Cheating Myths--Relationship Advice from Tracey Cox

Myth #11: Fantasizing about someone else means you're about to be unfaithful.

While many sex therapists will actually encourage couples in long-term relationships to fantasize about other people to cope with temptation—logic being, it's okay to be unfaithful in your head, just not your bed—others say it's risky. They say affairs start in the mind and fantasy sex can make you want the real thing even more. The whole point of fantasies, after all, is to conjure up brilliantly perfect sex. While the real life unfaithful encounter is likely to be far less exciting and imperfect, strong images can increase the craving to stray.

Myth #12: Affairs can "save" relationships.

This is a myth perpetuated by cheating people as justification for what they've done. And it's false. Can you imagine a couple ever saying Boy, that affair was the best thing to ever happen to us? That's because you won't. Affairs usually involve breaking a vow, lying on a regular basis and betraying trust. Even those who survive find the relationship tinged with resentment, sadness and guilt.

Having said that, looking at the reasons why the person strayed can help piece together what's left of what you had before. People often have affairs to reinvent themselves or, more accurately, to be the person they think they want to be. A long-term partner is likely to see you as the person you were when you met, rather than the person you've become, or the person you want to become. An affair gives you the chance to start over. That's why, after an affair, it's important to ask, "Who were you with that person? How can you be that person with me?"

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