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Oftentimes, we look at infidelity as a product of one person in a relationship checking out and acting irresponsibly for selfish reasons; we envision the cheater as someone that decided he or she wanted something new. But as I see a lot of my friends settling down and getting married, I have come to observe that there is one motive for cheating that is rarely discussed: “settling.”

As I witness cousins, friends and associates getting engaged and married, I realized that I don’t know too many couples who are mutually and passionately in love. Of all the couples I know, I only admire the relationships of a handful of folks. Most couples I know consist simply of two people who just settled for one another or one who is more into the other.

Some of these women I know in these relationships always had a practical mindset when it came to love; some just had little hope of finding “the one” after 30; and some thought they just owed it to the man who loved them unconditionally. It makes me sad, really. I’m not a supporter of “settling.” Although I did admire the rationale behind the notorious book by Lori Gottlieb arguing that women needed to be practical about their expectations, I know that compromising emotions for the sake of practicality wouldn’t work for someone like myself. Although many people wouldn’t admit it, “settling” wouldn’t work for them either. What’s proof of this? Cheating and infidelity.

Like I mentioned, we envision a cheater as someone who got married and was in love, met someone else, and just moved on to the next. But settlers are the pre-cheaters. I look at a close friend of mine who is marrying a man who is madly in love with her. She’s not in love with him although she likes him. I fear the day when she comes across a man who evokes the passion she’s lacking in her own emotions for her fiance.

I imagine this happens all the time. The man who cheats with his co-worker and the woman who leaves her husband for a man she met on the plane potentially both have similar stories. When a person, who has settled, connects with another person that stirs up those passions, they don’t know how to handle things. It’s not like these scenarios have uniformly happy endings or sad endings; but what they almost always do is throw off someone’s balance in life and make them question their own personal state of affairs. When settling, you’re essentially putting yourself in the vulnerable position of temptations. When that part of your life is not truly fulfilled and satisfied, you may feel that there is a vacuum that needs to be filled.

So with all the talk of settling down, being practical, marrying someone who loves us more than we love them, etc, maybe we should think about the potential damage that can be caused by this rush to the altar. Understandably, I know there are some people who will be fully content with their decision to settle and never second-guess their decisions but I think for the most part, people desire the idea and feeling of true love.

Do you know anyone who’s cheated because they found true love after they got married? 

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