Our interest stems from the fact that we live in a world that champions monogamy, according to therapists. Cheating represents a breaking of the common “moral code”.
We’re doubly intrigued when accusations of cheating are aimed towards someone in the public eye, especially when it’s someone you wouldn’t expect.
The latest celebs to be plagued by rumours are this season’s golden couple of Love Is Blind, SK (Sikiru) Alagbada and Raven Ross.
The pair were fan favourites in the Netflix show after getting engaged in the pods, but they’ve just announced their split after unsubstantiated rumours started to surface about SK cheating.
“We are saddened to announce that we have decided to go our separate ways,” they said in a join statement posted to both of their Instagram stories. “Due to the on-going legal proceedings surrounding these allegations, we can not provide additional details and ask that you please respect our privacy during this hard time.”
We don’t know exactly what happened in SK and Raven’s case, but it’s got us thinking about cheating in general and the fascinating psychology behind it.
The “seriousness” of cheating is debated in itself. For some, it’s not an automatic deal-breaker, but others see it as the ultimate betrayal.
But what prompts people to cheat? Couples therapist Laura Colquhoun says it’s a difficult question, because we all have different motivations.
“One of the main issues when we are on the receiving end of infidelity is that we believe it is about ‘us’, what have ‘we’ done wrong or not done right, how are ‘we’ lacking and what does the other person have that ‘we’ do not?,” Colquhoun says.
Cheating is often more about the person cheating than it does about the person being cheated on, she says.
“So why might someone cheat? Well, it could be a need for variety, commitment issues, anger, self-esteem, lack of love, sex addiction or a need for validation.
“You might feel that your partner has drifted away from you or that your relationship is unexciting and predictable and a new sexual encounter might make you feel seen, heard, attractive again,“ Colquhoun adds.
Colquhoun shares that the thing she hears the most as a couples therapist is that a partner no longer understands or listens to the person. “Lack of physical intimacy can make a person feel unloved which can motivate someone to look elsewhere to get their needs met.”
The other burning question: are there any signs that someone may be cheating on you? Apparently, you should look for someone being more distant or more attentive.
“You might experience behaviour that seems guilty or possibly you uncover some inaccuracies and lying about whereabouts and things they are doing,” Colquhoun says.
“Sex can become less or more frequent, but again not everyone is the same, so people behave differently in this situation.”
Then comes the age old question: should we leave if someone cheats on us?
“Many people think the answer to this is a loud ‘yes’, however in my work as a couples therapist I have seen many couples come back from an affair with a greater understanding of each other and much better communication,” Colquhoun says.
She believes it doesn’t have to be the end of the road for a relationship: “If you are able to both be honest with each other then if you are able to move on from the infidelity it is possible to recover from an affair and for lots of couples it can be the wake up call to fix the things that need to change in the relationship.”