For most of us, cheating is the ultimate act of betrayal. It’s considered the deal-breaker in any relationship.
But let’s admit it, the act of cheating is not a one time, big time act. People do not just wake up and decide out of nowhere that he/she will break his/her vows and cheat on his/her partner. Instead of thinking of infidelity as a sudden lightning strike, infidelity can instead be considered as a storm that slowly brews and gathers strength.
Cheating can start in small acts of betrayal. It can be the obvious things — lying to your partner, openly flirting with someone from the opposite sex, chatting with an ex — things that slowly but surely will adversely affect your relationship. And then there are other forms of betrayals that might not feel or seem like cheating, but actually are. And these small acts can also wreak havoc in your relationship if left unresolved and unchecked. If you’re wondering what these acts are, here’s a few:
You’re dishonest with money.
Money is a sensitive topic for most couples and it’s also one of the things that most couples often argue and disagree about. You are betraying your partner in this area when you’re hiding a spending problem, ignoring a gambling habit, or you’re secretly drawing money from your joint account into a secret account. If you’re engaging and keeping such financial transactions from your partner, it’s time to own up and tell him/her what exactly is going on. Because both of you should be aware of your family’s actual financial standing.
You take cheap shots against your partner in public.
These are those sarcastic remarks, rolling of your eyes, and snide comments that somewhat undermine your partner in front of other people. Although some people might dismiss this as a joke or as a part of their couple dynamic, it can nevertheless be hurtful at times. Because doing these acts somehow tell your partner that your union is not sacred and at the same time, some comments can also violate both your and your partner’s privacy because you’re broadcasting your emotional dirty laundry in public.
You’re emotionally dishonest.
Emotional dishonesty could mean committing to something you don’t really want to do, to saying you’re “ok” when deep down you’re not, and even faking orgasm. Aside from these, emotional dishonesty is oftentimes most dangerous when you use it to justify your actions. It’s when you know deep down that what you’re doing is wrong and yet you try to convince yourself and your partner that it’s ok or even right. It could even lead you to making light of the situation when it really is not.
You talk trash about your partner to other people.
This does not mean that you cannot blow off steam or vent about your partner to your close friends occasionally, but it’s when you do it consistently. Complaining and even talking trash about your partner — telling your friends that he/she’s lazy, boring, bad in bed, or an ass, is downright disrespectful and hurtful. At the same time, doing so also says a lot about you, because if your partner is as worse as you say he/she is, then what does that say about you that you married/remained committed to them for how many years?
Although one might argue that being selfish can sometimes be a good thing (especially for highly stressed parents, this pertains to when you are constantly selfish of everything with your partner. It could mean being selfish with your time, with your attention, even with sex. Being constantly selfish invalidates your partner’s feelings and gives them the impression that you’re better off on your own. This could lead to pent up anger and hard feelings between you and your partner.
You constantly disconnect yourself from your partner.
Aside from disconnecting, another term for this is stonewalling. Stonewalling yourself from your partner means that you withhold yourself, your emotions, and your affection until you get your way. The act itself is cruel and selfish, as it’s somewhat similar to holding your partner hostage until you get what you want. It’s ok to sometimes need space to sort out your thoughts and feelings if you’re going through a rocky patch in your relationship, but constantly shutting your partner out is unfair for them and dismisses the essence of a partnership.
You have and maintain secret relationships.
A lot of us still maintain relationships outside of our marriages, which might be close college friends we still regularly meet for drinks, co-workers we laugh and bond with, or even exes we’re still friends with. That said, these relationships can be considered cheating when you use these relationships to fulfil certain emotional needs that are not being met by your marriage or relationship with your partner. One quick and easy way to gauge when this happens in one of your relationships is to ask yourself a simple question: Would I act the same way with this person if my partner is watching? If your answer is no, then you’re possible crossing relationship boundaries that could lead to dangerous, cheating territory.
Ultimately, cheating is still considered the big act of betrayal. But we should also consider, that there are certain small and hurtful acts that could set it in motion and which also counts as cheating. So it’s best to focus and work on your relationship before anything gets out of hand.
*Originally published in momcenter.com.ph