Cheating is one of the biggest, baddest taboos in the world of relationships. It’s understandable – when it comes to something that’s founded on trust, cheating is a major betrayal. However, despite the overwhelming attitudes against cheating, studies show that many people in committed relationships partake in this cardinal sin of dating – studies put the number of cheaters anywhere from 25 to 70 percent.
Why is that the case? Are most people just awful, unhealthy people? Well, no – as it turns out, cheating could be good for you after all, depending on the circumstances.
1. The Pre-Breakup Hookup
It’s widely accepted but hard to prove that people are supposed to be in relationships forever. And chances are, if you have found your special someone, your eye probably won’t be wandering in the first place.
But say you are losing interest. In the immortal words of Andre 3000, nothing lasts forever – what makes love the exception? If your attraction to your partner is waning, maybe it’s time to admit there’s no future here – and maybe a hookup with someone else will be the nail in the coffin that convinces you.
However, whether it’s someone else you’ve been attracted to or a random hookup, do the decent thing and break it off with your partner immediately after. Leaving someone for someone else is one thing; stringing them along while cheating on them is a whole other ballgame.
2. Reaffirming your relationship
Sometimes, it’s not so clear whether it’s over or not. Many people can begin to take their significant other for granted, which leads them to pursue other people. But occasionally, this gives them pangs of regret rather than a feeling of liberation.
This is the post-cheating realization of “how good you’ve got it.” And while it certainly would have been better to arrive at it independently, sometimes it takes a lot to realize how much you value your partner, and how awful losing them would be.
Next comes how to approach your partner about this. Keeping secrets is never the best policy, but it’s understandably a sensitive subject. It’s on you to know how to approach your significant other about this. Maybe consider the “show, don’t tell” policy – show your revelation through affection, not directly approaching them about the situation.
3. Open relationships!
From what we’ve gathered so far, it seems that monogamy just leads to temptation and unappreciation of your partner. Maybe exclusivity isn’t the best approach after all! The jury’s still out on whether open relationships can work to, say, save a failing marriage, but if exclusivity isn’t on the table in the first place, what’s the harm?
For more established relationships, this may not be the answer. But early on in a relationship, playing the field is perfectly healthy if you haven’t agreed on being exclusive yet. At this point, hooking up with someone else can be the ultimate test on the strength of your bond. If they freak out and act possessive, well, there’s your sign. If they’re fine with you pursuing your own pleasure over some idea of ownership, they might just be worth dating seriously.
4. Cheating on a total asshole
Finally, there’s the consideration that your relationship just sucks. We’ve all been in relationships that have lasted well past the expiration date. Need an easy out? Here’s a freebie. Plus you get to have steamy revenge sex!
Ultimately, the main lesson to take away from this is that the traditional nuclear model is working for fewer and fewer people. Many millennials have been eschewing traditional monogamous relationships in favor of writing their own sexual rules. This is the healthiest approach to it all – by conducting your personal lives by your own personal rules, you avoid the chance for conflict entirely. Just make sure your partner’s on board.