If you’re reading this blog, you may be curious. What could I say about the subject that hasn’t been said before? Many of us have been hurt by infidelity or knows someone that has experienced it firsthand.
Recently, I exchanged messages with women who have been hurt by news of their partner’s cheating. There are plenty of women that have dealt with infidelity at least once during their relationship. Others have uncovered multiple indiscretions creating long term trust issues. Either way; it’s a painful and traumatic event having devastating effects on the foundation of a marriage or relationship. Once the circle of trust is broken, mending fences isn’t always possible. We may decide to stay, work out the issues. However, mentally, getting past the lie is extremely difficult. This form of betrayal can hover for a couple for years, maybe forever – if we let it. Deciding what to do in the aftermath isn’t black and white for everyone.
I’m not ashamed to admit the topic is personal. It isn’t exclusive either; thousands of us have a similar story. You fall in love, enjoy a honeymoon period then “Boom!” reality hits like a boomerang across the face. You find out your partner, who you’ve confided and cherished has betrayed your trust. How do you find out? I think truth has a way of coming out of the dark. It can happen through coincidence, by accident or carelessness. People always show you who they are, sometimes you’re just not ready to see what lies beneath.
The experience leaves a trail of pain that can lead to a world of paranoia and distrust so deep it will brand you. One of the most powerful effects infidelity had on me was the challenge to shake it off. The conviction, all men cheat became ingrained in my mind. It jaded me so much that I carried the baggage around like a label on a dress. Not something to take pride in but I wanted to remind myself it happened. I thought it would be the only way to prevent history from repeating itself. The problem with my strategy was that it hindered me from having a healthy relationship. By withholding vulnerability in a relationship I wasn’t experiencing true connection. Eventually, I was able to move on from things. However, it took yesrs to heal from the pain of infidelity.
My take on trust as it relates to infidelity has changed. I’ve come to understand how my choices drive a lot of what happens to me in my relationships.
1. Trust is earned and a requisite for a strong relationship. You have a head start on things when trust is established between you and your partner. Navigating relationships isn’t easy. It is significantly more burdening when the foundation is unstable. Impossible to have a stable union without trust.
2. It’s your choice whether or not to stay after a partner is unfaithful. There is no right or wrong answer. You get to make the call. If you decide to stay, do it for yourself without looking back. It serves no purpose to use the incident as playback or pawn after every fight. There will be resentment. Prepare for challenges ahead. Rebuilding trust will take time and patience. Set boundaries that you can both manage. It helps each of you get comfortable, again until trust is restored.
3. Everyone is responsible for their actions. Don’t blame yourself. Put your best foot forward to figure out next steps. The relationship will benefit from a candid conversation at this time. If it’s something you can do without guidance, great. Otherwise, couples therapy or marriage counseling is helpful. If you choose to leave the relationship behind. It takes time to trust someone new. Make an effort not to carry issues from the old relationship into the current one. No two people are the same. We shouldn’t judge everyone by the same ruler.
4. Lastly, probably the most important thing to do is to know yourself. Trust and believe you know what is best for you. The saying, “your gut doesn’t steer you wrong” is true. It’s one of the best tools we possess combined with what we see. Don’t underestimate the power of intuition. Our initial impression about a situation or person should guide you to the answer you’ve been seeking to gain resolve.
Whatever choice you make after the cheating takes places make sure it is one you are able to live with instead of siding with what anyone else wants. Self-respect, self-worth and your values should never be compromised. Doing so, not only will short change you. It might give the other person in the relationship the impression they take priority over you. There has to be a balance in order to find a happy medium.
Trust and infidelity don’t go hand in hand, it’s a contradiction. of sorts. There are couples that survive the ordeal. However, if walking away single is the outcome for you. Know that it’s possible to find love and trust again, one day.
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