This is a little bit of a heavier topic to discuss (alas it’s not about looking at your opponents letters in scrabble), but regrettably the reason it must be addressed is because unfortunately it’s all too common.
Whether you’ve cheated or been the victim of cheating, it’s an act that carries a lot of consequences that are usually detrimental to all parties involved.
Anyone who has been the victim of unfaithfulness will know that in one single second your whole world can just collapse. That everything you built and know about a person can suddenly become a world of mistrust, lies and constant questions and accusations.
The main question being: “Why?” (With a lot of swear words attached!)
It’s not easy and once you have found out and passed the initial few stages, you have two choices. One is to end the relationship and the other is to forgive and make the conscious choice to put this behind you both.
Forgetting is impossible, but making daily choices not to remind your partner or use it as a weapon for guilt and manipulation can make a difference.
Forgiveness means that you no longer bring it up, that you don’t use it as ammunition to win a fight or get your own way. This will take a lot of conscious thinking and discipline, because it’s easier to let all that pain get in the way again and flow from the mouth in a string of colourful words!
If you have decided to make it work, then here’s a quick checklist to make sure you are putting the act of forgiveness into practice:
• No longer mentioning of the incident in any case, not to friends, family or each other unless you absolutely feel the need to talk about it as a part of your healing.
• No malice, bitterness, coldness (or death stares) towards your partner, yourself or the other woman.
• No using the incident as a tool to get your own way, win fights, make your partner feel guilty etc.
• You focus on the present and look forward to the future; you do not bring up the past.
• You are at peace and are willing to trust your partner again (this will take time, stay with me!)
• You are working on being intimate and affectionate again with your partner.
Forgiveness is not living in denial but rather acknowledging the truth and deciding to let it be a chance to build a better, stronger relationship so it never happens again.
Is it ever justified?
Hmmm this is a hard one to answer, but as the saying goes, in most cases “it takes two to tango”. No one is perfect and whilst this truth doesn’t justify someone’s actions, it does help us understand why unfaithfulness does happen.
The thing is we each have an equal amount of work to do in our roles in a relationship. And when someone begins to take more than the other, or communication breaks down, neglect and resentment sets in, it’s easier for temptation to have its way.
A successful relationship takes consistent hard work to battle the constant change of individuals and their environment. It was one said that “men need to be physically for filled before they can be emotionally for filled, where as women need to be emotionally for filled before they can be physically for filled.”
Yet get the drift, we really are from different planets and making it a priority to understand how these differences can affect the intimacy of your relationship could be the very thing that saves it.
Men need sex, women need time, words, affection…etc (and the list never did stop), in essence we both are wired to crave different things to feel like we are valued and loved.
Men need more than sex too, they need to know that who they are as a man is enough, and that what they do as a provider is appreciated. If you think that you are starting to drift apart then you probably are, so address it and fix it now (jump on that shit!).
An affair starts in the heart and mind they say, so make sure you are filling your brain with thoughts of your own man and not the topless pool boy next door!
There is hope, whether you have decided to stay or split, healing is inevitable. The healing begins with forgiveness, because any sort of bitterness you have either towards yourself or your partner is going to hold you back from living a life full of joy and peace.
There are several ways that you can be active in your healing, but going to counselling is usually a good first step (better out then in!) Intimacy and affection may take awhile to feel comfortable with, but it’s extremely important to be active in trying to engage in it daily.
Take a day at a time, take some space if you need it, it will be a process of the mind and the heart but the good news is tomorrow is a new day and another chance to get it right.