These days, stories about cheating, from casual one-night stands to full-blown emotional entanglements and second families, are not uncommon. And this isn’t just found in news and television from athletes and celebrities. You may have heard of real-life cheating stories straight from someone you know, such as a friend or colleague. In fact, you may be involved in your own cheating story at some point.
And now, you probably want to stop. However, the thing with cheating is, you get mixed up in all the lies until things get very complicated and tangled up.
So how do you stop it?
How to stop cheating for good
Let’s break it down step by step so you can get yourself untangled from temptations lure.
#1 Remove yourself from the temptation. If you don’t want to get in danger, you stay out of the way of speeding cars. Keep out of situations where you will be tempted to cheat.
Don’t invite yourself into sticky situations that you know would most likely end up with an undesirable outcome. This is the first rule you have to remember: Prevention is better than cure. [Read: 10 vital steps you need to take to resist the temptation to cheat in love]
#2 Think things over. There are many kinds of affairs—some are just casual sexual encounters, while some are deeper. It might be easier to let go of casual encounters more than affairs where you and your lover are emotionally attached.
If you are still in love with your partner, you have to make a decision to stop. However, when things are more complicated than that, like when you are also in love with the one you’re having an affair with, then you need to think through your options carefully.
Decide how much time you need to think things over. Meanwhile, you can tell your lover you want to think and that you need space. If you can, also ask for space from your partner, so you can be alone. Give yourself enough time to think before you really decide. [Read: 18 signs you’re probably having an emotional affair and don’t realize it]
#3 Figure out why. People have different reasons for cheating. You may have your own reasons, and you believe these are pretty legitimate reasons. More often than not, though, these are just excuses.
Whatever the case is, you have to really figure out why you are cheating. Did you fall out of love with your partner? Is your partner emotionally detached? Are you in an abusive relationship and your lover provides you with a safe haven? Do you just want to have sex or to prove to yourself that you are still attractive?
Whatever your reasons are, use these in making your decision, because in the end, you really have to decide—and act.
#4 Assess your affair. Once you have figured out why you are cheating, assess your affair. Is it really worth it? Is it worth betraying, deceiving, and hurting your partner? Is it really worth running around behind your partner’s back? Or maybe you are falling for your lover.
Assessing your affair can also help you make your decision as you weigh not only your options but, most importantly, the consequences of your actions, as you may not only be hurting your partner but your lover as well. [Read: To cheat or not to cheat? A guide to help you make up your mind]
#5 Assess your relationship. It is also important to consider is your here-and-now. Your relationship with your partner. Many people turn to extramarital affairs or affairs outside of their relationship because they feel their partners lack something, or that their relationship has taken a turn for the worse.
However, what they fail to see is that maybe they have changed for the worse as well. Once you have figured out why you are having an affair and what your affair truly means to you, you weigh this against what is at stake—your relationship and your partner’s feelings.
#6 Count your blessings. Often, people don’t appreciate what they have, so they turn to desire for things they cannot have. For you, this can be a case of “the grass is greener on the other side.” To help you gain better perspective, try to see your partner with renewed eyes and open your heart to all the possibilities of what you already have instead of wanting more, or worse, inviting trouble. [Read: Emotional cheating and 10 bad things to can do for everyone involved]
#7 Avoid comparisons. Another helpful way to stop yourself from cheating is to avoid comparing your partner with other people, especially your lover. People have their strengths and weaknesses, and whatever good, beautiful, exciting, different, and desirable in your lover may just be the honeymoon glow in the works. You may also find there are still other greener pastures, and the search for your ideal will never end.
#8 Take action. Once you have thought through your situation and your relationships, this is when you should take action. You have to make a decision to choose one or the other.
If you choose your lover over your partner, then you have to break things off with your lover and ensure a clean break. However, if you decide to stay with your partner and let go of your affair, then you have to follow the next steps. [Read: 10 signs you’re completely losing interest in your own relationship]
#9 Stop any communication. Aside from removing yourself from the situation, such as avoiding going to places where you might see your lover, you should also stop any communication. If you have to change your number, delete, and block them from your phone and social media accounts, do so. Prior to this, let them know you don’t want to see them anymore prior, so they know what is going on and stop contacting you as well.
#10 No last time sex or meet-ups. It is better to end things briefly and abruptly, without giving them a chance to lure you back to them. This also makes things easier for your sake.
By meeting up with them again to talk things over *there really should be nothing else to talk about*, you are also exposing yourself to the risk of being found out by your partner. Worse, if you’re going to have break-up sex with them, it only expresses to them that you are not really firm with your decision. [Read: How to end an affair the right way and get over it completely]
#11 Talk to your partner. Now is the time to focus on making your relationship work, or even make it better. One of the things people who cheat fail to do is to first focus on how they can make themselves better as a partner and how they can help make the relationship better too. And you can save yourselves a whole lot of trouble if you guys would just talk.
While it is up to you whether you want to tell your partner about your affair or not, what is important is that you talk. Sit down and talk to your partner about your relationship, what your needs are, and what you feel.
Take time to listen to your partner’s side and from here, work on a solution that you can both come up with. Whether you have to make compromises, the important thing is you get through as better individuals and as a better couple.
#12 Rekindle your love. Remember, it is not your partner’s fault that you cheated. You have to take accountability for your actions. What you can do now is to also make an extra effort to rekindle the love that you almost lost.
Go out more often with your partner, talk more, be positive influences to each other. If you lack spontaneity in your relationship, work on that. If you are not having enough sex, find ways to spark your sex life. As long as you both are willing to work together, you can solve any bump in your relationship. [Read: 9 practical steps you need to take to rebuild trust after cheating on your partner]
#13 Consider counseling. If you have exhausted everything and still things didn’t turn out the way you hoped things would be, then you should consider marital or relationship counseling. Talk to a professional about your troubles.
Cheating doesn’t necessarily make you a “bad” person, although cheating opens a Pandora’s box of problems and awful things. Cheating shows your need for intimacy, connection, and a renewed sense of self. However, you really don’t have to look far to get those needs met.
[Read: 17 secret ingredients to a happy, monogamous relationship]
Now that you want to stop cheating on your partner, you have to completely detach yourself from the person you were having an affair with. In the process, you have to assess yourself and your relationship, and from here work on making your relationship grow, so you don’t have to look for love and attention anywhere else.
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