"How Could This Have Happened?": And Other Questions Victims of Cheating Ask Themselves
Have you been betrayed by the one you love?
If you've been in the unfortunate situation where your significant other has cheated, you likely have a million questions running through your mind. It's always shocking to have someone who you trusted so much betray that sacred bond. Along with the rushing feelings of anger and sadness comes the unavoidable feeling of doubt.
Your confidence and self-worth have probably taken a significant blow, and you may wonder if they strayed because the person they were with was somehow better than you. Although this isn't true, it's a normal reaction to wonder who the person is.
While some choose to be left in the dark about the person's identity, others have to know who it was their partner cheated with in order to move on. Every situation is different, but there are some consistencies when it comes to who men choose to get involved with.
Unfortunately, if your relationship is already vulnerable to cheating, it's not absurd that it would be with someone they share such a large amount of their time with. A recent study conducted by Adam and Eve found that in a group of 1,000 adults, one third admitted to cheating in a relationship. Among those, 30% said they had met the person they cheated with at work, 29% said that they were old friends, 9% said that they met their love while traveling, 7.7% said they met online, 7% said they met through school, and 16.5% said they met through "other means." Those include places like the gym, a bar, church, or social function.
Sexologist Dr. Kat Van Kirk commented on the study: "Cheating is often a pitfall in relationships... And along with cheating comes hurt feelings, suspicion, and anger. With open communication, a healthy sex life and a little effort, I think most couples can avoid the temptation of cheating.”
Her statement raises another common question that victims of cheating will ask themselves: "Am I to blame?"
Many women think that they're at fault for the infidelity of their husband or boyfriend. They feel as if they weren't open enough sexually, and that perhaps their partner wouldn't have cheated if they had been more sexually satisfied at home. However, WebMD states that it's a common misconception that men only cheat because of sex. They sourced a study conducted by Counselor M. Gary Neuman, who surveyed 200 husbands—some faithful, others not so much—in order to get better insight into the reasons behind men's infidelity.
The study found that 48% of men rated "emotional dissatisfaction" as their main reason for cheating. In fact, only 8% said that sex was the main reason that they strayed. Neuman said, "Our culture tells us that all men need to be happy is sex... But men are emotionally driven beings too. They want their wives to show them that they're appreciated, and they want women to understand how hard they're trying to get things right."
Even if there were things that could have been done to strengthen the relationship, that does not give either party an excuse for infidelity in a monogamous relationship. Pushing blame onto someone else for their own choices and actions is not only cruel—it's childish. If your partner is not accepting the responsibility for their own actions, it can make it almost impossible to move on.
This leads to the final question that you'll ask yourself, and it's one that will likely be the hardest: "What do I do now?"
Essentially there are two options. You can stay together and try to work things out, or you can go your separate ways. Although your options are limited, the decision is never easy.
Those who haven't been through the situation might think that the outcome should be obvious: if someone leaves, the relationship is over. But it's rarely that simple. MSN reported that over a third of marriages that face infidelity come through it on the other side with the help of therapy and counseling. Chances are you still love one another, but deciding if you can move forward together is never easy. The most important thing to consider is whether or not you're both committed to fixing the relationship. It takes two to make it work and you both deserve a fulfilling and happy relationship.
The worst thing you can do is let the limitless questions after an affair is discovered consume you, so talk about it. Whether you stay together or part ways, the most important thing is that you can move on emotionally.