A few days ago, I came across a video by an internationally renowned life coach, motivational speaker and author, discussing cheating and infidelity in relationships. The lady made three points about how to view and handle being cheated on. Without getting into much detail, I will list these points:
1. Look within yourself to see if you missed or ignored the signs that your partner might have a bit of a roving eye. Did you turn a blind eye to your partner's less-than-loyal behaviour?
2. Examine the environment around yourself and your relationship. Did you create an environment where your partner did not feel comfortable discussing their concerns?
3. Use this (cheating) episode to strengthen your relationship. Don't be bitter, but have open communication to develop an understanding of what led your partner astray. Work on eliminating those reasons.
All these points sound very profound and evolved however, for someone who has been cheated on, these cannot be more hollow and meaningless. If
you read deeply, you'll notice that the onus of preventing or driving one's partner to cheat lies with the one who's been cheated on. How is that fair?
A person who has been betrayed struggles with low self-esteem questions everything and in most cases believes that somehow it was their fault.
Instead of helping, such statements, as made by the expert I mentioned, only reinforce the belief that somehow the blame lies with the person who has been cheated on.
Here are my counter-points to the 3-step advice mentioned earlier:
1. People who cheat take utmost care to not get caught. They, usually, are quite discrete and even if their partner senses something and questions them, they circumvent the questioning. Often, they counter by making their partner feel guilty about not trusting them. Some even use this as an excuse to end the relationship. The easy way out, blame your partner for lack of trust.
2. Again, asking someone to introspect if they created a hostile environment for their partner implies that it was their fault. Even if the environment was not open and encouraging honest dialogue, it does not give a free pass to anyone to betray the trust placed in them. If you find a relationship claustrophobic, if you don't feel heard, valued or respected, you end the relationship, not cheat.
3. When trust is broken, and there's no bigger betrayal in a relationship than infidelity, it is nearly impossible to breach that gap. It's entirely the couple's prerogative if they want to move past it. Each relationship is unique because both the individuals in it are unique, so they will different feelings about what infidelity means to them.
No relationship is more important than the self-respect and dignity of an individual. Cheating is not acceptable or justifiable under any circumstance unless you are upfront about it with your partner and they have no objection.
If one is not happy in a relationship, one should have the courage and decency to end it. If one only reflected on how they would respond or lime to be treated if the situation was reversed, the answer would be very clear. Always remember - you can't have your cake and eat it too.