Cheating may seem unexpected, but in reality, it can be more predictable than we think. In fact, if you have certain thoughts behind closed doors, you may be more likely to cheat than other people.
"Infidelity in a monogamous relationship is generally not a spontaneous or impulsive event," psychotherapist Maysie Tift tells Bustle. "Rather, it is a complex process over time and is most often preceded by certain kinds of thoughts which increase the likelihood of an affair," In other words, if there is a temptation, certain thoughts may arise, which may increase the chances of an affair, Tift says.
According to author and therapist April Kirkwood, it is hard to find fault when cheating happens, and it's important to remember not to blame yourself if you are the one who has been wronged. However, it's also vital to note that there are a multitude of other factors that go into someone's decision for cheating, which may start from certain thoughts they are having. While these thoughts don't guarantee that a person will cheat, being mindful of them can help prevent infidelity in the future.
Here are seven thoughts you may have behind closed doors, that can mean you're more likely to cheat, according to experts.
1. "Sex Should Be Easier Than This"
It's no secret that sex can be complicated, and it's nothing like how its portrayed in rom-coms (for better or for worse). "There’s a misperception in our culture that sex in a committed relationship should be easy, and if it’s not, that’s a serious problem that may indicate the relationship is doomed," Tift says.
If you are having these kinds of thoughts, you may find yourself looking outside your relationship for more straightforward sexual chemistry. "It’s important to take sexual concerns seriously and address them, but it’s dangerous to jump to the conclusion that sexual dissatisfactions spell out doom for a relationship," Tift says. "It’s also important to be realistic about the profound damage an affair could inflict on your primary relationship."
According to Tift, the first step to addressing any sexual concerns is to get the conversation going, and that open communication is crucial. Tift recommends picking a time where neither of you is feeling stressed, hungry, or tired. "Sitting close, holding hands, or touching in some way during the conversation conveys warmth and can be soothing if the topic triggers some anxiety," she says.
2. "I Wish They Would Do This Better"
According to dating and relationship coach Renee Slansky, cheating begins in the mind before it becomes physical. "When you feel your needs aren't being met in a relationship it builds dissatisfaction or resentment with your partner which causes division," Slansky says.
Once you start to compare your partner to someone else who may make you feel more loved or gives you more attention, you may begin to question your relationship.
According to Slansky, clear communication helps to keep things transparent. "The best defense mechanism against temptation is to talk about things, even if you don't want to or are worried about your partner's response," she says.
3. "I'm Never Going To Marry This Person"
First, let's be clear: You don't need to be married to have a healthy and happy relationship. However, according to life coach Cherelle Palmer, it is important that you and you partner are both on the same page in terms of future plans, where you both see the relationship going, and more. "A person may be more likely to cheat if they do not feel as if their goals align with their partner's," Palmer says.
In order to avoid any complications, have a candid and respectful conversation with your partner on your expectations, needs, and desires for the relationship. By clearly communicating your intentions and stating where you see the relationship going, you and your partner can choose how to move forward in a way that works best for you two.
4. "I Wonder What It Would Be Like To Be With This Person"
If you're noticing that your mind is drifting off when you see your partner and you're constantly fantasizing about being with another person, you may want to reevaluate the relationship before anyone gets hurt.
"Imagining what it would be like with someone else might seem harmless, but it's actually micro-cheating or emotionally cheating," Slansky says. And although this behavior seems like innocent daydreaming, you may want to take a step back and look at the bigger picture.
According to Slansky, this is usually where the problems start. It's important to ask yourself whether you intend on acting on these feelings, and where these feelings may be coming from.
5. "What Could One Text Do?"
When you say this to yourself, you may be trying to justify and/or reassure yourself that your cheating is valid. "Initiating or responding to communication that is going to tempt you to take it further, is a sure way to be susceptible to cheating," Slansky says.
If you're noticing these thoughts slip into your head, think about what exactly is tempting you about this person. You may find that you're actually dissatisfied with your relationship —and that's totally OK — but that may mean you need to have a greater conversation with your partner.
6. "Everyone In My Family Has Cheated"
"Sadly, cheating has become an epidemic in certain family trees which leaves individuals feeling as if infidelity is a normal part of a relationship," Palmer says. In other words, if you're thinking this in your head, you may be using it as a way to "trick" yourself into rationalizing your behavior.
"This may make it easier for an individual to justify stepping out on their partner," Palmer says. Again, if you feel like you have these kinds of thoughts, it's important to speak openly with your partner and come to terms with your emotions while figuring out the root cause of the issue.
7. "Maybe It's A Sign That I Keep Thinking About Them"
Assuming that a thought about someone else is a sign that you are meant to interact with them may be your way of justifying something you want to do, Slansky says. We believe that "coincidence" gives us permission to react and respond, Slansky says. However, this is not the case. "In reality, facing a temptation isn't a green light to act on it, but a sign that something is deeply wrong in your relationship," she says.
All in all, these thoughts may seem like nothing, but in reality, these small, subtle behaviors may actually lead to infidelity. If you feel like you have these type of thoughts, it may be best to consult with your partner and possibly reevaluate the relationship.