Girl And Boy Chillin

Cheating is Not the Issue, Communication is

I recently finished a sociology class at my university. I needed another elective, it seemed short and sweet, and I assumed I can breeze through without much thought. The class was called Love, it was the sociology of love and relationships. It sounded interested, and I was sure that it would be a fairly easy class. 

Boy was I wrong. 

This sociology class, offered at Wichita State University, changed my perception about love, relationships, and commitment. Everyday after class, my partner and I would have long intimate conversations about what I learned and how can we apply these to make our relationship stronger?

There were so many concepts that stuck out to me. I learned that love is the combination of intimacy, passion and commitment. A relationship lacking any of the three is not consummate love. We had long discussions about how to find a partner, why people fall in love, and why people fall out of love. 

My biggest take away? Cheating is not the problem of a relationship. 

I know. Bear with me, take a breath, and read that again. 

Cheating is not the main issue of the relationship. Cheating, according to my professor, is a symptom of a much bigger problem. 

I was just as confused. My professor explained that cheating should not be a reason to break up, though I am still skeptical, she made some very good points. 

We discussed the 80/20 rule. This basically means that at all times, both partners are only going to be able to give 80% in a relationship. Maybe you both are full time students with full time jobs and you can’t give your all. Some days you might be able to give 100%, maybe on your day off or on an intimate vacation you’ll probably have the time to give your all. Either way, both people in the relationship can only give 80% a majority of the time.

That 20% is what your relationship is missing. Maybe it is more communication, more quality time, more intimacy, more sex, whatever it is, that 20% is not there.

Let’s say you meet someone and they have and are willing to give you that 20%, that piece you are missing. On the outside it looks like they have everything, right? That 20% looks like everything you have been missing, when in reality, it's just 20%.

Now you just traded your 80% for 20% and your relationship is broken. What happens now? What was missing?

Communication. Talking to your partner about your needs and what you want. Everything you want from that 20% you can get if you just communicate with your partner.

“Hey, we haven’t had sex in a while and I miss our intimate time, can we plan something out?”

“We have not been on a date in weeks, I miss our time together and would like to see you more.”

If your partner cannot commit to finding time to spend with you, to put you and the relationship first, that is where you leave. 

Miscommunication is the illness, cheating is a symptom. 

Now, it also depends on the couple and the commitment level. There are people out there who cheat, who want a way out of the relationship or do not value the feelings of others. 

But if you and your partner have been solid for years and you notice something different in your relationship, this is where you evaluate your relationship and unpack everything. This is where your commitment is tested. 

I have been with my partner for almost two years. We talked about cheating itself and how we will move on. We discussed that this relationship would be something we want to fix, that we are committed and overall, we need to have an open line of communication to have a successful, strong relationship.