Lack of loyalty is another reason many relationships fail. Loyalty is also a key ingredient to having a trusting relationship. However, what it means to be loyal can vary from person to person and relationship to relationship. It is vital to be clear what loyalty means to you and confirm with your partner that you are on the same page.
Loyalty certainly includes being faithful to one another. But what does it mean to be faithful? Where does cheating begin? Is it just sexual relationships with others? Does it begin with flirting? Or sharing details of your relationship with another person? These are questions to ask yourself and your partner. There is not a one fits all definition. Some people believe in open relationships, others would not tolerate cheating under any circumstances. To some cheating starts with flirting or an emotional relationship with someone other than your partner and to others it’s as simple as “Just don’t sleep with anyone else.”
Once you and your partner are clear on what your loyalty expectations are you can discuss where you agree and disagree. Can you honor each other’s loyalty code even if yours is different? Is compromise possible? For example, can you tolerate a close friendship your partner has with someone of the opposite sex? What would it take for you to be okay with that? Would it be okay if your personal relationship is not discussed with this other person? Would it be okay as long as your partner is open and transparent about this friendship?
Work through these questions until you are on the same page. Don’t assume your partner’s expectations are the same as yours.
Loyalty is more than just being faithful. Loyalty also means being there for your partner, commitment, making your partner a priority, being respectful, and honest (Also see my previous blogs about Honesty and Respect. )
It’s easy to be hurt when your expectations of loyalty are not met. If this continues to happen it can erode trust in your relationship and ultimately, without trust, it can destroy your relationship. If you are unable to agree on a loyalty code you may want to seek out professional help from a counselor or coach.