- Gender and Relationships
If you cheat on me, you are crazy!
Relationships are often confusing. Trying to make sense out of what happens is challenging. When you attempt making sense out of the motives of others, things often become really confusing. Although everyone wants simple answers to their relationship, those simple explanations are not so easy to find or accept.
When your spouse’s behavior does not make sense to you, it does not automatically mean that they are ‘insane.’ Assuming that your spouse has mental or emotional problems based on your standards is often presumptuous. Your spouse may not understand your behavior or the reason you gave them for doing what you did may not make sense to them. Just because they have trouble accepting what you told them does not make you ‘insane’.
Differences between your value systems and your spouse’s also show up when you are married to someone from a totally different culture or country. Although you may believe that all cultures are equal, when it comes down to personal choices, one value system will dominate over the other one. The differences in culture can turn into power and control games between the both of you. Understanding these differences can go a long way in navigating the challenges such differences present.
Before assuming that your spouse is ‘insane’ you may need to find out what you are actually dealing with. Assuming that someone is insane based on them making the choice to cheat on you is a huge narcissistic assumption. The logic is ‘because you do not stay loyal to me, you are insane’. That kind of logic may work for labeling everyone around you and finding persons to blame, but it will not improve the relationship. Your spouse may assume that for a person not to cheat on you is an insane behavior.
Cheating like many other behaviors is often driven by ‘perceived needs’. The cheater assumes that having an affair will meet their needs. Their solution to the problem of an unmet need is ‘cheating’. There may be other solutions, yet they are either not seeing them or choosing to ignore them. When you attempt understanding your spouse’s behavior, you may not like what you discover. When you discover their motives for cheating or what they assume their needs are, it may make you feel uncomfortable.
Your spouse may have values where cheating is expected or allowed. When your spouse has a long family history of cheating, there may be some strong family patterns that are behind what you are dealing with. They may also have a value system that allows cheating. When their values see nothing wrong with cheating, you will have a hard time convincing them that what they did was ‘wrong’, much less trying to call them insane. Besides the challenges that come with being married to someone with different values, there is also the possibility that they are inconsistent in living the values they espouse. Inconsistency in values does not automatically mean that they are insane. Many people are inconsistent in living according to the values they espouse. Having double standards or inconsistent standards is common. It is confusing to live with someone who has double standards, but it does not automatically mean that they are insane.
Your spouse’s value system may be more akin to ‘love the one your with’ rather than one where they are 100% committed to you. The two of you may have different value systems when it comes to the institution of marriage. You may have a totally different definition of commitment and marriage than your spouse does. When you and your spouse have different expectations in that area of what ‘marriage’ is, it leaves little common ground on which to build a relationship. It also leads to many misunderstandings about cheating and what constitutes ‘cheating’.
If your spouse has a sexual addiction, the relationship dynamics change. In the case of sexual addiction, they may still be committed to you, yet find themselves unable to deny their addiction. Engaging in their addiction makes sense to them. Even with the potential dangers, it makes perfect sense for them to ‘get their fix’. While in the midst of the addictive cycle, you may not be able to make sense out of what they are doing, but for the addict, their behavior makes perfect sense.
Your spouse may not be insane. There could be some other explanations underlying behavior that you do not understand. Finding out what you are dealing with is important in finding a workable solution to the situation.