How to Deal With the Desire to Cheat on Your Partner

However happy you may be with your current partner, you are "married" - not dead. There are lots of very attractive people out there, and you may experience a temptation to cheat on your partner at some point. This common feeling doesn't have to be the end of the relationship, though, as there are several ways to deal with feelings of attraction to someone outside your relationship and any desire to act on those feelings.


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    Identify why you are tempted to cheat. Common reasons include boredom with your sex life, frustration with some aspect of your relationship, or simply the idea that grass is greener on the other side. Relationships are like flowers - you have to water and care for them, or they wilt and die. Perhaps your relationship has just gone a bit stale or flat with age and it's time to add a little spice. Identifying the reasons you may be tempted by another is an important step in dealing with those feelings.
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    Talk with your partner about the issue. For example, if you are bored with your sex life, discuss what new activity you could try together. Or, if you simply enjoy the flattery offered by the other person (if that person is attracted to you as well), let your partner know that. Sometimes, life gets in the way and we don't let our partners know how much we love and appreciate them - if your partner is caught in a tedious cycle of hassled, busy life to the point where s/he has no time to let you feel that you are loved, it's time that changed. Your relationship should be brought back to front and center, and both of you will need to make the effort to nurture it back to health so that you feel relaxed, comfortable, loved and desired at home.
    • You and your partner may decide that you can have an open relationship. In this case, you will need to have a serious discussion about the "rules" of this relationship. These relationships are difficult to sustain as one partner generally feels that the other is "having their cake and eating it, too." However, if you feel this type of non-exclusive relationship could work for you, it may be worth having the discussion with your present partner.
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    Think about the worst things that could happen. If you give in to the temptation you feel, what will you lose? Do you own a home together? Do you have children? How would you feel if you lost all of this? Your life would change drastically, practically overnight. You might not have the access to your children that you once had. You would not be able to live in your home any longer (Let's face it: the cheater often has to leave. It's not right to cheat in the first place, so if you do it, your partner is the wronged party.). Without thinking of the person you are considering an affair with, think about how you would feel if your partner were killed, or if s/he left you, and you were the one who had to go on alone. How does it feel, thinking about losing the person you have shared much of your life with these past years?
    • Is the temptation worth the risk of losing everything you have held dear? Not only that, but consider the loss of respect from your friends, family, coworkers, and possibly your community when it is discovered that your relationship ended because you were unfaithful. It is difficult, if not impossible, to get that back, and often, your family is hostile to the new person for a very long time.
    • If you have children, think about the example you're setting for them. If you decide to have an affair, you are teaching them that it is OK to break your wedding vows and that marriage and family are not important. Since you may ultimately have to move out, you are denying them the stability of a home together with both of their parents.
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    Make a list of your partner's best qualities. Focus on what you have loved about him or her. For example, you might like her witty jokes or his "random acts of kindness". You can also list their most physically attractive qualities as well. Thinking about these good traits will help remind you why you're attracted to this person.
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    Think about positive things in the relationship. Your partner may encourage you to enjoy new hobbies and take part in them with you, or be an excellent listener. You may have a long history together, with memories that tie you to one another; you and her family may enjoy a close relationship which would end if you broke up.
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    Spend good quality time with your partner. Don't sit and watch TV or play a video game which s/he watches. Converse. Have experiences. Go visit friends together. See a movie and then go out to dinner or coffee and discuss it - you know, like you did when you first got together.
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    Avoid any potentially compromising situations. Because you know you are attracted to this person, make sure that you don't put yourself in situations where things could get out of control. Don't carpool to meetings, don't stay and work late with him, don't exchange phone numbers or make him your Facebook friend. Don't have any interactions with him where you are alone with him - ever. It's very likely that your present partner is aware of your attraction to this person - s/he will be watching. If you want your present relationship to survive, you will need to make sure that your partner's trust in you is not misplaced. Don't put yourself in a bad spot just for a chance to be alone with someone pretty.
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    Remember who you are. Are you a cheater? Are you a sneak? A liar? A jerk? If the answer is no, then don't act like one. Are you a good person? A kind person? A caring person? Be the person you think you are in your heart - and remember, you are not just who you think you are. You are what you do. If you think you're a noble, good person, remember that a person like that does not lie and cheat just to feel good or special, or to get with someone. If you think you're a good guy, but you do bad things, then you're a bad guy. So remember who you are. If you are a good person, do what a good person in this situation would do: either stiffen your backbone and resist that temptation, or if you feel that this attraction has served to point out why your relationship is not working any longer, then take steps to fix or end that relationship before acting on the temptation presented by the new person.


  • Always treat your partner with consideration, respect and kindness, and remember to return the favor.
  • Cultivate an environment in which you and your partner live to make each other's lives more rewarding. If you wake up each morning and think, "What can I do to make his life better today?" you will find ways to do it. And you may be surprised to find that the more considerate and thoughtful you are to him, the more often he thinks about treating you the same way.
  • Leave little notes for her, maybe in a lunch you pack for her, or in her purse. Greet her at the door with a smile and a romantic kiss, and let her know you missed her while she was at work. A kind and romantic greeting does much to foster an atmosphere in which romance abounds in your home. When your relationship is romantic and fun and filled with cozy feelings of affection, it's pretty hard to be enticed by a pretty smile on someone else's face - because you remember the pretty smile waiting for you at home.


  • All of this assumes that you want to remain in your current relationship. If you are having trouble finding appealing qualities in your partner, or are seriously frustrated with the relationship, you may want to consider ending your current relationship instead of "stringing along" your current partner. Definitely, it is far better and more respectful to end the current relationship well in advance of acting on any feelings you may have about someone else.
  • Even entertaining the thought of acting on your attraction to another person is dangerous. It would be far better to redirect any such thoughts immediately - for example, when you find yourself dazzled by that pretty face, replace that with thoughts of your wife's or girlfriend's pretty face, and think about ways to show her that you love her, such as buying flowers on the way home, or just giving her a special hug and saying so. Every time you do this, you retrain yourself in the right direction.

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Categories: Cheating Spouses