Overcoming Infidelity

The hot topic of the week is as sweet as it is sour. The name on everyone’s lips is: Lemonade. Beyonce’s newly released album has caused quite a stir across the world as it appears to directly reference the infidelity of her husband and validate the now infamous Elevator scene involving Beyonce, her sister Solange, and Jay-Z. Regardless of whether or not you agree with the releasing, or the delivery of the content therein, it still contains powerful messages and images concerning infidelity. Whilst I’m not here to argue the artistic merit of the album, or even to comment on way of dealing with it.   I am here to comment on Overcoming Infidelity, cheating spouses and how to deal with it.

Cheating within a relationship can be one of the most devastating things someone can deal with, a person with whom you have placed your trust in, a person whom you share almost everything with, a person who sees you at your highest and lowest, has decided to shaft you and get their emotional and often sexual needs elsewhere. It can affect not only the core of the relationship, but the immediate family, as well as the support networks of all the individuals involved in the cheating. However, I would like to use this article to not explore the aspect of cheating and infidelity, but also to explore the flip side of that and examine not only the person whom was cheated on, but also the one who cheated. To do that, we need to look at a few things.

One of the most obvious reasons why people cheat is that their current relationship or emotional connection does not seem satisfying enough. This might not necessarily be the case, but sometimes the person may not be in a position to see the full picture by having far too much going on in their world in order to see clearly blinded by their own issues. I say this, not to excuse the behaviour of any involved, but more so to indicate that cheating is not necessarily a personal vendetta or an attack on an individual which most people see it as. A person who has been cheated on might raise the questions – ‘am I not pretty?’, ‘did I nag too much’, ‘am I a horrible person?’ etc. We blame ourselves and fail to realise that it may not be about the individual person, or their perceived flaws, indeed there is in most cases absolutely nothing wrong with the individual and their personality. The second reason is often labelled as a situational – an opportunity has arisen through a particular event and a person, consumed by a lack of impulse control and emotions they are not sure how to deal with, makes a bad judgement.

Woman with Head in Hands
Photo: Overcoming Infidelity

So, with these two reasoning’s come to mind, how does a couple survive infidelity or a cheating spouse? When the discovery is made, it can be world shattering. Perhaps suspicions had been confirmed, or perhaps it came completely out of the blue, either way it can be shattering for all involved.

I know it seems a cop out, and I acknowledge that for some this would be a very painful thing to deal with, however, it must be acknowledged. Overcoming Infidelity is mainly when one person is dealing with the ideas of betrayal, hurt, loss of trust the other is dealing with all of these, plus guilt and some even struggle to deal with the loss of their affair. I say this not to excuse their behaviour, but to make you that there is often more going on behind the minds of both people than what they’re saying. It is therefore important, in order to move through a situation like this, to communicate open and honestly and both partners must be willing to acknowledge what has led to this moment, and how both of them can work together to rebuild and overcome this.

  • Stop, Consider and Talk: It is important that you do not react to the situation, by react I mean that during the heat of the moment that things may be said which are impossible to take back. You do not need to answer or respond immediately and can take your time in responding. It is important to acknowledge the needs of both of the individuals, and the pace with which they can acknowledge, process and deal with the information being given them. It may help to write notes and to not accuse each other of failing, it is far more beneficial to say things such as ‘I feel neglected’ as opposed to saying ‘You neglect me’. You must be prepared to listen, talk honestly and be open even when it hurts.
  • Acknowledge that infidelity is rarely about sex or physical intimacy: Merely, that is an extension of the unmet emotional needs felt and that the relationship needs a stronger connection of emotional intimacy, which can be brought about by open and honest communication. It is here that you may want to ask, and be prepared to answer, questions concerning the cheating. Questions such as how long did it last, was it physical or emotional, etc. You should not, despite the desire, ask about the sexual nature of their relationship or things you do not want to know. More often than not, questions about that are asked in that regard concern the persons own feelings and insecurities and are an attempt to shore up those feelings. It will not work in the long term and It is not beneficial to repairing or rebuilding the relationship.
  • Heal together: Which sounds far simpler than what it is. In order for it to move on, you must both grieve together, recommit yourselves to the relationship and both work on rebuilding trust. If one decides to punish the other and make them work for the trust again, it’s not necessarily going to work.

If Overcoming Infidelity naturally doesn’t work out, or the fighting becomes constant and cyclic, and you have been to marriage counseling or couples therapy then perhaps the best option would either be to temporarily separate to give each other breathing room, or to call the relationship quits. Infidelity can be overcome with the strength, dedication and commitment of both partners and their openness in identifying their feelings, and the causes as to what has happened which resulted in this situation. It is also important to acknowledge how the cheating has affected your relationship or your partner. Some people become depressed after an affair has occurred, they will need to seek out professional help. Without this, it is possible that the couple has simply drifted apart to far to overcome the issue, or that the cracks within the relationship are simply to systemic to repair.

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