breakupInfidelity is the bane of any relationship – it is most often the signal of the end of the love between two people. If a couple somehow survives what used to be called an indiscretion, then the relationship is at best permanently damaged and will never again be the same. Cheating is a phenomenon, however, that seems to have some sort of cultural attraction.

Maybe we’ve seen too many talk shows where the innocent wife or husband is confronted with the cheating partner’s actions. The ensuing drama has become entertainment, and it’s not just on television. Popular music is filled with songs about all aspects of cheating on a spouse, and it’s a staple of formulaic movie plots. But cheating happens in real life, and has real consequences. It may be hard to believe, but many people in relationships actually wonder, is it ever OK to cheat?

In What Situations Do People Cheat?

Behind that question is a recognition that there are a variety of reasons that men and women decide to stray from monogamy. Once that fact is understood, it seems legitimate to ask whether there is ever a time when such behavior may be justified. The easy answer to the question is that cheating is never the right thing to do. There are a few, very special circumstances in which a couple may decide not be monogamous, but this begs the question, is it really cheating if both partners agree to it? Possible situations like this would include an open marriage, or a relationship in which one spouse cannot or will not have sexual relations but agrees that the other partner may find willing participants outside the marriage. Again, this probably isn’t really cheating because both people know about the behavior and allow or condone it.

Can Cheating Ever Be Justified?

So if it is never actually OK to cheat – to commit adultery in the strict sense of the word – then what are the possible justifications that go through the mind of a cheater? Probably the most common reason is boredom. After a couple have been together for a while, and the fire has gone out, one or both of the partners may feel it necessary to have a fling – the very words make it sound like such a harmless, innocent thing to do. This fling, involving betrayal and pain, can never be done without serious results eventually happening.

How To Avoid Cheating

The question then becomes, how does a person who is experiencing this problem solve it without cheating? Traditionally for men, the suggestion is to take up a hobby, sport or activity that is physically and mentally demanding, and can burn off some of the steam that builds up, so to speak. From the extreme of skydiving to the more gentle but equally effective weekend golf game, there are many acceptable ways for a man to stave off the urge to stray.

As for women, in these modern times they can be found following the same advice. They may be more inclined to find a friend of the same sex to commiserate with while they are keeping themselves busy, but the result is the same. For both members of a couple, however, the best advice is to work on the relationship together.

By admitting that there is a problem, committing to making whatever changes may be needed, and seeking assistance if and when needed, a couple can get over the boredom and adultery hurdle and rebound stronger than ever. In fact, this is the only real alternative to cheating and the answer to the initial question – cheating is never OK, don’t do it, and fix the reason you thought about it in the first place.