When would he realize that it wasn’t his infidelity I couldn’t bear, but his cowardice?
― Tatiana de Rosnay, Sarah’s Key
Infidelity is something I’m exploring right now. Since there’s different types, I’m referring to the type that involves an entire secret relationship. What hurts about it? The inability to face the betrayed partner? The sucker punch to the ego? The false persona being portrayed to keep up with all the lies? I often explore the judgement I have for individuals who go this route. Coincidently, I’m not the only one who explores the idea of betrayal, it’s been written about since the beginning of time. I think we’ve all experienced the sting of betrayal at some point in our lives. I mean, God provided Adam and Eve with everything they could ever imagine and He still got betrayed.
Now, this bias clearly isn’t deep in my unconscious, but it would be if I didn’t take time to explore the issue. I’ve been taught since childhood that cheating on your spouse is very wrong and hurtful. And I do agree, but they were taught to me in a way that made cheaters seem almost inhuman or monstrous. The truth is it’s so human to lie and cheat. It’s very human to betray others and even more so to betray ourselves. But does that make you monster? I don’t think cheating spouses are monsters. No matter how much respect I lose for them, they are not monsters.
The only people that can’t handle the truth are those that suffer so much anxiety that they will live in denial, in order to prevent their illusion from being destroyed and feeling more anxiety.
― Shannon L. Alder
To put it simply, they have internal issues that need to be worked out before they enter into or continue any type of relationship. Their only option to move forward is to face the reasons why they are seeking something outside themselves for fulfilment. The issue won’t disappear when you make one woman (or man) disappear, there will always be more. The issue will never disappear, it will only fall into the background when it’s resolved, as a sort of reminder.
So as an adult, if people are doing things that are in my opinion, wrong, like infidelity, I do not peg them as monsters. They are simply creatures who are still learning to grow and evolve. Don’t get me wrong, I get angry and protective when someone attempts to take away the peace in my household, but to be clear, I don’t think cheaters are monsters, I think they’re human.
Feelings are much like waves, we can’t stop them from coming, but we can choose which ones to surf.
So to wrap things up here, I’d like to share a fictional letter written to a character in one of my stories who was going through a similar experience. I wrote it for encouragement in the midst of my own heartbreak. I was devastated and letters like these where I was supporting “others” really got me through the experience. An experience I really really don’t want to endure again, not even in any other lifetimes. (If that’s a thing)
This is my soul work.
Dear Broken Hearted Woman,
It has come to my attention that you are in a rough place. Your heart has been destroyed by a man who can’t figure out how to love himself. Your existence is a constant reminder of how he’s a failure and there’s nothing you can do to change that. He will look at you the way he looks at himself from here on out. His eyes have changed. He is no longer the man you married. What are you going to do? I see that you’re willing to stay and fight. I see that you are fighting for your children. I see that you are strong enough to endure this. I want you to look me in the face and tell me that you want him to stay. Let’s focus. How could a man apologize only to a God he never hears from and not apologize to the actual human who is showing her love for him. How can he roll his eyes at such an act? How can he look the human he broke in the eye and say that he just doesn’t want to forgive you while you’re working every day trying your best to understand and forgive him? Think about that. What could make someone capable of such heartless behavior. He’s not himself. But why is he not himself and why is it now? And at the end of the day, do any of those questions matter? I did let this get personal and use my own experiences. I can say the only time I could ever do those things were to push someone away from my own destruction. He knows he’s not safe. He knows he’s not aware. He knows he is not in a fit place to father his children. So now what? What does an unfit father do?
He saves them from himself. He doesn’t want to hurt the people he cares for.