advertisement
Home » Eating Disorders » Those Springtime Cheating Hearts

Those Springtime Cheating Hearts

“Spring is nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s party!’” – Robin Williams

Spring has sprung. Days are getting longer, sunnier, and warmer. While winter in colder climes can drive people indoors and into a low-grade depression, spring — ah, spring — invigorates the body and soul. Some studies show it also brings an upsurge in cheating. The songs aren’t wrong: Springtime seems to be a time for lovers, even the cheating ones.

Why? There are a number of speculations: 

It may be primal. Spring is the season of mating for most creatures. Perhaps people are still wired to look around for a desirable mate. Just as is true of other critters, males may feel the urge to compete with other males for the attention of attractive females. Females may be on the lookout for someone more virile than the male they are with.

Hormones: More sunshine triggers more serotonin, the chemical that makes us happier and more energetic — and maybe friskier. Low levels of serotonin are correlated with depression. But the higher levels of spring put that spring in a person’s step and a zing in their self-esteem.

Emerging from parkas: There is even some evidence that peeling off the layers of winter clothing makes people feel and look sexier. The first sign of spring in the college town where I work is not robins. It’s coeds in tank tops and shirtless young men. Some people (male and female) see such shedding of the winter “skin” of long underwear and parkas as an invitation to flirt and pursue.

Spring opens new possibilities. For people in difficult relationships, their emergence from winter blahs may make them hopeful — but not necessarily for the relationship they are in. Discouraged, disillusioned, and hurt by the impasse they find themselves in, they use their springtime elevated mood to look around for someone new. 

Narcissism: Narcissism has become a buzzword, but there really are some people who are the genuine thing. People with Narcissistic Personality Disorder are, at base, terribly insecure. They need constant validation and attention. Settled-down love doesn’t do it. The giddiness of spring may activate them to prove to themselves that they’ve still “got it,” that they are still sexually attractive to others. 

Springtime isn’t an excuse.

Article continues below...
TALK TO A THERAPIST NOW:
Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Whatever the reason that comes with the season, it does not excuse infidelity. Unlike the birds and the bees, healthy people do have impulse control. People have the ability to make, and keep, promises. Being unfaithful is ultimately a decision, not something inevitable with the coming of the sun. 

When someone decides to act on their spring fever by having an affair, it’s a betrayal of the person they are with. It rarely ends well. More often than not, all three people (cheater, partner, and affairee) end up feeling diminished.

Spring is a time of renewal.

Maintaining a relationship with another human being is one of the most difficult things we do but also among the most rewarding. If you find yourself tempted to cheat as the days get longer and warmer, it may be a signal that your relationship needs renewed energy and commitment.

Don’t wait for your partner to make the first move. Get busy. Put that springtime energy into the relationship you are already in. 

Share the sunshine: Being outdoors has been shown in some studies to be as effective as anti-depressants for making people feel better. Couples who get outside and do enjoyable things together deposit those good feelings in the relationship bank. Take a walk. Go on a bike ride or hike. Do some yardwork together. Visit a spring flower show. If you two aren’t the outdoorsy athletic types, at least sit in the sun in a pretty place. 

Put some romance back in: Bring flowers and chocolate. Say “please” and “thank you.” Touch your partner more often. A shoulder rub, a touch of the hand, a playful tickle can enhance your connection and make you both feel happier. Read to each other. Listen to music together. Show more of yourself by sharing positive memories. Invite more intimacy. Do random acts of kindness. 

Obey the platinum rule: Most people know the Golden Rule: “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” It’s a good start. But often enough people like, want, and need different things than we do. The Platinum Rule takes that into account by focusing on what the other person wants: “Do to others what would please them.” Think about what would please your partner and do it, even if you don’t understand why they like it, even if it would do nothing for you.                                             

Feeling stuck? Do you think that none of these suggestions will relight the spark between you and your partner — spring or no spring? Do you wonder what you ever saw in each other? It’s time to start communicating — for real. That means pulling out of the doldrums and taking a hard look at your own contribution to the muck and mire. It means talking, not fighting, with your partner about what has happened to your love and what to do about it.

If you can’t get to a better place on your own, get the help of a relationships counselor. At the very least, you will both feel you gave it your best effort and you will learn something important to take to the next relationship. At the best, you’ll rediscover the love that brought you together.

Those Springtime Cheating Hearts


Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D.

Marie Hartwell-WalkerDr. Marie Hartwell-Walker is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. She writes regularly for Psych Central as well as Psych Central's Ask the Therapist feature. She is author of the insightful parenting e-book, Tending the Family Heart.

Check out her book, Unlocking the Secrets of Self-Esteem.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, M. (2020). Those Springtime Cheating Hearts. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 6, 2020, from https://psychcentral.com/lib/those-springtime-cheating-hearts/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 31 Mar 2020 (Originally: 1 Apr 2020)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 31 Mar 2020
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.