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People Who Are Sexually Or Emotionally Dissatisfied Cheat To Restore Their Self-Esteem, Says Study

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Have you ever cheated on a boyfriend? When you were young and relationships seemed rather trivial? Or is it too sensitive a question to be asked? The thing is infidelity is really looked down upon, almost like the people who are committing it don’t live among us. It’s like they are the white walkers and they must be damned back to hell, away from the civilization. I am not saying it’s a virtue but most people who cheat aren’t intending to hurt their partners. We are humans and sometimes, our sense of self gets attacked by certain aspects of our relationships. A woman who is deprived of attention, love, and whose self-esteem is being murdered by her partner’s lack of interest may be prone to seeking validation outside their relationship. It’s her way of getting her hands on, not another guy but the steering wheel of her life.

It’s complicated; there’s nothing black and white about human emotions and psychology. Why people cheat? What are the motivation factors? Where does the willpower go? Can you cheat on someone you love? Many of us think about these questions. Turns out, a bunch of researchers went on to delve deeper into infidelity and found some rather surprising answers.

 

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Relationships and Our Identity

According to a study published in the Sage Journal, infidelity may conjure positive results in adolescents (or young individuals). It says there’s a link between cheating, self-esteem, and personal development. “We were interested in this topic mainly because adolescence is a period of significant change during which individuals try to shape their personal identities and meet their needs for intimacy. During this period, adolescents seek new sensations, feelings, and behaviors to consolidate their identities, making it difficult to commit to a relationship,” Ana M Beltrán-Morillas, one of the authors told PsyPost.

“Our interest in this topic was further enhanced by previous research showing that adolescents experienced positive emotions after infidelity, although they did not consider it acceptable behavior. From this starting point, we decided to examine whether infidelity in adolescence could positively affect adolescents’ psychological well-being,” Morillas further added.

The study asked its participants to report the reasons they would practiced infidelity in their relationships. Would it be wanting more sex? More time? They were then told to describe how they’d feel post the cheating. A complete assessment of their self-esteem and other psychological factors was done.

Infidelity showed a boost in self-esteem

The report reads: “The results showed that committing an act of infidelity due to sexual or emotional dissatisfaction (vs. neglect and anger) is related to higher levels of psychological well-being by undermining negative affect, thereby increasing the levels of self-esteem.” It further adds, “The discussion of the findings emphasizes that infidelity could favor adolescents’ personal growth, because of the need to explore new sensations and feelings that arise during this period.”

Now I don’t know how to feel about this. I mean, yes, when one person is emotionally let down, it may feel liberating to be able to say “fuck this shit, I deserve affection and being treated right.” Just the very thought of taking charge of your feelings and not letting your sense of self being dependent on another person is empowering. But what about the other person? If your partner finds out or you come clean, doesn’t it hurt their self-esteem? I don’t know if I’d want that. Sometimes, it’s better to walk away. But infidelity rarely is premeditated. It happens when self-control shrinks in comparison to your need for validation. It’s not fair to break another person’s self-confidence for yours.

 

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Rethinking relationships

“Generally, as the Belgian psychotherapist and writer Esther Perel pointed out in her talk ‘Rethinking Infidelity,’ affairs always carry a longing and desire for emotional connection, autonomy, freedom, novelty, sexual intensity, desire to recover lost parts of oneself, or attempts to regain vitality in the face of loss and tragedy,” Beltrán-Morillas told PsyPost. She further added, “Therefore, when referring to infidelity, the perspective of the person who exercises it should also be considered, as infidelity does not always occur because of the desire to search for another person. Instead, it can arise from the desire to seek another identity and find oneself.”

ALSO READ:Fear Of Attachment And Relationship Uncertainty Reduces Sexual Desire, Says Science

It’s sad, isn’t it? It’s terrifying that if you stay in a toxic or stale relationship way beyond its expiry date, you could lose not just your mental peace but also your sense of self. And when that is shaken, it’s the worse. So we do anything, to get a hold of our self-esteem, hang in there until we can grow it back again.

Maybe we should try to make our relationships conducive to personal growth and happiness. Maybe we should either leave or fix things instead of just sitting on our problems expecting them to hatch on their own. “Furthermore, our findings could be oriented toward the promotion of adequate sexual and affective education aimed at improving adolescents’ social and romantic relationships to increase their levels of emotional and psychosocial well-being,” Beltrán-Morillas explained.

ALSO READ:How To Avoid Cheating In A Long-Distance Relationship

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