8 Types Of Arguments That Can Lead A Loyal Partner To Cheat
Cheating is always the choice of the person who does it, but sometimes there's a catalyst — something that has happened in their relationship that makes a person feel they have no other option. Certain kinds of arguments, then, might end up being exactly what someone on edge needs to feel like the drive to find something elsewhere. What makes a person cheat, in these cases, can be much more complicated than wanting outside intimacy.
Arguments can say a lot about the nature of a relationship. There are some arguments that can't be overcome, and some that are actually the indicator of a healthy partnership. But if one partner already emotionally has one foot out the door, a really bad argument can become the breaking point before cheating.
For someone who has already considered cheating, their partners' behaviors — in their eyes — may give them further incentive. "A loyal partner may cheat for a variety of reasons, and ultimately it is that person's choice to cheat," David Bennett, certified counselor and relationship expert, tells Bustle. "[But some] people may have cheating on their mind and certain behaviors by their partner may encourage that behavior." Of course, in some cases, the potential cheater will stay faithful regardless, and in some, there is nothing to be done to prevent infidelity. But certain kinds of conflict are particularly troublesome when cheating might already be on the horizon. Overall, it's important to remember that the cheater had a choice in how to handle this conflict, and it is ultimately not the fault of their partner.
Here are eight types of arguments that can lead a loyal partner to cheat, according to experts.
1. Arguments That Make A Partner Feel Unattractive
A lot of arguments that might turn a potential-cheater into a cheater are ones that make this person feel insecure in their relationship. If someone, then, is insulting their partner in ways that make them feel unappreciated or unattractive, they may be more inclined to seek external validation.
One example of this is if one partner compares the other to someone who they deem more attractive to make their partner feel inadequate, Bennett says. "[...] It's human nature to want to be with someone who finds you attractive. So, if during an argument someone is made to feel unattractive, that partner may consider cheating just to prove to themselves that they are still attractive." If you are no longer attracted to your partner, try approaching this from an angle other than hurling insults.
2. Arguments That Threaten To End Things
Some couples are on-again, off-again. Some, on the other hand, never actually break up but get used to arguments where breakups are a constant threat. For someone loyal, but who has already considered cheating, these kinds of arguments are dangerous.
"If every time a fight happens, there is a threat to end the relationship, it can drive the loyal partner to stop seeing the point of sticking things out," Bennett says. "It makes giving someone else a chance through cheating seem that much more tempting." If you realize that your fights tend to go back to this, it may be time to consider whether the relationship is really right for you.
3. Low-Blow Arguments
Sometimes, in an argument, a shocking moment happens where something a couple really doesn't want talked about gets brought up. When this starts happening over and over again in loyal relationships, the vulnerabilities brought out in one partner might lead to them seeking outside comfort.
"Some things are just off-limits in arguments, and if they get brought up during the middle of a fight, it could push a loyal partner to consider cheating," Bennett says. "Going really low in an argument can show a total lack of respect and make someone consider being with someone else." While respect is important in all relationships, a partner should always bring up issues with their significant other and try to work through them, rather than using cheating as their solution.
4. Arguments When A Faithful Partner Is Accused Of Infidelity
Even if a partner has stayed loyal, letting jealousy seep into the relationship and accusing them of infidelity can become a turning point. Of course, if someone sees real signs of cheating in their significant other, there are ways to approach it. But hurling accusations likely won't be healthy for a relationship.
"If one partner has been repeatedly accused of infidelity when they have not been unfaithful, they may decide that if they are going to be 'punished' or treated as though they have stepped out, then they may as well," Nicole Richardson, licensed professional counselor and licensed marriage and family therapist, tells Bustle. All the same, cheating is not a good solution, and the partner who is being put on the defensive should communicate these issues before deciding to cheat.
5. Arguments About One Partner Being Ignored
If a couple has not been communicating effectively, they may not realize that the catalyst for cheating may be fast-approaching. If arguments keep being centered around one partner not feeling heard, this may be a bad sign.
"[One bad argument could be] arguing about the fact that one [partner] ignores the other," Darlene Corbett, a licensed therapist and success coach, tells Bustle. "For example, one [partner] tries to engage the other who prefers to text, shop online, be on social media, work long hours or spend more time with friends, the ignored spouse [may try] to reason. If they are further ignored, they may look elsewhere." It's important that both partners are on the same page about communication, and how much time to spend together. If things are feeling off kilter, try asking your partner what feels best for them.
6. Arguments About Not Feeling Appreciated
Even if a partner isn't being ignored, they may still feel unappreciated. If they have been loyal up to a point, but keep arguing with their partner over this lack of care, they might be on the cusp of cheating.
"Frequently, it begins with an argument, and eventually, the unappreciated [partner] stops trying to look for acknowledgement, attention and appreciation," Corbett says. "Consequently, they may begin to search for love, sometimes, in all the wrong places." If your partner says they're feeling unappreciated, talk it out with them. With open communication, you can come up with solutions to this issue without anyone looking externally to find appreciation.
7. Overly-Aggressive Arguments With Name Calling
Severe, firey arguments may happen occasionally in a relationship, but if they happen relatively frequently, things are likely going to become rocky.
"Arguments with severe aggression and name calling [may lead you down a bad path]," sexologist and relationship expert Dr. Nikki Goldstein tells Bustle. "[...] You are calling each other names, screaming at each other and making all sorts of painful statements. There is a chance that someone can be so hurt from this, subconsciously it's nearly a way to seek revenge on the other person." Evening the score isn't a healthy way of coping, but it happens. And if the screaming and insulting is one-sided, it may be a sign of verbal abuse that is particularly important to watch out for.
8. Arguments About Micro-Cheating
One other argument that may lead an otherwise-loyal partner to cheat is having differing concepts of what cheating is. If the loyal partner has been liking other people's pictures, texting exes, or engaging in other forms of "micro-cheating" that you find unacceptable, but they don't see that as cheating, they may cross the line into physical infidelity.
"[Be aware of] arguments that pertain to distrust, infidelity or continual flirting," Dr. Goldstein says. "There are some people who think, if they are going to be continually accused of it, why not do it anyway." If you are early in the relationship, it may be worth discussing what you two count as micro-cheating, or cheating, before this becomes a more serious issue.
Although they won't always lead to cheating, a lot of these types of arguments can be really harmful. It is important to know the signs of abuse in a relationship, and get out, or ask for help, if you have an inkling that your relationship is entering that territory. If, however, you simply have an issue with fighting, fidelity, or jealousy, couples counseling might be a good way to keep your relationship healthy.
Editor's Note: If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, call 911 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1(800) 799-SAFE (7233) or visit thehotline.org.