What is it that keeps us in fear of truth? The constant ignoring of that feeling in your gut, of telling ourselves that certain details don’t matter? Of not trusting our instinct when faced with subtle changes. Could it be that by not responding to our gut instinct we are keeping ourselves safe from what we already know; is it really ignorance or is it a sort of kindness that we give to ourselves in order to protect our heart? A part of us, the cognitive dissonance part, tells us to put off knowing until we’re stronger or until after a certain date. We tell ourselves that we aren’t ready yet, we say don’t let this be happening to me, how is this happening and, of course, the big question: Why?
More on Why later.
I can only write this from my own experience.
When or if, it happens to you, you will be shocked and surprised. That thing they say about how you knew all the time but weren’t recognising it. That may be true, but none the less, there you will be. You will feel like you have been kicked in the stomach, that your insides have separated and you don’t know how you are still physically standing.
You may not cry at first. I didn’t. You may wonder why you don’t cry and you may even feel like there is something wrong with you. There isn’t. It won’t be the last time you think there is something wrong with you. I repeat, there is nothing wrong with you. You will search frantically for a reason why your partner would choose someone else over you. You will tell yourself it’s because you are ugly, unlovable, too old or too young, every negative thought about yourself will cloud your mind. None are true, remember that.
If you have children, you may struggle to explain why their parent violated the relationship by becoming involved with another person, it’s nearly impossible to do this because you don’t actually understand yourself. Your children will feel that it is their fault and although you do your best to assure them it isn’t (and it isn’t), you will still wonder whether being a good parent was in fact too much for your partner; that providing a safe, secure, supportive and stable base wasn’t exciting enough. It was and it is.
The history that you have built with your partner will flash through your mind, holidays, experiences, sharing the birth of children and a whole range of memories will grip your guts even further.
When realisation happens and a confrontation takes place, your partner will also be confused. Whilst you need to ask questions and look for a sliver of reassurance, trying to understand why and how they could, they will be looking for reasons themselves, particularly if they didn’t expect you to find out and the other person meant nothing. Your partner may appear as confused as you, they may verbally lash out and say things that have no relevance but push the hurt even deeper.
You will look at your life and try to calm yourself by saying that there are worse things, you and your family are physically healthy, things could be worse.
However, betrayal whether emotional or physical infidelity, hurts. It consumes you. Your heart will fragment, it won’t listen to reason; all of the wisdom and experience you have accumulated up to that point in all the years leading to this event, will never prepare you. You will ask for details and you may reluctantly be given them. You will want to know more, every little detail that you can glean. Whilst this at the time feels good, it will lodge in your brain and haunt you. You will want to know who she is – though often that instinct you had for a while will have already told you – and you will be trying to understand just how they found the other person attractive.
And then, suddenly, you will cry. A lot. Until you think you will never stop crying. You may turn to your partner for comfort because they are the only one that knows the story. You may feel deep shame and embarrassment that you are in this position, one that you never asked for and be unable to speak to anyone for fear of judgement.
You will eventually stop crying and you may find that depression kicks in during the first month after discovery. You may find yourself on a downward spiral of negative activities, smoking, drinking etc. This will pass because you are strong. You may go to therapy and, if you find a good therapist, this can help – particularly if you need to talk to someone who will actively listen and not judge, criticise or take sides. It’s hard to accept though because, in your mind, you felt that you had the perfect marriage or partnership, you were getting on with life and did not invite this in. Resentment will kick in and understandably so. The good marriage that you had will reveal itself to be a good marriage that you thought you had. You will miss what you thought you had.
To answer the Why question, well there is no actual why. All I can say is the nicest and kindest people are often the ones to get hurt. You have probably done nothing wrong at all, the choice for any involvement by your partner with someone else is down to them. They are the one who should be asking the Why question of themselves; looking internally to see why they felt insecurities or inadequacies that they explored. Ego is sometimes a cruel thing; I do not personally hold with that old saying of we hurt the ones we love the most. Every action is a deliberate action and one of choice.
The ‘other’ person is often using manipulative measures to get your partners attention, often through physical actions but also commonly by using emotional victim status, sucking in the person as a rescuer with little or no regard for their partner. These type of people in my opinion, have little to lose and everything to win; often when confronted stating that they were confused and depressed and didn’t mean any harm. Err, on this point I would say that anyone who is attempting to get close to a man or woman whilst knowing they are in a relationship, whether with or without children, are not to be trusted. Full stop.
Everyone’s experience is completely different. There appears to be a switch point between being able to accept emotional infidelity and physical infidelity; from a personal point of view I could not accept the physical, but everyone is unique in their feelings.
If you are reading this because your partner has been unfaithful either emotionally or physically, please realise that time does heal wounds eventually. The decision to work towards repair or to part is up to you, no one can advise you any differently, obviously your partners feelings for you come in to play here. Things can work out, it takes time and a whole lot of therapeutic talking to allow your brain to rest.
On trust, honesty and respect, well, this is a hard one, I am a firm believer that when any one of these is broken, the other two crumble automatically. Forever? Well who knows, changed behaviour and a strong commitment within set boundaries can form a base to work from and time will tell.
On forgiveness… it is said that forgiveness brings peace and I do kind of agree. If you and your partner are attempting to rebuild your lives together, you may find that you forgive them but hold a lot of anger for the other party. This is normal. You may find yourself using social media to watch that person. This is normal too BUT at this point I would suggest that you actually stop. Anything that you read, see or hear about them will keep stabbing at the old wound, picking a scab that hopefully doesn’t need reopening.
Remember that you are strong, you were strong before and you will be strong again. Sometimes this takes time, but using techniques you can get yourself back together in a stronger and more aware sense.
Always follow your gut instincts, I am a firm believer that ‘we do know before we know’ and looking after ourselves is the kindest thing, after all, your relationship with yourself is one that you will be in for the rest of your life, therefore, you need to be looking out for you.
That is all for today… If you need an appointment, contact me through the contact form on http://www.maholochi.com