An excerpt from When You’re the One Who Cheats
© RL Publishing 2019
By Dr Tammy Nelson
Keep yourself in check. Watch what you do. Be responsible. Don’t let yourself sink into denial. It’s easy for these micro-cheating behavior traits to sneak up on you. You may be in the midst of another cycle of cheating or pre-cheating behavior and not even recognize that you are starting things up again, either with your old affair partner or with someone new.
What Counts as a Micro-Cheating Behavior?
Micro-cheating includes behavior such as flirting online, or sending sexy emails or texts. Or talking extensively on the phone to someone other than your partner.
Micro-cheating can include sending photos of yourself, or even direct messaging jokes on social media. Micro-cheating can be anything that crosses that line – the line that you know you shouldn’t cross if you want to stay monogamous. How do you know where that line is? Consider it any behavior that you wouldn’t want your partner to know about.
If you find yourself justifying this behavior as “not really” breaking your monogamy agreement, think hard about what you are doing. If you wouldn’t want your partner peering over your shoulder while you’re doing it, then what you’re doing might, in fact, be cheating.
Not surprisingly, couple therapists have reported extramarital affairs to be one of the most damaging problems couples face, and one of the most difficult problems to treat1. Yet it’s the couples who choose to go into therapy who most often survive as a couple.
Therapy is a decision; a decision to choose love. Therapy can help couples who want their relationship to work. M. Scott Peck, a psychiatrist and bestselling author of The Road Less Traveled2, wrote, “True love is not a feeling by which we are overwhelmed. It is a committed, thoughtful decision.” He believed that for love to be successful it should be a conscious choice, not an overwhelming emotion that we have no personal control over. And that the purpose of a loving relationship is to support one another’s growth.
Can you see yourself choosing to be in a relationship that supports your partner’s growth, one where you choose love?
1 Geiss & O’Leary, 1981; Whisman, Dixon, & Johnson, 1997.
2 Peck, M. Scott, The Road Less Traveled