What do Tiger Woods, Bill Clinton, and Arnold Schwarzenegger all have in common?

Posted on May 20, 2011

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Tiger owns up: "I was unfaithful. I had affairs. I cheated"

Yesterday I wrote a post about how to keep up a healthy relationship. Today, I’ll discuss the opposite: cheating. It’s one of those topics that we like to shove under the bed. I would NEVER cheat on my boyfriend/girlfriend, we all say. Anyone who has cheated, likes to keep it hush hush (for obvious reasons). And for all of us that have been cheated on, it’s not something we brag about. But let’s face it, cheating is something that should be talked about more often, especially if you’re in a relationship. To cheat is wrong, and any rational person knows that, but it happens. And sometimes to the best of us. Why do people cheat? And why do some people cheat but others don’t? Cognitive scientist and personality psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman discusses just this in his article, “Why Some People Resist Relationship Infidelity Better Than Other“.

He really gets into the science of it, and points out some interesting things:

“In recent years, neuropsychologists have located a set of brain areas in the frontal lobe (around the forehead) of humans that support self-control processes. These so-called “executive functions,” which were the last bit of our brain to evolve, involve the ability to plan, inhibit or delay responding. Whenever someone must focus hard on a task and ignore distractions, this area is particularly active….Therefore, executive control may play a role in cheating behaviors. If your long-term goal is to stay committed to your partner, and you’ve got a heck of a lot of temptation, this requires a heck of a lot of executive control”

Kaufman talks later on in the article about how executive control is impaired by things like high workload, stress, and alcohol. Now I’m sure many of you in relationships are thinking: oh crap, I’m stressed, I drink…oh executive control, don’t let me down! And now maybe you’re thinking you can’t do your grocery shopping anymore because you always run into that hot grocer. And my god, if you so much as get a wink from hot grocer then all bets are off. Where’s the nearest broom closet?

Ok, calm down. Unfortunately Kaufman doesn’t give any answers for this type of situation (thanks a lot…). But in my opinion, this is where the subject of cheating needs to be less taboo. Nobody is immune to every attractive person in the world. So, if you are feeling like you’re at risk for straying, then figure out exactly why and talk about it with your boyfriend/girlfriend. Approach the subject in a reasonable way (“I’ve been feeling really stressed out lately and distant from you”, instead of “So there’s this other person I want to get down and dirty with”), and hopefully that will lead to a strengthening of the relationship. And if you’ve got something worth holding on to, you’ll be less likely to stray.

Now let’s turn the tables from cheating to being cheated on, which is more my area of expertise (yay?). My last boyfriend cheated on me, and I found out about it when I saw pictures on Facebook. Oh boy, I was furious. And then two days later I forgave him. Looking back, I realize how stupid that was. That indicates how low my self-esteem was and what little respect I had for myself. I  wish now that I had just dumped him right away. But some may not agree with me. So I wanna know (and you can answer in the poll below), if you are cheated on, what would you do? For those of you who have been cheated on, answer with what you did, not what you would do now.

Now, find out what Ke$ha thinks of cheating by listening to her song: Kiss n’ Tell. It’s quite catchy.

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Posted in: Relationships