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How to overcome the urge to cheat

23 August 2023
How to overcome the urge to cheat

What you will learn from this blog:

  • The urge to cheat or an emotional or sexual attraction to someone other than your partner isn’t a bad thing – it is your body signalling you of something deeper; such as unmet needs or unresolved trauma
  • The urge to cheat can be overcome through proper direction via emotional therapy from a relationship therapist in Singapore

As relationship therapists in Singapore, we often see clients who come to us because of an incident of ‘cheating’ in the relationship. Cheating can be emotional or sexual. It happens when someone stops investing energy into building connection and intimacy with their partner, and invests that energy elsewhere.

In this definition, cheating can be:

  • Watching porn to satisfy your sexual desires, instead of investing in sexual intimacy with your partner
  • Engaging services to satisfy your sexual/emotional needs, instead of building a sexual/emotional connection with your partner
  • Being emotionally/sexually intimate with someone else regularly, instead of working on emotional intimacy with your partner

Cheating damages relationships because:

  • It breaks trust; and
  • There is a lack of effort put into building a connection.

The fact that most cheating happens in secrecy creates an emotional divide between a couple, where partners are unable to share their true feelings openly with each other. To heal and repair the relationship, couples may seek emotional therapy from a relationship therapist in Singapore

Is having the urge to cheat a bad thing?

Firstly, it is important to understand that the urge to cheat or an emotional or sexual attraction to someone outside your relationship is not a bad thing in itself.

It is a SIGNAL from your body about something within you that needs attention – such as an unmet need, or an unresolved trauma.

The more we resist this urge, the stronger and more uncontrollable it will get.

Instead of giving in and allowing this urge to control our behaviour, it is important to BE AWARE of this urge, and examine why it is there.

In a previous blog, we identified the following common root causes of cheating:

  1. Unmet emotional needs
  2. Sexualised Trauma
  3. Fear of Commitment

We recommend reading that blog

In this blog, we share ways to address these 3 causes of the urge to cheat.

Unmet emotional needs

The urge to cheat often comes when we are in a very low state emotionally.

This is when our emotional needs are very high. These needs include connection; appreciation; feeling seen and heard; feeling understood.

If we do not get these emotional needs met in our relationship, we “starve” and are driven overwhelmingly to seek that connection elsewhere.

To overcome this, identify what your emotional needs are, and communicate them with your partner

We understand it may be difficult to do so when your partner may be emotional as well. Communication and understanding each other’s wants and needs are the basic foundation of a healthy relationship. Seek emotional therapy with a relationship therapist in Singapore if needed.

It is also important not to be completely dependent on your partner to meet your emotional needs:

  • Find out how to build connection and intimacy with yourself – e.g. by being present with your emotions and inner child
  • Find communities, groups or trusted friends who can supplement the emotional support you get from your partner.

Sexualised Trauma

Sexualised trauma can be very difficult to detect as many people confuse it with “falling in love” with somebody else, or having “natural sexual needs”.

Here are some differences between being sexually and emotionally attracted to someone who is subconsciously feeding your trauma, vs. real connection:

Sexual trauma Real intimacy
  • Feels unsafe; you cannot fully trust
  • You objectify the other and sex is more physical than emotional
  • You do not feel in control – it’s like your body is hijacking you
  • You feel drained after; it feels like you are leaking sexual energy
  • There is a feeling of guilt, disgust and shame; you feel empty and depressed after
  • Feels safe; you can trust and be vulnerable
  • You can deeply feel the essence and presence of the other
  • There is a feeling of being whole and complete and belonging
  • You feel fully conscious and in your body
  • You feel a sense of fullness after

To heal sexualized trauma:

  • Step 1: Be aware of whether your attraction to someone is due to trauma or a genuine connection.
  • Step 2: Address your resistance to your sexuality and find acceptance for it. This does not mean giving in to it. The more you feel shame, guilt and disgust towards your sexuality, the more overwhelming your trauma-driven sexual urges will become.
  • Step 3: Identify the trauma and heal it and find ways to channel your sexual desires in a healthy way. From our experience, it is very difficult for one to do this on their own. Seek professional guidance; you could approach us at Intracresco if you are looking for relationship therapists in Singapore

Fear of Commitment

Some symptoms of this fear are:

  • Being ambiguous about the relationship
  • Feeling trapped when you get too close to someone
  • Flirting with others gives you a sense of freedom and empowerment

Here are some tips to help you start your journey towards healing:

a) Mentally

Notice how not committing is keeping you stuck in a cycle of always needing to find something new and living a double life; look for positive reasons to commit that align with your life goals

b) Emotionally

Be present with your fear of commitment; feel that fear in your body when it comes up; reflect on what life experiences you had that led to this fear

c) Practically

Start committing and following through on small tasks that bring you joy (e.g. to learn a skill; or start a hobby). When you start to see the positive results of committing to something and pouring all your focus and energy into it, you start to heal your fear

Learn more about how you can work with us on improving your mental health through emotional therapy. We at Intracresco are relationship therapists in Singapore, and we are to support you through your journey

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