The first and most important thing to know here is that celebrities are people, and just like everyone else on the planet they are going to do some of the same things that people without celebrity do.
That said, however, celebrity creates some opportunities that are not allowed to the common every day Joe.
Nevertheless, what we might gain from understanding why celebrities cheat is a little more information about why any of us cheat.
One foot in and one foot out:
The main and final reason why any of us, including celebrities, cheat is because we don’t want to get on the tight-wire without a safety net.
We don’t want to leave one relationship until we are pretty sure that either we are going to have another better one, or we are secure in playing the field.
Whether we have multiple affairs or only one at a time, it is way too scary to quit the relationship before we know what else is available.
Such a decision means taking a risk, because if we choose to leave the relationship and the other thing doesn’t work out, we have nothing.
So, we keep one foot in and one foot out, and though that is a very stressful way of living, it keeps the options open.
It’s hard for most of us to imagine that celebrities would have low self-esteem because we think that a person with low self-esteem would never make it to celebrity status.
But the audience makes the celebrity—not vice versa. That doesn’t mean that celebrities are not talented. Some are, some aren’t. But it does mean that without an audience there is no celebrity.
So, there are many celebrities with low self-esteem. And when humans are so afflicted we tend to think in blacks and whites, for grey areas are much less visible when we are looking at life through the lenses of low self-esteem.
This makes it quite easy for a celebrity in particular to slip into an affair for a multitude of reasons, just to name a few:
a) They are flattered by someone’s flirtations;
b) They believe that people are only using them for their own ends, so, why not also use them;
c) The risk of quitting an unhappy relationship is all the bigger because of the low self-esteem;
d) They are so uncertain of who they are that they don’t really know what they want.
People with low self-esteem are particularly vulnerable to narcissism when they develop celebrity. Persons with low self-esteem carry an internalized image of themselves as less than others.
But when suddenly these same people are thrust into the all too obvious light of stardom in which it appears that they are better than others, they can begin to use and abuse others simply because they think this is their right.
Narcissism runs rampant among the celebrity crowd simply because it appears that they actually are better than other people.
In fact, their audiences fairly insist that this is so. And when one is hungry for external affirmation, one is all the more susceptible to the influence of an audience hungry for an idol.
Further, the money and power that is thrust upon such a person enables them to believe that people can be controlled. People become objects to the narcissist who needs them to play or work at his/her behest.
Narcissists can become very demanding and insistent on having their way. Therefore, when the option for a sexual or romantic liaison is presented, it is taken with only the mildest thought of consequence.
The lower the self-esteem and/or the greater the narcissism the more likely the celebrity is to feel very threatened by a spouse who garners more fame or celebrity.
And when the spouse goes further and further into the light, the one left behind very often feels a strong and complex need to both hang on to the relationship—just in case it offers some hope of regaining status—and to have extramarital affairs.
The affair or affairs bolster the ego while the left behind spouse awaits his or her next leading role.
Money and power often mean getting to do whatever we want:
Why do I cheat? Because I can. The ability to a jet off to New York or Cancun on a moment’s notice means that it is simply easier to have affairs and to get involved in all other kinds of illicit behaviors such as taking expensive drugs, driving recklessly in expensive cars, etc.
It may not always be this way, but for now, money is still power on planet earth and as long as it is, it will be used to get what we want when we want it.
For celebrity actors, playing hot roles in sexy new movies is often a set-up for an affair—especially where low self-esteem or narcissism are in play.
Not only is your sexy co-star a fantasy of a person, but you are getting all this attention for getting in bed with this person.
Add to that the body image issues that often go with celebrity and you have a steamy set up for an attractive liaison, at the very least.
Body image issues are a result of the paradigm in which society decides what is attractive and what will win the life we want.
When we internalize this paradigm, we then begin to bargain with life accordingly: IF I weigh this amount and look this way, THEN I’ll be loved and adored by my fans and I’ll have the kind of life I want.
IF not, THEN I won’t be loved and adored and I won’t have the life I want. And everyone knows that the sexy bodies get picked for the sexy roles.
So, when a person with low self-esteem, narcissism and/or body image issues gets in bed with Mr. or Ms. Fantasy, the imagination takes over from there and a full grown affair is not too far off in the distant future.
Celebrities who don’t cheat:
As we can see, celebrities with low self-esteem and/or narcissism are more likely to fall for the bait and cope with life by seeking mechanisms by which to feel better about self-image. But self-image is not self.
Knowing the self is the only true form of self-esteem—for how do we esteem a self we don’t even recognize? And so it is that those celebrities who are able to maintain a clear sense of who they are don’t usually cheat.
Cheating is a form of avoidance:
The fact is that cheating is unnecessary. If one is unhappy in a relationship the options are to see if it can be repaired and, failing that, to leave it.
People who know who they are and can access a clear sense of self can take the risk to be with the pain of one of these two options.
Like any other ineffective coping mechanism, cheating is a form of avoidance. It disallows real creative solutions to real life problems.
Not all that different than taking drugs, cheating is a plastic solution that copes with difficulty by creating a false scenario in which things are really okay after all. And like taking drugs, it can become just as addictive.
About the author
Andrea Mathews is the author of two published books, with another coming out in late 2012, as well as several magazine articles and a blog on Psychology Today Magazine entitled Traversing the Inner Terrain.
She is a Psychotherapist, practicing both Transpersonal and Cognitive Therapy, for individuals, families and couples—living together, married or alternative.
She is also a Corporate Trainer, teaching soft skills to large and small corporations, and a Motivational and Inspirational speaker.
To know more about Andrea, visit her website www.andreamathewslpc.com
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