Love

Eight myths about cheating

It’s easy to judge when it comes to affairs, but they aren’t as clear-cut as you may think.

8 myths about cheating

We’ve definitely heard (and probably said) the general musings of “once a cheater, always a cheater” or “there’s not coming back from an affair”. But these massive generalisations are far from the truth. Here we look at the biggest myths surrounding cheating, and why they’re such a load of rubbish.

1) Affairs always mean the end of a relationship

It’s easy to look at a situation from the outside-in and say that a relationship should end if there has been an affair, but realistically that’s far from the case. Couples come back from relationship problems, such as affairs, all the time. And often they make them stronger. Overcoming such difficult problems only cements the validity of a really genuine relationship, and shows that both parties love each other enough to put in the effort to make things work. More than 50 per cent of marriages survive infidelity, although they may still break down from other underlying problems further down the line.

2) Affairs happen because people are looking for them

Affairs tend to come about purely by chance – especially if they’re a one off. They also often materialise from friendships, and are therefore completely unplanned. Kylie Dunjey from Relationships Australia explains: "Affairs sometimes occur because people are seeking them, however this is often not the case. People are often not aware of their vulnerability to affairs when their needs are not being met in their relationship. If one’s partner is often physically or emotionally absent, an experience of connection could develop into a level of intimacy that competes with the couple relationship – be it physical or emotional."

3) Affairs are with younger or more attractive people

Example – Arnold Schwarzenegger and his housekeeper. (Google it.) Typically affairs start up between people of similar standing - no younger, richer or more attractive.

4) Once a cheater, always a cheater

An affair is a turning point which can either lead to the break-down or reparation of a relationship – both being big commitments. After going through that, chances are a person will not rush into doing the same thing again. “The prognosis after an affair is not grim, and those who have strayed have not lost all their value. The sadder but wiser infidel may be both more careful and more grateful in the future,” Psychology Today states. Even though granted, there are still serial cheaters who keep going back for more after doing the dirty. (We all know one, unfortunately.)

5) Men cheat way more than women

This was once the case, but the scale is now balancing out – although women do feel less guilty about it. iVillage.com found from investigating this particular myth: “Women cheat for the same reasons as men: It's someone new. It's naughty (and therefore nice). However, there are other reasons women cite: The affair was a "reward" for being an unappreciated wife and mother or for putting up with a partner who wasn't affectionate, didn't listen or ignored them. It was an ‘ego boost.’”

6) Affairs happen because there are problems in a relationship

Scott Haltzman, author of The Secrets of Surviving Infidelity explains: “Here's the truth: There's something wrong with every marriage. Affairs may reflect that couples don't know how to work together to improve the problems in their marriages. Just because you are having marital issues doesn't justify infidelity.” In one recent study 56 per cent of cheating men asked said they were in very happy marriages. However, only 34 per cent of unfaithful women said the same. Meaning ladies may go looking elsewhere if they’re unhappy with their relationship, but that doesn’t make as much of a difference for men.

7) A relationship will never be the same after cheating

“People don't talk about affairs to their friends and neighbours — that's why you rarely hear success stories,” says Haltzman. “But many couples can learn to successfully rebuild their marriages; some even say their marriages are stronger after infidelity. Distinguishing infidelity fact from fiction can help you and your mate gain a keener understanding of how affairs happen, and what you can do to prevent them.”

8) Affairs are all about sex

“In reality, many affairs rise from one partner seeking an emotional connection to another person,” Haltzman claims. “Sometimes, that's as far as the affair ever goes. Although the sense of emotional closeness often leads to physical intimacy, sex wasn't the original intent when the connection began.”