You haven’t done it – not yet. But you’ve felt like it. Part of you knows you shouldn’t. But things could be better at home. Or perhaps your spouse has hurt you so badly you’d like them to hurt too. You have needs, right? Being truthful, you’d have to admit that sometimes you feel like cheating on your spouse.
Your marriage may be falling apart. Your husband or your wife is behaving badly. The communication seems nonexistent, or always full of fighting. There’s no intimacy. Your needs are most certainly not being met. Surely some other relationship wouldn’t be this bad.
Or perhaps your marriage itself is mostly OK, but some piece of you is feeling pulled somewhere else. There’s this guy or girl who really seems to “get” you. Your ego gets stimulated. Your emotions seem hooked. And part of you imagines what it would feel like to cross that forbidden line.
There’s a difference between having feelings and acting on them. You get out of bed and go to work even when you don’t feel like it. Your feelings want that second piece of pie, but you say No. Wanting to cheat is a red flag that something needs to be done, but it doesn’t mean giving in to your feelings is the only option. Here are some ways to deal with your heart if you feel like cheating.
Get Your Needs Met
“Well, that’s why I feel like cheating! I can’t get my needs met with my spouse!”
Looking to your spouse to fill all your needs will always disappoint you. In the healthiest marriage many – but not all – of your needs are met. It’s important to learn to feed yourself, meaning you are responsible for taking in the nourishment your soul needs. (And that does NOT mean having sex outside of marriage!)
Spend time with positive people, especially those in the body of Christ who are living with integrity and joy. Water the grass on your own side of the fence (that means invest in your own marriage). Take in uplifting godly media (podcasts, books, online resources, etc.). When you’re filled up (nourished), you will have more resilience to resist cheating and make wise decisions.
And more than anything else, step up your own time with God. Learn to go to Him with your deepest soul needs. He’s truly the only One who can fill the emptiness in your heart.
Take the Long View
The emotions of the moment make this difficult. It’s easy to deceive yourself into thinking, “I can stop this any time I want.” Or, “No one will know.” Or, “It’s only this one time. I deserve it.” More likely you aren’t thinking much at all – at least with your brain.
There is not one single person who has cheated on their spouse without consequences. Not one!
Even if there were no consequences to any other human being (which is not true), the damage to your own soul will be excruciating. Even if God restores your marriage and your heart, the scars will remain.
If you’re taking the time to read this, STOP! No lack of sex, failure of communication, unmet needs, or any other “reason” is worth carrying the burden of cheating on your spouse. Do you really want to look back a year from now, twenty years from now, and know you did this?
Be a consultant to yourself, and STOP! RUN! Put as much distance – physically and digitally – between you and that enticing person as possible. Protect yourself as you would from identity theft or from someone with a deadly communicable disease.
Get Some Help
Being on the edge of cheating is a 911 emergency. And don’t think “I’m thinking about it already; I might as well act on it.” That’s a lie! If you’ve had the urge to cheat, it’s as serious as chest pain that would take you to the emergency room.
And by the way, no doctor says to a person having a heart attack, “Bad bad person, you. What a schmuck! You could have prevented this.” Instead, medical personnel deal with the problem and do what’s necessary to save the person’s life and stop further damage if possible.
That’s the kind of help you need NOW.
If I could imagine Jesus standing next to you as you read this, I would see Him looking at you with joy and saying, “It’s not too late to deal with this! Let’s address what’s going on in your heart. I’m offering you a way out. And I will never leave you.”
And if you have cheated on your spouse, He can help you deal with that too. (We’ll talk about that soon.)
Your Turn: How are you dealing with feeling like you want to cheat? What action steps are you going to do next? Leave a comment below.
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- If you sometimes feel like cheating on your spouse, take that as a red flag that something needs to change. Get your needs met in a healthy way, take the long view of things, and get some help. Tweet that.
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