Have you recently noticed that your partner is oddly encouraging or even pressuring you to interact with your past love interest? Or suggests you play along with the office flirt?
“Really, it’s no big deal,” you’re told. But, cheating is a big deal!
If you’re concerned about this relaxed demeanor, you should be! This could be a sign that there’s uncertainty in your relationship.
When someone pressures you to cheat, determining who’s fault it is won’t ease this growing turbulence in your relationship.
You need to look at the deeper issue to eliminate this eagerness to push you into the arms of another.
What’s at stake in your relationship when cheating is encouraged?
You certainly don’t want that “walking on eggshells” feeling from your partner every time you talk to someone — that eerie hovering eye on your every move.
You don’t want to have to explain to your partner that you and your friends aren’t conspiring and keeping secrets.
Or has it gotten this far?
This controlling behavior will damage the trust in your relationship and will make you wonder if you really know this person anymore.
At some point, you started feeling like you’re being pushed away and the distance has grown between the two of you.
It’s time to press the reset button and get back the unconditional love you once shared.
How did your deep connection become a deep issue?
To begin to understand what’s going on here, you’ll need to dive into the root of the problem and seek out the deeper issue.
Throughout your life you’ll have adopted beliefs, the thoughts you repeat to yourself over and over again, that came from your environment and your experiences.
The greater the emotion you felt at that time — happiness, sadness, love, and anger — the deeper you would’ve connected to that belief.
Many of the beliefs you hold true are centered around your past relationships. This is the area in your life where you experience the deepest of emotions.
When you’re met with uncertainty, you’ll use the experiences from your past to help understand how to handle a situation. That data is brought forward to make your decision.
Beliefs can overpower the desire for a fulfilling life and they can disrupt a perfectly content relationship.
If your partner has been cheated on in the past or someone close to them has fallen victim to this type of experience, then this belief overrides any evidence stating otherwise.
Unfortunately, this includes any plea from you to have faith in your monogamous relationship.
This belief is so convincing to them that they believe this is the way it is and they’ll do anything to support it. That self-fulfilling prophecy is continuously fed evidence to maintain its existence and keep that story alive.
If they don’t keep collecting this supporting information, they’ll be wrong. This inner ego of theirs won’t let them be wrong, so they stick to their story — no matter what.
If your partner keeps reliving that story in their mind — that everyone cheats or, at some point, you’ll cheat on them — they’ll continue to make the effort to prove this even to the extent of manipulating the situation and pressuring you to cheat.
They don’t want to wait for the inevitable. They’ll do anything to expedite this belief by finding sneaky and interesting ways to support it.
Over time, they’ve created a database that includes nuances in conversations and innocent glances that have developed into an increasingly convincing case.
What is the real cause that distanced you?
This may sound devious and evil, but that wasn’t their intention when you first started dating. There was this beautiful experience with much potential.
But, as you got deeper into the relationship, insecurities will have surfaced while your hearts opened up. Your relationship became vulnerable and fears began to guide each of your actions.
We reflect on past relationships as a way of understanding these new feelings. And if the only existing supportive documentation is that “relationships will end because someone cheated,” then that’s the direction this story will go in.
This story is so well written in their mind that every detail up to the drastic and devastating ending is imagined.
According to psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, in his book “Flow”:
“Unless a person knows how to give order to his or her thoughts, attention will be attracted to whatever is most problematic at the moment: it will focus on some real or imaginary pain, on recent grudges or long-term frustrations. Entropy is the normal state of consciousness—a condition that is neither useful nor enjoyable.”
To get past this, you have to help them recreate that story and give order to their thoughts. But, telling them that you’re not like the ones in their past and won’t be unfaithful isn’t good enough.
Their self-fulfilling prophecy is strong and you must work with them to rewrite their story so they can develop new beliefs around your relationship.
So, what can you do to revive the relationship after the pressure of cheating?
1. Understand their story.
You have to address the elephant in the room and bring the concern out into the open.
You must exercise compassion when questioning someone else’s beliefs. They still believe this story is true even though you know deep down that it’s not.
2. Discover what triggers this belief.
What was said or done that stirred those negative thoughts in their mind? Many times conclusions are drawn based on assumptions of what they saw or heard.
Show your partner empathy, since this judgment wasn’t cast on you, but was derived from their beliefs.
3. Use open communication to deepen trust.
Both of you can share how to deepen trust and promote safe sharing in the relationship.
Taking turns listening and talking about concerns, as they come up, increases understanding of each other’s needs and tightens the bond between you.
4. Redefine your relationship as it matures.
Disarming the thoughts and ending the cycle that beliefs created help to move forward into a healthy relationship.
Stop allowing comparisons to the past to seep into the present and continue supporting each other to be more confident as you go through the next phase of your relationship.
You can experience unconditional love if you keep the lines of communication open.
By supporting beliefs that work to the relationship’s benefit, you can live a more fulfilling life with your partner.
Christine Hourd, ACC, is an international success coach located in Calgary, Alberta. She works with clients to strengthen communication to avoid future uncertainty in their personal relationship. You can find more information at The Success Model or book your complimentary session to get start on your goals.