Tag Archives: Intimate relationship

Cheaters use cognitive tricks to feel good about themselves


This article was originally written by Benjamin Le and published at The Conversation. Read the original article.  I just thought it was so good, that I’m posting it here in its entirety.


Most people believe that they are moral and good. They also believe cheating on a partner is wrong. So how do cheaters live with themselves after their infidelity? Understanding how they reconcile their indiscretions with their beliefs about themselves can help us figure out why “good people” cheat.

Dissonance theory predicts that when individuals’ thoughts and behaviours are inconsistent, something has to give. Have you ever wondered why anyone would be a smoker these days, given what we know about the link between “cancer sticks” and cancer? A smoker knows that smoking causes cancer, but might rationalise it by saying “I don’t smoke very much” or “My grandma smoked two packs a day and lived to be 90 years old!” By coming up with these rationalisations, people are able to preserve the impression that their behaviours and attitudes are consistent.

Similarly, cheaters might minimise the significance of their infidelity as a way to cope with knowing they did something wrong. The authors of a new study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships propose that cheaters feel bad about their indiscretions, but try to feel better by reframing their past infidelities as uncharacteristic or out-of-the-ordinary behaviour.

The experiment

To test this idea, the researchers randomly assigned people to be either “faithful” or “unfaithful” in four different lab experiments. Now, you are probably wondering how you make someone cheat on their partner (or not) in a psychology study. Even if researchers could create such groups in the lab, you may think that they probably should not do it anyway (you know, for ethical reasons). The researchers got around these problems by ingeniously banking on the fact that when you are in a relationship, you might still interact with other people you find attractive, and the degree to which you interact with attractive others could count as a mild form of infidelity.

Participants were instructed to think about a past romantic relationship and then to think about someone, other than their past partner, whom they were attracted to while they were in that relationship. For example, if Ted from “How I Met Your Mother” was a participant in this study, he would have been asked to think back on his (now terminated) relationship with Victoria, and reflect on how much he thought about Robin, interacted with her, and flirted with her while he was with Victoria by answering questions on an “infidelity scale”.

Here is the really clever part: Participants were given “false feedback” (or inaccurate information) to make them think that they were higher or lower than average regarding past infidelity compared to other participants. So, if Ted was assigned to the “unfaithful” condition in this study, he would have been made to believe that his past interactions with Robin were especially frequent and intimate – essentially, that he was relatively unfaithful to Victoria compared to other people who completed the infidelity scale.

The results showed that participants who were made to feel unfaithful had more negative emotions than those in the “faithful” condition. Those made to feel unfaithful were also more likely to report that they did not like themselves. In short, they experienced discomfort about their infidelity. They also tended to downplay their infidelity, reporting that it was not important and did not represent them (“It’s not who I typically am”).

In short, people know that infidelity is wrong, but some still do it. And when they do, they usually feel pretty bad about it. But through various forms of cognitive gymnastics, cheaters are able to discount their past indiscretions to feel better about themselves. Since the negative consequences, at least in terms of how they feel about themselves, are diminished, maybe they do not learn from their mistakes – and might be susceptible to cheating again in the future.

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10 Confessions of a FAITHFUL Wife

1. Not all intimacy is sex…not all sex is intimacy. Gal. 5:19 says “The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery.” People often use the word “intimacy” as a euphamism for sex, but really, having faithful sex with your spouse means that you know them intimately and love them anyway…and they know you intimately and love you anyway…and you express that affection and commitment in a physical way. Sex before marriage, sex outside of marriage, all the ways that the gift of sex can be misused…these are NOT intimacy.

2. I thought fidelity only meant “not having sex with someone else.” Actually it means a LOT more than that! Fidelity means giving 100% of your affection and loyalty to the one to whom it is due–your spouse. On your wedding day you made a commitment to give 100% to them and them alone and to forsake all others! So you can not give 25% of your affection to the fun guy at church or 10% of your loyalty to the man at work who treats you nice. ALL of it has to go to your spouse: mentally, emotionally, physically, financially.

3. Great sex isn’t about MY orgasm. Too often we think about sex in terms of “what do I get out of it?” We’ll tell our spouse, “I’m horny!” and if they aren’t, well an argument ensues because sex is focused on “what I want” or “what I get out of it.” I Cor. 13: 5 says: “[Love] ..is not self-seeking.” Great sex is me learning about my spouse and learning what pleases him and giving my body as the one sacred and holy place where he can meet his needs…and likewise he learns about me and what pleases me and gives himself as the one God-sanctioned place were I can meet my needs. The focus is not self-centered.

4. It’s hard to think that my withholding may increase my spouse’s temptation. Too often, one spouse has a higher drive and the other has a lower drive, and the one with the lower drive is so focused on controlling when sex occurs that they don’t stop to think that not only is the lack of sexual release going to increase the physical temptation…but it’s also going to increase the temptations to anger, to seeing things lustfully, etc. Not giving yourself to your spouse in a willing and loving way opens the door to sin. I Cor. 7:9 tells us “But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.” So rather than focusing on what I want (and when) I need to look at the ways my actions either HELP my spouse be faithful…or HINDER my spouse’s fidelity. If I am withholding or I am controlling when sex occurs, I need to examine myself in light of what God says about marital sex and change.

5. The truth is: everyone wants to feel like they’re “desired.” Your spouse has the option to be wanted by their spouse at home…or to look for it elsewhere. But I guarantee you, that neglecting your spouse at home and thinking “…oh s/he will never cheat” is like closing your eyes and thinking no one can see you. Yes, we all want to think the best of our spouse and believe they will uphold their Christian values..but when they are undesired and ignored at home, and someone at work or in their class WANTS them and is interested in them…the door to sin has been flung wide open. You want to be thought of as sexy and desirable, right? You want someone who will look at you and think “OO-LA-LA I want to hug and kiss him/her!” Well your spouse does too!

6. Acting like some parts of sex “are gross” communicates that being intimate with the person you love is gross. You know what? The sheets are going to get wrinkled and might get a stain or two, you may sweat, your love may sweat, bodily fluids are going to be exchanged. It happens! Part of being faithful means learning how to love everything about your spouse, including those stains and swapping spit. Song of Solomon 1:1 says “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth—for your love is more delightful than wine.” If there are hygiene issues, talk to your spouse or maybe have some foreplay in the shower/tub! But learn how to think of your lover as “more delightful than wine.”

7. Don’t be the kind of wife who has to be rested, have flowers, have no stress, have the room perfect, have the right lighting, and have the planets aligned correctly before you’ll be “in the mood.” For myself, I do like getting poems, having a song dedicated to me, or a little candlelight and incense…but I’ve learned that all those things are not always going to happen every time! I’ve learned to be in the frame of mind that’s always WILLING to get in the mood. “Oh? You wanna? Well I’d be willing to let you convince this is a good time!” LOL

8. For your kids to learn what faithfulness truly means, they need to see you modeling fidelity to their dad. If your children see you flirting with guys at work, they’ll learn that flirting outside of marriage is “just their personality!” If your children see you turning to others to have your needs met, they will learn it’s okay for them to turn to others outside their marriage. If your kids see you hiding your cell phone and laptop from your spouse, they will learn that it’s okay to keep secrets from their spouse. If your children hear that “mommy and daddy are getting a divorce because we didn’t get along,” they will learn that if they don’t get along with people, they can just toss them aside.

9. I didn’t realize that faithfulness meant I had to let my spouse see the True Me. I thought everyone deserved some privacy and I could keep some things “to myself” so I wouldn’t hurt him. But fidelity does not mean never, ever hurting my spouse or never, ever making him made. It means being so open and honest with my spouse that I am see-through to him, and he can see my thoughts and my feelings. It means SHARING who I am–the True Me–with my spouse. It means not keeping any secrets and including him in every aspect of my life.

10. Life is going to throw you some curves, and you’re going to think: “I did not sign up for this!” but in your vows you made a promise to spend the rest of your life loving your spouse. That means you stood before God and said that whatever life slings at you, you made a covenant to study your spouse and learn how to act toward them in a loving way. Actually….you DID sign up for this!



10 Confessions of Wife Who Loves Sex by Julie Sibert of Intimacy in Marriage
Confessions of a Sex Happy Wife by J of Hot, Holy and Humorous
10 Confessions from a Sex-Positive Wife by Lori of The Generous Wife
10 Confessions of Another Sex-Positive Wife by Kate of One Flesh Marriage
Sex Positive Voices from Megan of Do Not Disturb
10 Confessions of Another Sex-Happy Wife from Alecia of Marriage Life
10 Confessions of a Sex-lovin Wife from Erin of Mystery32
Wifey Sex Confessions from Elizabeth of Warrior Wives
10 Confessions of Another Sex-Positive Wife  from Valerie of Mission:Wife


10 Confessions of a Sex Positive Husband from Brad of One Flesh Marriage
Confessions of My Sexy and Sex-Happy Hubby from Mr. Hot, Holy and Humorous, aka Spock
Sex Positive Voices: Part II from Justin of Do Not Disturb
Confessions of the husband of a sex positive wife from Paul of The Generous Husband

Want to be intimate with your spouse? Day Two.

It’s Day Two of the 15 Minute, 15-Day Marriage Challenge over at Making Love in a Microwave .   Dear Hubby © and I did Day One (and we’ll tell you all about it at the end of this post!) and now we’re staring down the barrel of Day Two.

The Marriage Tip of the Day is about Communication: “If you want to have effective communication in your marriage, you need to not only talk to one another. You need to know how to listen and how to be heard. It is also important for a couple to share their feelings and not just facts with one another.

As I mentioned yesterday, I’m coordinating with the Affaircare FB pageTwitter, and Romance Calendar to all reflect one thing we can do for 15 minutes that day… to meet the challenge!  Today’s topic has to do with communicating not only facts (…like, “I’ll be back around 7pm from the prayer meeting.  Will you please put the load in the dryer?”) but also communicating feelings, and I thought this naturally leads to thinking about intimacy!

So often, in our marriages, we long to be loved by someone for who we truly are, and we even crave sex (which some people call intimacy), but to be truly INTIMATE with your spouse, you have to be open and honest about who you are, what you’re thinking and what you’re feeling.  I call that being “Transparent” because you are being “see through” and letting your spouse see the True You–warts and all!    Sometimes being transparent can be really scary because you’re afraid your spouse will be angry or because you have made assumptions about how they might react if they knew “what you really thought” or “how you really felt.”  So instead you pretend.    You pretend you’re okay with it when really you are not.  You pretend you want to move when really you don’t.  You pretend their raging didn’t hurt you.  You pretend “the kids will be okay.”  You pretend you are being a good husband or wife.  You pretend…and by pretending you prevent the very intimacy that you crave: that rock-solid, committed, faithful, affectionate confidant who is so close to you and knows you so well that the closeness is expressed physically.

Today, for Day Two–let’s stop pretending.  Make the choice to take 15 minutes or more out of your day, put everything else down, and share with your spouse one feeling that you have been keeping to yourself.  Give your spouse a safe place to share one of their feelings, and thank them for being brave enough to be transparent.


Dear Hubby © and I found Day One to actually be fairly easy. I think we are a fairly unique case though, because we both work from home (by choice), and we sit right next to each other all day! Of course, I also can not think of anyone whom I’d rather be with than Dear Hubby © either. We actually are best friends and have so many common interests that it’s pretty easy.

But for our Day One we actually set aside some special time. We have a little bedtime “ritual” that we read the bible together, then we lay in bed and talk, so we used our bedtime talktime to cuddle up a little bit and review our day by saying one thing we liked…and one thing we didn’t like and how we would change it.