Lots of people, my boyfriend included, consider cheating to be a dealbreaker but for me, it wouldn’t necessarily mean the end of the relationship. Here’s why I’d stay even if my boyfriend was unfaithful.
He’s made it clear that he’d leave me if I cheated. For my boyfriend, the intentional breach of monogamy would be enough to call it quits on the relationship. Don’t get me wrong, I can totally appreciate that approach and he’s certainly not the only one. Nobody wants to be cheated on and I’ve heard the same policy from many other partners and friends. If I were to shack up with some other dude (or lady), he’d be out and I respect that.
If he cheated on me, it wouldn’t automatically be the end of the relationship. I’m not super keen on the idea of my partner breaking our agreement of monogamy (at least not without talking about it first), but it wouldn’t necessarily mean we were over. I’d be willing to stick it out if the relationship seemed salvageable. It’s certainly not the easiest option, but breakups aren’t the easiest thing in the world either.
It’s the breach of an agreement, not the end of the world. Some people react to infidelity as the worst possible thing that could ever happen to them. Granted, it’s a pretty horrible experience and it can bring up a lot of questions and insecurities in the person being cheated on. That’s no fun but it’s not the end of life as you know it either. My worth is not determined by whether or not my boyfriend cheats on me—that would be a sad reality. My worth is determined by me, how much I value myself, and if I’m standing on a solid foundation of self-love, I can skip over the “am I worthy?” part of the equation and move straight on to figuring out what to do next.
Cheating is less about sex and more about trust. Plenty of people deal very happily with their partner sleeping with others in the context of an open relationship. Realistically, my partner having sex with another woman doesn’t really affect me at all in a practical sense (unless they’re not having safe sex). What’s really worrisome about infidelity is the breach of trust. A healthy relationship is built on trust, respect, and honesty, all of which would be broken if my boyfriend was to cheat. This is not a sustainable way to have a relationship and it’s those things that would require healing. It’s not really about the sex—it’s about the state of our connection.
It doesn’t mean we have to throw it all away. A relationship is built with many, many moments accumulated over time. Every time my boyfriend and I have kissed each other, made each other laugh, held each other, cried together, supported each other, made love—these make up the complex, living thing that is our relationship. Throwing all those shared experiences away because of one moment in time that he shared with someone else seems crazy to me. What I share with my boyfriend is a deep love and partnership and that’s not something I’m planning on giving up without a fight.
Wandering eyes are inevitable. It’s naive to think we’ll never be attracted to other people. I knew that going into this relationship and it’s something I’m at peace with. If my boyfriend finds another person attractive or meets someone he shares a connection with, I’m not going to vilify him for it. I’m mature enough now to accept that reality and roll with the punches. If those wandering eyes turn into wandering hands, well, we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.
I understand the power of lust. Ever been in a situation where you really wanted to have sex with someone but couldn’t for one reason or another? Then you know the power of lust—the kind that often overrides reason, practicality, and better judgment. Lust is a force to be reckoned with and it can sometimes take an iron will to resist. That doesn’t excuse infidelity but it does help me appreciate the forces at play. If my boyfriend found himself succumbing to his base urges with someone else, that would be cause for a serious discussion but not necessarily a breakup.
I’d rather understand the need behind his actions. Nothing in life is black and white, least of all matters of the heart (or other organs). If my boyfriend were to cheat on me, whether it was a one-time thing or a longer relationship, I’d want to start by questioning what needs he was trying to fulfill. Is he sexually unsatisfied in our relationship? Has he lost an emotional connection with me? Is it simply a matter of him having the capacity to love more than one person at a time? It’s not really about the cheating, it’s about the message behind it. That’s what interests me more and that would be the key to finding out if our relationship was worth saving or not.
I’d always want to see if we could work it out. Ever relationship has struggles, some bigger than others. While infidelity is probably at the more serious end of the spectrum, it’s not an insurmountable problem. Just like any other conflict, there’s a way to approach it with kindness, understanding, respect, and compassion on both sides. I’d always stick around to see if we could find a way through it together before throwing the towel in and losing the person I love most in the world.
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