Thinking About Cheating?

Long before cheating or infidelity happens to a marriage, the seeds have been planted. Cheating on a spouse often is the accumulation of negative experiences and discontent, both within one’s relationship or marriage, and within oneself.

Many unhappy partners mentally or emotionally start to check out of their intimate relationships before their cheating behavior starts. As many extramarital relationships start slowly or innocently enough, they are the culmination of a gradual erosion of emotional or sexual commitments to one’s partner. The love or passion starts to wane in a relationship or marriage, and sometimes no one sees it. It just happens over the course of time, and major needs start to go unmet for a partner.

For a lot of guys, be mental, sexual, or emotional withdrawal from their primary relationship is the first sign of problems. Many men that I talk with stopped feeling like they are winning in their relationship or marriage. They stopped feeling loved or validated by their wife or girlfriend, and at one point decided to stop trying. Maybe they feel inferior or not good enough for their wife or girlfriend, and, for a lot of men, no matter how much effort or attention they put into their wives or their marriages, they’re constantly plagued with that sense of “not being good enough.” As long as that “not good enough” experience resides in a partner, there are sure to be marital problems that arise.

Men who fall victim to cheating, or even thinking about cheating, may not be getting some of those needs met in their relationship. Conversely, their wives and girlfriends may be saying the same thing. It may be the wives and girlfriends who stopped receiving affection, caring, love, and support from their husbands and boyfriends, and so they, in turn, stopped giving back. This ‘freeze out’ effect–where both partners have cut off basic needs from the other –  leads to inevitable relationship decline and suffering without the right tools to diagnose and fix what’s ailing the relationship.

Here are some tips to help if you’re considering cheating on your partner:

  1. Ask yourself if there are any needs that are going unmet in your relationship or marriage. If yes, how do you deal with not getting your needs met – whether they be sexual, emotional, physical, or the like?
  2. Ask yourself: Do I have a habit of withdrawing emotionally from my relationship? Am I thinking of cheating as a way to cope with a difficult situation in my marriage?
  3. And ask yourself: What are my reasons for cheating? What do I really need from another partner?
  4. One more “ask yourself”: Am I doing it for the sex? What else reasons of my doing it for?
  5. Consider your values: is immediate sex or affection from another woman more important to you now then are other things in your life? This is not a good/bad question of judgment, but rather asking you to weigh your values versus your potential behaviors. We tend to see the benefits of the impulsive or short-term decisions and act on them, instead of considering our values through the lens of longer-term decisions.
  6. Consider getting individual therapy: you may not want to discuss this very personal issue with your wife or girlfriend. You may not be ready to yet. Talking with a professional counselor who can be a confidential, third-party source for you, maybe an option to help you work through some of the feelings and thoughts of cheating that are keeping you stuck.
  7. Try not to put yourself in situations that will attract the potential for cheating. If you’re cruising dating sites, or being overly flirtatious with coworkers, you’re emanating sexual energy in a way that’s bringing that on yourself. If you have leaky sexual energy, get help for that before that leaky sexual energy turns into behaviors that you might regret.


About Jason

As "The Man That Men Will Talk To," Jason Fierstein, MA, LPC is a private practice counselor and psychotherapist for men and couples in the greater Phoenix, Arizona, area. He works with struggling men to find happiness in their lives, and with their wives.
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