How To Stop Cheating When You Want To Change

by Alexandra CraciunJune 29, 2021

Infidelity does seem to run rampant nowadays. Being in an adulterous relationship is often unthinkable for many people, but it is an everyday reality for millions, and it can be hard to stop cheating.

Infidelity is a precursor of divorce, and about 40-50% of couples are plagued by it.

 Infidelity can happen for various reasons and in many different ways, but you can get to the real reasons behind it with a lot of effort.

Cheating can be addictive, especially if it’s a stand-in for other things that may have been missing in your life.

If you and your partner struggle because of infidelity, be patient, no matter what side you are on. Some factors are bigger than both of you.

Note: Alexandra is a professional Psychotherapist with specialized knowledge in relationships.

– Worried Lovers

Why cheating keeps happening

It’s so easy to get into a pattern of cheating. It’s even easier to rationalize doing it from time to time because you don’t want to stop completely.

It seems that infidelity is not really about sex. Instead, partners can cheat when they feel lonely or resentful.

Maybe you’ve been doing it for years, maybe your whole life. Perhaps you did it secretly a few times, and it felt so good that you just kept doing it. It may have even become addictive.

Something in your mind tells you to do it, but deep inside, you feel remorse. Unfortunately, there are tons of personal development books out there that give you bad advice and don’t tell you how to go about stopping it.

Advice like “just stop” or “don’t do it anymore” won’t help anyone.

Changing action is no easy feat; you often have to look deeper.

Often the root cause for chronic cheating – if we want to use the term “chronic” – is a lack of something (self-esteem, feeling of belonging), which may or may not have something to do with your partner.

Having an affair is a coping response that hides other issues. Cheating is never about having sex with another person; It’s always about something much more complex than that.

You can’t tell someone just to stop cheating on their partner. And that’s because it’s horrible advice.

You can’t just “stop” something when it feels good, and soothes a painful feeling, or is fun, and gives you a boost of any kind.

Asking yourself questions is an essential first step to repairing the mistake. The first step in stopping anything is to understand the”why,” that is, the real purpose behind your actions.

Surely, it covers some basic needs. Even dysfunctional behaviors can give you immediate relief or rewards.

One of the best predictors of whether or not someone will cheat is not if they have cheated in the past; that’s irrelevant; what’s done is done.

 It’s whether or not they “want to change” or see change as a possibility.

There are many different ways to stop perpetuating the cycle of infidelity and let it affect your life. Here is some helpful information you will want to know.

7 Steps on how to stop cheating when you want to change

1.   Start with the cause.

 As I’ve said previously, you must look where the cheating started and if it’s coupled with other problems you have or life events you may be going through.

2.   Increase connection with the Trust Revival Method

It will take a long time to rebuild the trust, and your willingness to change your ways must be your guide.

The Trust Revival Method is a step-by-step guide that can help you to improve your relationships through three essential steps: atonement, attunement, and attachment.

They each have their own set of actions that couples must take to rebuild the lost trust.

In a nutshell, this method established trust by teaching couples to acknowledge and manage their intense emotions in this situation, find better ways to deal with their problems, and bring their newfound intimacy into the bedroom with patience and perseverance.

3.   Think about what you are losing

Never forget the reason why you are doing this.

Purposefully think about what drew you to your partner to start with. Then, look back on the reason you are with this person and how it all started.

Infidelity doesn’t just hurt your partner deeply; it’s also self-sabotage.

To keep a relationship, you have to behave a certain way toward your partner; Otherwise, you risk losing that person.

That’s not to say that there’s no unconditional love, but rather that the foundation of love can help you foster kindness and care towards others.

Furthermore, unconditional love doesn’t mean that your partner has to stay with you despite anything; it can also mean leaving.

Fidelity in a previously established monogamous relationship is not mandatory. It’s a non-established promise you make once you choose a person as your partner.

When you commit to your partner, trust, respect, and safety come with the game. You’re not just giving them a part of the package.

4.   Go to individual or couples therapy.

Some other problems may accompany your cheating—sex addiction, self-esteem issues, or dealing with mental health problems.

Many factors may unknowingly influence your behaviors. You can explore them in-depth with a specialist that will help you without passing judgment.

Maybe this is just the push you need to make a plan and be consistent in repairing the relationship and providing comfort for your partner, as well as having your voice be heard.

Through couples therapy, you and your partner receive the care you both need and deserve while working together as a team. You can learn more about it here.

Couples therapists have heard and seen it all! If there’s anyone that knows how to guide you best, it’s them.

5.   Be wary of other negative emotions.

Aside from the cheating itself, you may be dealing with thoughts related to it. These thoughts sometimes are associated with negative emotions that breed passivity.

Analyze your thoughts about the situation and restructure them.

 I like to use the down-arrow techniques (similar to Socratic questioning) when exploring other thoughts that may add pain.

For example:

  1. I won’t be able to stop cheating
  2. If that were true, what would it mean to you?
  3. That I am not capable of stopping
  4. If that were true, what would it mean to you?
  5. That I am a horrible person
  6. If that were true, what would it mean to you?
  7. That I am unlovable.

Once you get to the main thought, reconsider and restructure it. But if you’re still struggling with forgiving yourself,

6.   Encourage meaningful conversations

Talk about yourself and show interest in your partner.  Hiding is no longer an option. You’ve done that, and it hasn’t worked.

Everything is out in the open now, and the only thing left to do is to let yourself be seen entirely and be honest about everything.

Openly communicating is empowering and may bring you relief (not just to your partner).

An essential skill to fostering meaningful conversations is to ask open-ended questions, as they encourage deeper connections and stronger bonds.

Moreover, shifting your focus from the cheating encourages the other person to stop and see the “you” behind the transgression.

7.   Take responsibility for your actions.

To truly build a strong relationship, you must first acknowledge the hurt you brought your partner and show repentance in ways that live up to your promises.

And yes, promises and guarantees are necessary after infidelity, as are reassurances.

These include:

  • Cutting ties with the other person.
  • Being an open book.
  • Offering to do anything that you can to ease your partner’s pain.
  • Giving your partner complete access to your life.
  • And showing fondness and appreciation.

It’s unfair to blame your partner for your actions, even if you feel that you’ve been wronged in other ways. Blame is a destructive force and the epitome of personal disempowerment.

When you blame someone for something that happened, you also end up losing.

Always keep in mind that forgiving yourself is vital to healing and mending things back together.

The process of change

The challenge we all face with change is that we don’t like it. We find it difficult, uncomfortable, or even painful. But change brings growth – even when it comes to infidelity.

Half-heartedly committing to change is not going to be enough; the actions must speak for themselves.

One thing’s for sure; couples can recover from infidelity.

While many may continue the act, others see that their relationship carries more weight than cheating. Strong couples let cheating be a catalyst for building a better, stronger relationship.

Conclusion

It is honorable that you are willing to stop your cheating, no matter how hard it can be. But, unfortunately, the road is going to be a long one.

Every couple needs a tailored approach for dealing with their own unique set of experiences, so there’s no general solution.

As they say, “every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

However, the experience of infidelity is so prevalent everywhere that we are united in our struggles with it, more than we might think.

That’s why we should talk about it non-judgmentally to showcase all its sides and make room for healing and prevention.

The most important thing you have to do is get to the source of the infidelity and explore ways to repair the issue.

Recommended: Can Therapy Help You Stop Cheating?

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