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Cheating on a partner and its effects

Cheating is the act of engaging in a relationship whilst in a different one, at the same time, but what are its effects?

In 2018, research done by Secure Forensics found that 10% of affairs start online, and 40% of those turn into real life affairs.

John Junior, an editor for film and TV with Channel 4 and the BBC, was comfortable talking about his experience of being cheated on.

He said: “I couldn’t leave her because I didn’t want to come across as too strong.

“It doesn’t matter if they tell you they’re going to change, a million times, you’ll still stick by them.”

He was in a relationship with someone for eight years, and from the very start, she had been cheating.

Blaming it on her drinking problems, she cheated on John for the duration of their relationship, and once he’d decided enough was enough, he left.

He said: “It hurt a lot. It was massive emotional damage.

“I think part of the reason was because it’s part of the thrill. You can’t have the best of both worlds – you either stay single, or have a partner.”

According to Bolde, cheating and its effects can lead to a myriad of things.

These can include:

  • The demise of a relationship
  • Loss of trust
  • Resentment
  • Tense relationships with family and friends
  • A feeling of intense guilt

Dr Sheri Jacobson, founder of Harley Therapy, a counselling service based in London, said: “I’ve been cheated on, and most of my clients I see have some experience of infidelity.

“It’s very commonplace.”

Dr Jacobson has been in the counselling and therapy industry for 20 years, and said that her fulfilment didn’t ever come from investment banking and consultancy.

She added: “I couldn’t envisage spending a lifetime in those areas.

“When I took a module on intercultural psychiatry and therapy, and the treatment of mental health issues, that really spoke to me.”

Harley Therapy was started in 2008, and has a wide range of therapists, creating change through in-person therapy, phone therapy, and online counselling.

Many people use the Harley service, and Dr Jacobson said this was exacerbated during the pandemic.

She added: “I think that often, in context, cheating is about dissatisfaction. Needs are not being met and that causes someone to try and get those needs fulfilled.

“It can be for attention or a sense of conquest or achievement, there are a whole variety of reasons as to why someone would cheat.”

However cheating, according to Dr Jacobson, isn’t the paramount to breakdown in relationships.

She said: “It can reunite people, because they often come to therapy after a rupture like cheating and they managed to get back on track with renewed honesty.”

When asked if cheating is psychological, she disagreed.

She added: “In my professional opinion, often, the single biggest cause of relationship breakdown is because it is lacking in some way.

“So, we turn to someone else because the relationship is lacking, and cheating is a by-product of that.”

Dr Jacobson’s message to those who have been cheated on, was: “As hurtful as cheating can be to the person affected, it can often shine a spotlight to both parties, and to what they can improve for the future.

“Although cheating can bring a lot of hurt, and pain, there is growth and learning to be had from it.

“It’s the tough moments and hardships that shape us the most.”

John added: “You feel insecure, you feel like there is something wrong with you, but it’s not you, it’s them.”

ReachOut Australia advises on what to do if you find out you are being cheated on:

  • Remember: you are not to blame
  • Accept that things are going to suck for a while
  • Put yourself first
  • Surround yourself with friends/family/people who will support you
  • Ask for (professional) help if you need it

If you’d like to get in contact with Harley Therapy, their website is here, and their phone number is 020 3613 4684.

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