“But what if they end up cheating on me?”
This was a question my client recently asked me during our session. My response:
“It’s not about if they cheat on you or not…it’s about YOU being secure enough within yourself that, should that happen, you will be able to move forward and make an empowered decision as to whether or not you will choose to stay in the relationship; a decision that feels true for you.”
I was met with silence for a long while followed by an equally long exhale.
“Wow.” She replied. “I never thought of it that way.”
When you are FULLY secure within yourself, it won’t matter if they cheat or remain faithful. It won’t matter if they stay or go, and it won’t matter if the two of you evolve closer together or evolve apart. When you are secure, you are sure of who you are and your ability to sustain that identity NO MATTER WHAT. Part of the reason why many people have a fear of being cheated on, especially in long term committed relationships comes from a deeply rooted abandonment wound, often coupled with a fear of not being chosen. On top of that, there is often an underlying fear of losing the identity that the other person gave you. For example, if you lived in a small town and were married to the local preacher for 20+ years, you’re most likely known within your circle of influence as “The Preacher’s Wife”. So when the preacher cheats on you (scandalous, I know), your identity as his proud wife now takes on the energy of shame and embarrassment. Your former sense of Self which was tied to this person crumbles. And let’s face it, identity loss can be a scary thing. And of course, we often attract to our reality the very thing we seek to avoid. So you have a deeply rooted fear of being cheated on, it’s highly likely that you’re operating from a core abandonment wound and you’re creating conflict within your partnership that will result in either:
A- your partner becoming fed up with your antics, ending the relationship
B- your partner seeking an emotional or physical connection outside of the relationship
C- you deciding to end the relationship because you’ve convinced yourself that your suspicions are rooted in truth
Let’s pretend that your partner does actually cheat on you, and you decide to stay. You decide that you love this person enough to stick around and you want to restore the trust in your relationship.
If you choose to stay, know this:
YOU WILL ONLY REPAIR THE TRUST THAT WAS BROKEN WHEN YOU LET GO OF YOUR EXPECTATIONS ABOUT HOW THE RELATIONSHIP SHOULD BE POST-CHEATING.
You must learn to allow the dynamic to shift and accept that it will never ever return to the way it was pre-cheating. If you can do this, then you can reestablish a mutually honoring, trusting bond over time.
Healing the betrayal will require consistent efforts from the person who cheated to prove their trustworthiness.
It will require open, honest communication daily and it will require complete devotion. Example: You cheated on your partner months ago, and this weekend you’re going out with your friends. Your partner won’t be joining you. Your partner is feeling anxious about this, and you can sense it. Have a conversation with them that starts with, “It really seems like you’re upset that I’m going out this weekend with my friends, and I wanted to reassure you that I am committed to you, and I’m not going to dishonor our relationship. It’s important that I take time to enjoy socializing with friends. It would feel really great if I had your support with my decision. Is there anything I can do to support you?”
If that doesn’t work and you’re still met with resistance from your partner, it might be a good idea to decide if it’s worth it for you to go out, or if perhaps more healing must take place in your relationship before security can be re-established.
The reality is that you’re going to have to compromise sometimes. This type of healing requires sacrifice, and if you can’t commit to that, then you’ll want to read Part 2 of this post.
If you’re going through it right now and need some guidance with your relationship post-infidelity, send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s chat.
Let me know how I can support you (and your partner).
I believe you deserve to THRIVE in love again.