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Why Do I Cheat?

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From a teen in Australia: I have had a partner for over one year, I cheated on my partner at the very beginning of the relationship then stopped I was loyal to him for a good few months and a few days ago I cheated on him again and I don’t understand why I did it, I didn’t feel anything when I was cheating on him in the moment I was just thinking about him being hurt, angry and confused and I was rather upset when doing it but I kept doing it. I would love to know what y’all think about this because I don’t know what to think and I don’t want any of my friends to think I’m a slut so I’m not going to ask¬†them.

Why Do I Cheat?

Answered by on -

A.

Thank you for writing. What I think is that you aren’t ready to be in a committed monogamous relationship. There is no shame in that. I’ve become increasingly concerned over the last few years that teens feel the pressure to be in committed relationships and to be sexually intimate, ready or not. The culture of many high schools demands that people have a girlfriend or boyfriend. The result is often a “serial” monogamy where people see one person for awhile, go through a painful break-up, then find someone new where the same thing happens.

The problem, to me, isn’t about trust or the ability to be in a relationship or sexuality. It’s about the fact that the teen years are supposed to be a time of exploration. This is the period when you find out about yourself and about the type of person you want to be with. That can only happen if you get to know a number of people you are interested in and resist the pressure to “settle down.” 17 is not the age to do that.

I think you “cheat” as a way to give yourself permission to explore other relationships. Unfortunately, since you pledge monogamy, this leaves you feeling bad about yourself and makes the other person feel rejected and betrayed. It would be more honest and healthier for you to tell guys you are dating that you aren’t ready to be exclusive. You may not be ready to have sex with every guy you are interested in either. That’s absolutely okay.

Being up front with your unwillingness to be someone’s one and only for now (and acting on it) will prevent you from feeling like a “slut” and will prevent the guys from feeling betrayed.

I wish you well,

Dr. Marie

Why Do I Cheat?

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2019). Why Do I Cheat?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 12, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2019/09/02/why-do-i-cheat/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 24 Aug 2019
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 24 Aug 2019
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.