Movies portray a certain scene over and over again; two people, who have significant others, start to flirt with one another, and eventually, that flirtation culminates in an affair. Typically, the first time the two individuals get together, there is alcohol involved. Why does there seem to be a link between drinking and cheating? Does getting drunk make someone more likely to cheat or do they use the alcohol as an excuse? We turned to the professionals to find out if the alcohol should take some of the blame.
Seema Hingorrany, who works as a clinical psychologist, notes that it only takes a few drinks before someone’s memory is impaired. As the individual continues to drink more, that impairment only gets worse. If a person drinks a lot over a short period of time, and has not had anything to eat, they may not be able to remember what happens over a period of time. Therefore, if a person cheats, he or she may not be able to recall what happened if they were drinking. They may not be aware of their actions and it may not be a situation they would have put themselves in if they were sober.
It is important to note, though, that if the person is unfaithful again, and they also blame that incident on alcohol, you need to look at the situation more closely. There is one example of a woman who had been with her husband for almost five years. He cheated multiple times over that period and always said that alcohol was to blame. She noted that she heard the same excuse so many times that she finally got frustrated with it and challenged his account of the events. Her husband finally told her that he was cheating because he wanted to but just didn’t want to tell her what was going on.
Pros note that there are people that will use alcohol as an excuse because they simply can’t deal with life. These individuals need to see a mental health professional to get assistance. They may even need mental health care and substance use disorder
Anjali Chhabria is a psychiatrist that discusses the psychological link between cheating and drinking. Chhabria notes that alcohol helps people to feel brave and rids them of all the stress they are feeling. It helps them face their emotions and may help them feel joyful for a period of time. Alcohol cuts back on inhibitions. If someone blames alcohol for their infidelity, something else is likely going on. Those issues, which may not be apparent at first glance, are brought to the surface when the individual drinks. Therefore, there does seem to be a psychological connection between cheating and drinking. There are also individuals that have personality disorders and know what drinking does to them. They cheat and simply blame it on the alcohol rather than face up to their actions.
What Does This Mean For You?
If your partner cheats, hear them out to see what they say. Take some time to yourself to think over your next step. Your emotional pain may interfere with logic, so give yourself a chance to figure out whether the relationship is worth saving or not.
Determine whether you can forgive the other person. If you can’t, you should leave and give yourself some space.
Try and figure out why your partner did what he did. Is there anything that can change going forward so that the behavior does not happen again?
Be smart. If someone cheats once, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are beyond redemption. However, if it happens more than once, there is a problem that needs to be addressed.