Saturday, September 5, 2009

Why People Cheat

So this post doesn't apply to me directly.  I was thinking, however, about why people cheat and it occurred to me that the answer is completely relevant to many of the things I've talked about in my posts.  Typically, people cheat because their need for one or more of the five A's (attention, affection, acceptance, appreciation, allowing) is not being fulfilled.  They blame their partner for leaving their need or needs unfulfilled and turn to someone else to meet them.  If you've read any of my previous posts you might recall that on average, we can reasonably expect other people to meet our needs (i.e., give us the five A's) only about 25% of the time.  We are responsible for meeting these needs for ourselves the other 75% of the time. 

So ok, where is this going?  Well, when a person has the urge to cheat in essence he or she becomes aware of his or her desire for attention, affection, appreciation, acceptance, and/or allowing.  If he or she could learn to simply sit with this urge/desire (this is a mindfulness technique called "urge surfing" that was introduced by Jon Kabat-Zinn in one of his books on mindfulness) and observe it with unattached curiosity and without judgment he/she would being to learn to meet his/her needs him/herself and would not have to seek out someone else to meet them. 

Elisha Goldstein briefly describes the technique of urge surfing on his blog (found at This is the idea of bringing attention to the breath as the urge is rising and using it a surfboard to ride the waves of sensations associated with the urge as they come and go. Strong urges usually last about 20-30 minutes and sometimes less.

While the technique is typically used to "ride out" urges or cravings associated with addiction it is effective in helping to ride out any urge, including the urge to seek out another person to meet one's needs or to satisfy one's desire for attention, affection, appreciation, acceptance, and/or allowing.  

That is not to say that there may not be real problems in a given relationship.  Still, I think most of us would agree that cheating is not the way to solve relationship problems.  Ride out the urge to cheat and learn to meet your own needs 75% of the time - this will better enable you to deal with any problems that exist in the relationship.

1 comment:

  1. hi! thanks for following me. i will follow you too. :)

    you have interesting topics. i hope to get something out of your thoughts. have a nice day!


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