When a partner that we love and trust undermines our faith in them by cheating on us, we are devastated! The betrayal is truly disheartening. We run through a gamut of mixed emotions ranging from hurt to sadness to anger to depression. We cycle through the stages of grief for what feels like an eternity. Then we learn that no experience is without its lesson. We learn that every experience is either life-giving or surprisingly purposeful but never a mistake or a waste of time. We also learn that an experience is just that-AN EXPERIENCE, not a lifestyle.
For many, grieving over a past indiscretion becomes a lifestyle. They have made grief and victimhood their identity. They have continued to rehash and replay old offenses over and over in their minds hoping that the outcome is different. They feel that if they constantly play it over and over in their heads they can somehow change the course of events and reshape the series of happenings that led up to the heartbreaking infidelity. They beat themselves up thinking if only they could have been more, done more, noticed more then maybe things would have been different. They blame their past partners and allow the actions of their exes to define how they move in the world. This circular “What If” thinking begins to consume them and forgiveness is often deferred and replaced by a bitter resentment that blocks any chance at new happiness. This is when grief becomes complicated and may require professional assistance to untangle the conglomerated grief and accompanying resentment that obstructs one’s ability to experience joy at a higher decibel.
Truthfully after so many of my ex’s cheated on me, I raged, I became self-destructive, I fell into deep depressions and acted out in ways that were less than my higher self. But then, I got angry. I got angry because I was allowing exes who were no longer in my life to consume so much of my life. I got angry because based on their actions, my ex-partners thought I was unlovable and here I was proving them right by making myself love-proof and by extension unlovable. I got angry because I was imbibing the poison hoping my ex’s died from it when truth is they could have cared less about me as demonstrated by their total disregard for my feelings during and after the relationship. After coming face to face with these realizations, I emerged a stronger, wiser and better man.
Here are a few more realizations that helped me turn the corner and start a brand new chapter in my healing journey and recovery from the hell of infidelity:
1. The Ones who Cheated on You Really Cheated Themselves Out of Good Love
A Lot of times your heart is over-qualified for the job that is loving the wrong person. You are just too good for them. When you know your love is good, you realize that the person who cheated on you really cheated themselves and reinforced their own feelings of inadequacy. I always tell my partners “baby if you can find someone better than me hell, I’ll pack you a lunch cuz I know my love is good. I’m like found money!” When you know your love is good you send your condolences to your ex’s cuz trying to find a decent partner these days is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Wish them the best and keep it pushin’. You don’t have to beg, borrow, steal or hold up a sign for love. You are good love. Know your worth and get the love you deserve!
2. Their Infidelity Saved Me Time, Energy and Resources
When a lover cheats on you, they save you time, energy and money. Think of all the investments you make in relationships from birthdays, to anniversaries and holidays. Tally up all the expenditures you make in relationships be them financial or emotional and you will realize that you actually came off cheap when the person you trusted decided to break that trust by cheating on you. The money you would have spent on them would have literally driven you to the poor house. Truth be told the cash you saved as a result of their betrayal is probably enough to put a down payment on your dream. Do that. Put a down payment on your dream. Let the nightmare that was their infidelity serve as fodder for your dreams.
3. They Brought Me Back to Me
When an ex cheats, often times we lament the infidelity because it means that we have to go back to being alone. It means dinner for one, not having someone to do nice things for or share time with. It means going back to our lonely apartments, returning back to our monotonous schedules and drowning in the quiet desperation that is our hum-drum routines. Really it is our perception of being alone that needs some perspective. It is also our lives that need some excitement. Truth is infidelity can be a gift that forces us to shift our perspective. It forces us to look in the mirror and see ourselves as we are: single individuals with limitless potential. It clues us into the various areas of our lives that need some enhancement. It forces us to ask ourselves the one question that we did not ask ourselves while in relationships with everyone else: “What Do I Want?”. Often times once we get past the initial feelings of being lost, shipwrecked and displaced, we are brought to the horizon of our center. Infidelities have the power to center us and bring us back to the greatest love of all- The Love of Self.
4. They Showed Their True Colors and Inability to Weather the Storms of Life
In this life, you need people who are trustworthy, consistent and reliable. You need people who can handle the bad times and offer fidelity even in the face of uncertainty/adversity. In other words, you need people who are in it for the long haul. Thank goodness your ex cheated on you and showed you early in life that they are not in it for the long haul. We are getting too old as a generation to be dealing with temporary people. It’s about finding the forever friends, the eternity tribe willing and able to go the distance. You need soldiers in this war who will fight for your love not casualties with weak hearts who die before they even fight. It’s never a bad thing when someone shows you who they are. It’s always a blessing. They helped you grow up and now you can glow up!
5. They Helped Me to See That it is not so Much about People but what People Represent
Oftentimes when a lover cheats it hurts because they represented a part of us that we have overlooked. They represented our dormant sense of adventure, our need to connect with our wounded inner child, our hunger for intimacy, our overwhelming feelings of intense loneliness, our financial security, something. It is not so much the person we miss but what they represented that really triggers feelings of longing and nostalgia saudade. The moment we find out what our former partners represented and begin to attend to those feelings ourselves, that is when we render their power over us null and void and that is when we begin to reclaim our hearts back.
6. They Helped Us to See that We Never Own Love, We Experience It
Often times we as human beings try to possess love. We say to our lovers “oh you are mines!” and lock them in the gilded cages of our hearts. But the truth is NO ONE IS OURS NOT EVEN OURSELVES. We are all borrowed and we flow in and out of each other’s sphere constantly offering lessons on love and glimpses of divine light. That is our purpose. In our imperfect state we were never intended to last but rather we were intended to be experienced and set free. Love is a willful act that is self-determined. Love is not what you have, it’s what you give. Lovers who have cheated and misrepresented their intentions remind you that love is a divine experience that has nothing to do with ownership but everything to do with disciplined freedom. We all have the freedom to choose and in that choice, we also choose our consequences. Often infidelity breeds the consequence of distrust and limits the experience of mutual love. I know that I have love in my heart for all my ex’s but I realize that my love for self supersedes my love for them and part of operating on a higher frequency is both protecting my love from those who have not demonstrated their readiness for it and loving myself enough to love some people at a distance so that my love remains pure, untainted and unscathed by careless, unaware individuals.
7. They Remind us of our Need to Offer Ourselves Compassion and Forgiveness
Often times when a partner cheats on us we are quick to blame ourselves. We engage in the belief that we could have somehow controlled the outcome and altered the series of events that resulted in the infidelity. We beat ourselves up tremendously and torture ourselves with thoughts of what we could have done differently to prevent the betrayal. Truth is infidelity rarely ever has anything to do with the person that was cheated on and more to do with the unmet needs of the one who committed the act. As Oprah Winfrey states forgiveness is when we ‘give up the hope that the past could have been any different than what it was’. Fact is we did the best we could with the information we had at the time. We acted according to our level of emotional comprehension. Yes, we made mistakes but in our mistakes, we realize that life is either a lesson or a blessing never ever a regret. We are the ones we have to get over not our exes. We are the ones that must forgive ourselves and offer ourselves the compassion that we are so good at giving everyone else. We deserve every ounce of love that we have to give others. We must never forget that.
So when a lover cheats, remember these seven realizations as that will definitely help put the infidelity in perspective and also help you begin to work on fidelity with the one partner that last a lifetime-YOU.