One of the most important elements needed in a relationship is trust. To me, the four pillars of a relationship are trust, communication, chemistry, and love. Of these four, trust is the hardest to build once broken. It’s like an egg which seems so strong at a glance but is actually really fragile, and once shattered it requires a lot of patience and time for it to come back to form something substantial.
When you just meet a person, there’s this automatic trust you extend towards them. You trust a stranger because they have not given you any reason not to. But then something happens and said person lets down your expectations, you’re left with pieces of broken glass to pick up, and a healthy amount of mistrust.
Trusting someone means you have certain standards and expectations that you hold the person up to. Trust means you have expectations, it means you’ve put a portion of your heart in someone’s power and they can do with it as they see fit. It could be broken down at his/her whims and the slightest mistake could make things get really bad.
In relationships today, cheating has become something that might no longer be seen as a deal-breaker. And cheating has a lot of forms, exists in a lot of ways. There is the most common one – sexual relationships with someone who’s not your partner. There’s emotional cheating, financial cheating, keeping secrets, telling half-truths, and so many others.
To cheat on your partner means to do something with someone else which would make your partner feel unimportant or not a priority or not respected, and it might lead to the end of your relationship if they ever find out. Cheating is taking undue advantage of your partner’s trust in you and betraying their faith in you. It is not respecting the relationship you have with them. It is placing someone else above the person you claim to love. It is being inconsiderate and selfish. It is doing anything you would never want your partner to find out. Cheating on your partner is doing to them something you don’t want them to do to you.
How do you cheat?
Generally, a person is said to cheat when they have sexual relations with other people. Sexual relations could be as simple as kissing or as advanced as having sex. Apart from the fact that multiple sexual partners put you at a high risk of contracting STD’s and all that, it also has a significant effect on your relationship. If it wasn’t part of the laid down rules of a relationship that hooking up with other people is perfectly normal, i.e if it’s not an open relationship, someone’s trust has definitely been broken if something like that happens. That doesn’t speak good things about what is to come, at least in the immediate future after he/she finds out.
Then there’s what I call emotional cheating. In my opinion, your SO should be your best friend or at least one of your closest friends. Someone you feel like you can tell everything about yourself to and you don’t feel the need to fake things around them or be who you’re not because you want to impress them. Your partner should be someone you’re able to be vulnerable around. “But what if I have a best friend of the opposite sex before I started dating this person? What now, does that also count as cheating?” Not really, there’s the argument that the position of a friend is very different from that of a romantic partner, but it does become cheating when you’re SO doesn’t know anything about you and instead, your best friend is the only confidante. It becomes cheating when you prioritize your best friend over your SO. It is cheating when all your actions show that you’re closer to a said best friend than you are to your partner. They’d feel like they’re not that important, and that’s not a good feeling. It hurts.
Another form of emotional cheating is getting too close to someone else while you’re in a relationship. Maybe you and your partner have issues and you find it hard to deal with them, so instead of talking to them and trying to resolve your issues so as to have a healthy relationship, you start to hang out more with some other person. You talk to him/her more than you talk to your partner. You feel closer to him/her than you could ever be with the person you’re dating. Something good or bad happens to you and they’re the first person on your mind to share it with. Not your SO. Then why are you still in that relationship?
Naturally, there’s nothing wrong with having other people you’re close to apart from your partner, in fact, it is advisable to have your own friends apart from the person you’re in a relationship with. But we all know that attachments are easily formed in situations like that, especially if you’re going through a rough patch in the relationship and it feels like this person is always a steady shoulder to cry on, therefore instead of talking to your partner about the issues you have you choose to run to this person and get comfort every time. It would take a lot of will power and self-discipline to not develop romantic feelings for this other person.
To some people, once you flirt with someone of the opposite sex who isn’t your partner, you’re cheating. Well, I don’t think flirting is cheating, except for when it gets too much and too heavy and it is obvious that this isn’t just playful flirting. A kiss? Definitely cheating. Holding hands? Hmmm, that depends on some things.
The thing is, in all relationships, there are different expectations, and what is good for person A might be unacceptable to person B. Whenever you’re about to get into a new relationship it is essential to talk to your would-be partner and make sure you’re both okay with each other’s expectations and they can be met. What you take for granted might be a big deal to someone else, we all have different levels of ‘conservativeness’, is that the word?
That being said, ‘what is your definition of cheating?’
Hi Dear, I’m Olubode Josephine, a student of veterinary medicine in a Nigerian university whose life dream is to be a writer who makes significant impacts in the lives of the people who come across her works.
I love love, I love people, and I adore a good relationship. I hope reading my article helped you. You could contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if there’s anything you’d like to talk to me about.