all about attempting to put yourself in the shoes of your partner. 

Our findings provide a way for individuals to prevent themselves from falling prey to short-term temptations. So, just stop and consider how your partner might be affected by your need to chase someone else. 

Simultaneously, perspective-taking decreases romantic and sexual interest in alternative partners – it’s the exact opposite of something like beer goggles.)

In such tempting situations, perspective-taking can actually foster empathy for the potential suffering of your partner. The idea is when there is a conflict between short-term temptations and long-term considerations, perspective-taking can save the day. 

The benefits of perspective-taking holds true because it makes people stop and actually consider how romantic partners might be impacted by such situations. 

So, why do people cheat, especially when they are satisfied with their romantic relationships

People might be satisfied with their romantic relationship and still end up cheating on their significant others either because they are more likely to do so or due to some contextual factors. For example, avoidant people might end up straying simply because they are not comfortable with intimacy. 

Sometimes, cheating can also be contagious. Basic exposure to standard adultery norms might justify the idea of abandoning long-term goals in a relationship in favor of chasing tempting alternatives. In simple words, cheating is contagious. 

Moreover, people can also cheat not because they felt like doing so but because the chance presented itself and they were just too exhausted, distracted, and drunk to avoid the temptation. 

Typically, we tend to actually underestimate the power of such situations, but perspective-taking, specifically when we are stressed or intoxicated, can help us stay loyal. 

So, How To Stop Cheating?

So, How To Stop Cheating

While perspective-taking is an interesting approach, there are a few more things you can do to stay loyal in your romantic relationship. Remember, cheating is contagious – and once you start, there is no looking back. 

So, here’s what I did to stop cheating forever!

1. Figure Out Why Exactly You Cheat:

Identifying what motivates you to cheat can be a vital part of understanding the need to stray. In fact, you can analyze what makes you cheat – or rather, why you are cheating. That will help you to understand why it is so difficult to stop. 

In fact, the reasons for cheating can be various. There are some people who have this fear of commitment or who cheat to avoid having any sexual conflict with their significant other. Moreover, people also cheat because they are very impulsive. Such individuals sabotage their main relationship or retaliate against their SO because of something they did. 

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Others might also turn out to be dishonest out of monotony or even because they think that having their cheating caught will add new passion to their stale relationship. Exploring why exactly you are being disloyal can help you to solve the issue from its root. 

2. Practice Being Open With Your Partner:

It is paramount to win back trust. That can typically take a longer time since it starts with being entirely upfront and making sure that what you are saying matches your actions every time.

You can start by sharing your calendar social media passwords and communicating in detail about your everyday life. Also, you can display your public life voluntarily. So that it can help you and your partner rebuild trust while deepening your bond. 

Of course, exchanging information between couples should always have a consensual foundation. After all, practicing transparency doesn’t mean infringing on your partner’s personal space and freedom. 

3. Focus On Making Your Relationship The Best Version Of Itself:

Instead of using cheating to deal with your unmet sexual or emotional needs, try to make your present relationship into what you basically need to stay loyal. 

The best possible defense against cheating is having a fantastic relationship. When your needs are not met emotionally and physically, you will not have much interest in looking somewhere else. 

However, it is vital to note that people might stray at times regardless of their relationship’s current state. Moreover, if your SO strays, it is not really your fault. 

But if you are seeking to improve your present relationship, you have to ensure that you are communicating well with your SO about your needs in the relationship. 

Also, ensure that you are showing sufficient respect for your partner. At the end of the day, long-lasting relationships are mostly about respect. You have to put in work by respecting your partner and communicating with them if you are trying to enhance your relationship. 

4. Seek Professional Help And Break The Pattern Of Cheating:

If you are committed sincerely to the idea of never being disloyal again, a good alternative is to seek professional help. Going to therapy, for example, will help you go to the bottom of the issue, healing you in the process from the obsessive and compulsive need to cheat. 

Whether you go alone or make it a couples session, talking loudly about your infidelity, the basic reasons behind doing so, and your motivation to stop can easily help you figure out the strategies to break the cycle. 

And It’s A Wrap!

It is possible that monogamy is not really for you! If this is the situation, it is vital to take a few steps back and figure out what you are actually looking for in a romantic relationship. 

Live your personal life with honesty and accept the reality. Just make peace with the problem that you can’t or won’t be able to remain faithful – it’s a big step in reliving the shame and guilt you have been carrying. 

In that case, exploring alternatives such as non-monogamous relationships and polyamory might give you the autonomy you require to be an authentic version of yourself without the deceit and lying that comes with infidelity.

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