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  • Exploring Infidelity: Why Couples Cheat

    We explore the intricacies of people’s cheating hearts.

  • Concurring with Randy, Blesila says that issues like exclusivity or infidelity become relative depending on where the person is coming from - that person’s background and what that person learned from his or her culture. “If the person believes in exclusivity in a relationship, then behaviors such as flirting and dirty dancing might be considered as cheating. Furthermore, emotional infidelity would include confiding your feelings and concerns about your partner to another person,” she says.

    But Blesila further notes that due to societal changes, there is today an emergence of expressive sexuality. It emphasizes the idea that the sexuality of both men and women are part of being human and are important for enhancing human intimacy. Thus all forms of sexual activities between consenting adults are considered acceptable by some people. “Given this premise, such behaviors as mentioned above would not constitute infidelity. Instead, they are seen as merely expressions of what the person feels,” she says.

    For HR specialist Tricia Fernandez, although behaviors like flirting are but a normal part of human relationships, everything still boils down to where the people involved decide to take their feelings. “I don't consider flirting to be cheating. Everyone flirts. Essentially it's just flattery, and who doesn't like to be flattered? It's human to want to feel attractive, to feel like you still have some market value. It's also human to find other people attractive and to feel something for other people. Wanting a relationship where there is no one else but just the two of you is too idealistic. You might as well be stranded on a desert island, or better yet, a teleserye,” she explains.

    “The line between flirting and cheating is pretty obvious. Once it looks like it's actually leading somewhere and you take that step, or if you do something about those ‘feelings,’ then that is cheating. Once you think you are cheating, then you've probably gone too far, or you’re about to,” she adds.

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    But is there a way to prevent unfaithfulness before it happens? Randy says there is.

    “Infidelity is best prevented by sticking to a vow of faithfulness and by a commitment to flee from temptation. This vow and commitment should be made once the relationship is formalized. Partners have to realize and constantly remember that a formal relationship curtails one’s freedom to fool around and to play around,” he says.

    Dealing with infidelity
    One might want to ask, “is my partner cheating on me?” Most people who have experienced the problem will say that to be able to detect infidelity, one should be aware of changes in their partners’ behavioral patterns. Possible red flags would include hiding the cell phone, going home late, and other things that are out of the ordinary.

    But what happens next if you catch your partner cheating on you? Do you wallow in self pity or do you dust yourself off and continue living? Of course there are those people who would be fine on their own or would be able to deal with the problem by getting emotional support from their friends and family. However, if a person slips into prolonged depression or starts engaging in self-destructive behavior, then that person needs to get some professional help.

    Most Filipinos tend to have qualms about seeking counsel from therapists, but Blesila says they are just there to help people understand what has happened to them and to make them fully aware of the situation. “Most clients who have experienced infidelity tend to question themselves and their capability to make a relationship work. By helping them to make sense of what has happened, we hope to somehow empower them so that they can move forward,” she says.

    Of course, the aggrieved partners almost always bear the greater brunt of infidelity. Randy believes that the best thing to do for those who were cheated upon is to move on.

    “There’s never any assurance or certainty that the spouse will really be faithful. It’s better to just focus on finding yourself with or without your partner. This way, your happiness will not be dependent on that person, and you’ll be able to move on,” he says.

    You may get in touch with Randy Dellosa through the Life Change Recovery Center (randydellosa.com) and Blesila de Asis through the MLAC Institute for Children and Families (mlacinstitute.wordpress.com).

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