From “The Healing Show” Series #1: How To Attract A Better Relationship
EPISODE #16: Why Do People Cheat In Relationships
Why people cheat, is not a subject by itself, as much as it seems that way.
Why it happens isn’t necessarily linked to relationships. Cheating happens ‘in’ relationships, but it doesn’t necessarily happen ‘because’ the person is in a relationship. It’s like other unhealthy patterns like gambling, drug addiction, comfort food eating, extreme exercise and workaholism: they happen ‘in’ relationships, but they don’t necessarily happen ‘because’ the person is in a relationship. Benita you’re being cryptic and mysterious, just tell us why people cheat!
This topic of why people cheat, is huge! I will come at it from lots of different angles in follow up articles on the subject. But the angle I’ll address in this article, is not actually an angle as such, but more of a fundamental, deep seated reason called childhood conditioning!
People cheat in relationships, for the same reason that they gamble in a relationship, for the same reason they take drugs in a relationship, because it is the coping mechanism they have learned from their parents or guardians.
Whether the child, now the adult, is told or not told that one of their parents cheated; whether they have found out themselves or they don’t have a clue, the child now the adult, will copy and paste the parent’s behaviour, into their own relationship.
But Benita, how do these things get copied when the person has no idea? Because like all behavioural, thinking and feeling patterns, a child gets conditioned in their upbringing and they have no idea that the conditioning is taking place, because they don’t yet have a questioning, objective mind to decide whether they will take it on, they just take it on.
Conditioning is not obvious, it goes under the radar of consciousness unless deliberately addressed and healed. Conditioning might be obvious to the observer of the person, but it is not obvious to the person.
We all get programmed with various behaviours and cheating could be one of them for you or somebody you care about. There are behavioural programs for everything: you have learnt how to act a certain way in public, because that’s what you learnt from your parents; you learnt to act a certain way in achievement and performance situations, because that’s what you learnt from your parents; you learnt to act a certain way with regards to your work ethic, because that’s what you learnt from your parents.
And of course, you possibly learnt to act a certain way, that is cheating, in challenging times in your relationship, because that’s what you learnt from your parents, because that’s how they acted in their own relationships, when they had challenging times.
I’m not saying that the parent ‘has to’ cheat, in order for the child to pick up on it and do so themselves. Sometimes the parent didn’t actually cheat, but they fantasized about cheating so seriously that they wished they did, and so the child acts out that unlived fantasy of the parent, in their adult relationship.
It can be that the grandparent of the child cheated, and the parent was brought up with super strict and punishing attitudes that prevented them from cheating in their relationship. However, the cheating pattern is still there. Just because the parent didn’t live out the cheating pattern, the child could live it out, because the pattern is unresolved from the grandparent’s time.
In general, a person who cheats, does so because they have learnt that coping mechanism from their parents.
Generally, nobody wants to cheat. Generally, nobody goes into a relationship with the specific purpose of cheating on their new partner. It seems to happen that way. It doesn’t happen with their eyes closed, however, people ‘know’ when they’re cheating. The act isn’t excused because I’m saying they could have experienced ‘cheating conditioning’ as a child. But people don’t know why they’re cheating necessarily and would generally not put it down to childhood conditioning.