Cheated On In A Relationship? Stop Beating Yourself Up!

Trying to Make Sense of Infidelity

You’ve just discovered your girlfriend/boyfriend, significant other (SO), lover, or spouse has cheated on you. (For the sake of expediency I am going to refer to all of these people as SO -- significant others--throughout this hub.)

You are hurt and angry. You fluctuate between the two, one minute crying from the emotional pain, the next minute angry and seething that someone who has sworn they love you has betrayed you this way. You feel like someone has kicked you in the gut, hard. You are thrown completely off balance because someone you have bonded to so closely and whom you have trusted so completely has acted in a way that was totally unexpected.

The next thing you are trying to think of is if there had been signs or hints that your SO was messing around and you had somehow missed those signs. What about that time he said he had to work late? What about that time she said she was not feeling well and was going straight to bed?

Your mind races back in time trying to think of all the times in the past when your SO made excuses not to be with you, or when s/he did something that seemed a little out of the ordinary at the time.

You Want To Know Exactly What They Did Together

Next you start feeling insecure. Did you do something wrong? If you’re a man: Don’t you make enough money? Maybe you should have agreed to go shopping with her more often . . . If you’re a woman: Aren’t you pretty enough? Maybe if you took more of an interest in football . . .

Chances are that nothing you did or did not do had anything to do with your SO cheating on you. More than likely circumstances converged that made the temptation very great for your SO and it was a weak moment for them.

What circumstances you ask? The other person was available and willing and extremely attractive to the eye of the beholder, or maybe they just appealed in some unexplainable way at the moment, the time was available, the location seemed safe, and your SO did not believe, for whatever reason, that s/he would be ‘caught.’

And can I be honest? Some people love risk. They get high on risk. They love the idea of doing something bad, something very naughty, and they love getting away with it! They love bucking the system.

The Question I Have For You . . .

What difference does it make what they did together? Why do you want to know all the gory details? You will only torture yourself with these details if you know them, and you know that is true.

No, it is not likely that you could have prevented the infidelity from happening. Not everything is about you. Sometimes it is about your SO. Maybe this is a weakness that person has that you did not notice before. Maybe this was a behavior that your SO had all along and you simply did not notice because love is blind. Perhaps your love for this person who has hurt you blinded you from the truth of how they really are, or perhaps you really knew all along but were in denial?

Why Do the Details of the Infidelity Really Matter?

The fact is, if indeed you know for a fact that an infidelity took place, that what really matters is that your SO betrayed you. Unless it was with your best friend, your worst enemy, or a close relative, or someone else important in your life, what difference does it make with whom s/he was unfaithful? What difference does it make what they did together no matter who it was so long as they were of legal age and sound mind?

What should matter is that your SO was unfaithful – period. What should matter is that your SO betrayed you and now your bond with that person is broken and your trust with them is shattered. The bond and the trust must be repaired or your relationship is going to be very unhappy if it continues.

Learning the details, which you know you will only use to make yourself more miserable, is not necessary or useful. It is not at all productive. All you need to know for sure is that your SO was unfaithful and broke your trust. If you know that to be a fact, then it only remains for you to decide what to do as a result.

Findings From Recent Marriage Studies

A study released in May 2012 by the University of Florence found that infidelity outside the home was associated with a higher risk of major cardiovascular event, including fatal heart attacks, for men.


A University of Michigan study found that the likelihood of divorce went down by 20% when a husband had a good relationship with his wife’s parents. However, when a wife had a good relationship with her husband’s parents, the likelihood of divorce went up by 20% !


“Living together before marriage is no longer a strong predictor of divorce, [when couples are engaged to be married] according to a study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in early 2012." However, couples living together who were not engaged were not as likely to stay together for 10 or more years.


Couples who share or divide chores have a 50% higher divorce rate than couples where the wife takes responsibility for all or most of the chores according to a Norwegian Study. It is thought that this is due to ‘modern’ attitudes and values that tend to regard marriage less seriously than previous generations.

. . . . from the Huffington Post

The More Important Questions

The more important questions are, can you put your relationship back together again? Can you rebuild the trust? Do you want to repair your damaged relationship, or end it? To help you find the answers to these questions, ask yourself, "Is my life better with him or her in it? Or would my life be better without him or her in it?" Be honest with yourself, and that should give you the answer to whether you want to do all the work it will take to rebuild the trust.

If the answer to the above questions is no, then it is really just a matter of ending the relationship, mourning for a little while over the loss, and then moving on. No stalking your SO to see what else they may be doing. No trying to find out through sneaky methods whom s/he was unfaithful with or where their rendezvous took place, if you do not already know this information.

For your own sake and peace of mind, do not continue to replay in your mind what you think may have happened between your SO and the other person. Do not try to learn intimate details by any means. They really do not matter. The only thing that matters is that your bond and your trust have been broken.

Instead, enjoy some of your favorite comfort foods for a few days. Get some counseling in an effort not to have a replay with your next love interest. Get a new look, buy a couple of new outfits, work out, and use that negative energy to make yourself look and feel better than ever.

Refuse to think about the details because that will just bring you down and make you feel angry and hurt all over again to no avail. Essentially, refuse not only to beat yourself up more by learning unnecessary details and replaying in your mind, but also, refuse to allow what has happened to taint your future. Mourn the loss, and then start over fresh leaving the disappointment, anger, and hurt behind. No, it will not be easy, but the sooner you get back to living your life, the sooner this too shall pass.

Yes, You CAN Control Your Thoughts and Feelings

Yes, if you are of average or above intelligence and mentally healthy, you CAN control your thoughts and your feelings. It may not be easy, especially in the beginning, but the more you practice doing it, like anything else, the better you will become at controlling your thoughts and feelings. You will find this skill to be an advantage in all areas of your life, not just your love life.

You Want to Try to Save Your Relationship

If like some people you choose to try to save your relationship, I definitely recommend you seek counseling. Ideally both you and your SO will attend. One of you getting counseling is better than neither of you getting it, but the ideal is for you to get counseling together.

Counseling can keep things on an adult level and bring a new perspective to the equation from someone who has experience with these issues and who can be objective and fair to both of you.

If you are serious about saving your relationship or marriage, counseling is essential. Otherwise one or both of you will develop resentments that will further poison the relationship. Resentments because one of you feels s/he is giving in more than the other. Resentments because one of you thinks the other is not respecting their feelings, or not ‘getting it,’ where the other’s feelings are concerned.

If you really want to save your relationship, go the extra mile and get the counseling. Your relationship is either worth that or it is not worth that. If you think it is not worth that, then stop playing games and end it as per above.

Continuing to walk on a broken leg without having it professionally tended to so that it heals properly will only insure that it gives you grief for the rest of your life and may in fact never completely heal.

Many more marriages could be saved, according to John Gottman, psychologist and founder of The Gottman Relationship Institute; if couples would seek counseling and help before problems become so huge they threaten the relationship.

Whether or not you choose to try and put your relationship back together, stop chasing down information that is essentially irrelevant, and that will only give you more pain and which you will only use to torment yourself. Stop beating yourself up!

© 2012 C E Clark

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Comments 33 comments

Au fait profile image

Au fait 15 months ago from North Texas Author

Sallybea, thank you for reading and commenting on this article. I just think knowing all the minute details only adds to the pain and what difference does it really make? It is an issue of loyalty and trust. Infidelity breaks those bonds no matter the minute details.


sallybea profile image

sallybea 15 months ago from Norfolk

Excellent article. I completely agree with you about not wanting to know anything about the 'other' man or woman. I guess it is human nature to want to know, but I was never tempted to go down that road. When I finally across a picture of her many years later, my first thought was that he was welcome to her.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

JayeWisdom, thank you for reading and voting on this hub, and for sharing your thoughts and experience on this issue.

I agree that indifference is the opposite of love, or at least what finally develops when things have been bad for a long time. I think in the anger/hate stage people are still fighting and arguing, but that stops once indifference sets in, because there is no longer anything that seems worth fighting and arguing about.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Moonlake, thank you dear friend for the congrats and for voting on and sharing this article! No, it hasn't gone viral yet, but some of my other hubs are quite popular and even on Google's first page.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Billie Kelpin, thank you for reading this article and sharing your thoughts/experiences on this issue. I hope you have come to realize that people usually behave the way they do more because of who THEY are than because of anything you have done or not done.

I promise you, that even if a man has the most beautiful, most intelligent, wealthiest, most talented in every way female to call their own, they will not be happy. The grass is always greener on the other side and many of them get high on the prospect of getting caught.

If that's not enough, ours is a culture that encourages men to be unfaithful, and to NOT be unfaithful is to be accused of being hen pecked and to have to deal with that ridicule. Lots of men are unfaithful because that is what our society expects of them and most people of both sexes want more than anything to fit in and will do whatever it takes to that end.


JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 3 years ago from Deep South, USA

I married when I was too young to realize that the man who said "I do" in our wedding ceremony obviously had his fingers crossed. When I finally opened my eyes to the fact that he was a womanizer, it was devastating because I considered marriage vows sacrosanct.

However, it takes two people to make a marriage work; one partner can't salvage it alone. And serial betrayal shows a total lack of commitment. I'm with Shyron about indifference, not hate, being the opposite of love. Once you reach the state of feeling nothing, hopefully, you've moved on.

Voted Up++

Jaye


Billie Kelpin profile image

Billie Kelpin 3 years ago from Newport Beach

I have to read this in depth when I have lots of time, but this is a very important article. I don't know if you mentioned this, but after many years of wondering "What did I do wrong?" What could I have changed" I would think, if I had been thinner, kinder, more attentive to his needs, "something-er" he would never have left our little family and caused such great heartache for so many. Only just recently, someone pointed out to me that our premises are often faulty. Wow! Changed my thinking on that one. I went from, "There's something wrong with me, otherwise he would never have left," to this premise which helps: "There was something really wrong with him."


moonlake profile image

moonlake 3 years ago from America

Congrats on the Hubbie Award "Have a Hub Go Viral." Interesting hub maybe this one will go viral or has it already. Voted up and shared.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you for reading and commenting Deborah-Diane, and for sharing. I hope this will be helpful to your daughters. When you trust somebody and find out your trust was misplaced it does take the wind out of your sails. Better to find out who a person is early though, don't you think? Before years of marriage and babies come along.


Deborah-Diane profile image

Deborah-Diane 3 years ago from Orange County, California

Two of our daughters have had this happen to them, and they were heart-broken. I plan to share this information with them and others!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Shyron, thank you for sharing your thoughts!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Aunt Jimi, for reading, sharing your thoughts, and for voting and sharing this hub! Glad you got the point.


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 3 years ago

Wonderful hub Au fait, I agree with Aunt Jimi, that someone who says they love you would turn around and betray you, is more than most people can take.


Aunt Jimi profile image

Aunt Jimi 3 years ago from The reddest of the Red states!

I'm with you on this Ms. Au Fait. Why torment yourself about things that don't really matter. It's the betrayal and disloyalty that matter. The fact that the person who said they love you lied and can't be trusted. Hard to swallow that anybody would risk a relationship they value by cheating.

Voting you up. Useful, too, and sharing.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Peggy W for reading, commenting, voting on, and especially for sharing this hub! The people who did the studies have not given very good explanations for the results of their studies either. In the case of the couples sharing chores who have a higher divorce rate, they believe it is because more modern thinking people are more inclined to share the chores and their modern thinking places less importance on marriage. Personally, I know lots of middle aged and older people who share the chores and they're still married, but I realize it's antidotal and not applicable to the general population.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Torrilynn for reading, commenting, and voting on this hub! It's true that some women blame themselves when their sweetie cheats, but of the ones I know, most blame the woman he cheated with. Truth is, he controls his own behavior and actions.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you mperrottet for reading, commenting, voting on, and especially for sharing this hub!

The current guess is that marriage partners who share the chores are likely to be younger and more modern in their thinking, thus placing less importance on keeping their marriage together. It is thought by some researchers that the younger generation places less value on marriage.

I think it may have more to do with both partners being wore out from all the chores and seeing each other mostly in work clothes, no sprucing up, etc., as during the courtship. So often people stop making the effort to look good for their partner once they're married and they let themselves go.

Trying to keep everything perfect is a never ending chore and all but impossible. If there are children involved the work load is unbelievable and worse if perfection is the goal. There's no time for fun, and I mean fun like at an amusement park or some place where people can relax and laugh for a change. All work and no play sets the stage for a divorce.


torrilynn profile image

torrilynn 3 years ago

Aufait,

great point that you have here in your article

most of the time we think that it is our fault but

it is not.. it is your partner's fault

Voted up


mperrottet profile image

mperrottet 3 years ago from Pennsauken, NJ

Good advice, Au fait, and really interesting statistics about divorce rates. I'm shocked to see the higher rate of divorce for couples that share tasks. I would have predicted just the opposite. Great hub, voted up, interesting, useful and sharing.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

Hi Au fait,

I think that the advice given in this hub is good and valuable for those people who find themselves in this situation. The findings from recent marriage studies are most interesting! I am still scratching my head over a couple of them like the sharing of chores and also the wife getting along with her in-laws. For every study done there will probably be another one in the future that either confirms or refutes it. :) Voted UUI and will share.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Shyron.


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 3 years ago

Good advice Au fait.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you for reading and commenting on this hub Queen Hypatia, and for sharing your thoughts!


Queen Hypatia profile image

Queen Hypatia 3 years ago

The statistics you have here about marriage are very interesting. Why would women want to divorce a man who helps with the chores? Very good advice also. Why make oneself more miserable than discovering an infidelity would surly already do?


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

New information about divorce and who is most likely to be affected by divorce has been added to this hub.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

R2-D2-2: Yes, it can be hard for a lot of people to follow this advice, but if they can do it their lives will be much more 'normal' and peaceful and they will feel better about themselves and 'things' as time goes on. A person always feels better when they have some control of situations that affect them. Thanks for your comments!


R2-D2-2 profile image

R2-D2-2 4 years ago from USA

Agree with the point of this hub. Recognize when there is no reason to hang in there and then move on. Really move on and leave it all behind you. Don't let the past mess up the future. Good advice. Takes a mature person to follow this advice I would guess.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

Shyron: You are correct. But if a person is stalking their mate in an effort to find out where s/he is and what they're doing, they haven't yet reached that indifference. So long as people are fighting and angry, they still care about the relationship, the other person, or something, so it needs to be worked through.

Thank you for your insightful comments!


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 4 years ago

I have been there. And you reach a point when, you see some humor in the situation.

The opposite of love is indifference, and once you reach that point, there is no way patch-up possible.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

Jaggedfrost: A coworker inspired this hub. I'm a PSYC major, and yes, as a result I have thought about this issue a lot. Thank you for commenting!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you again Bob, for taking time to read and add to the discussion!


Jaggedfrost profile image

Jaggedfrost 4 years ago

It sounds like you have had a lot of experience with this subject or at least a lot of time for reflection after the the tragedy that did happen. It seems like you have come to a lot of healthy and sound conclusions. It was a well written article. I wish you the best.


diogenes profile image

diogenes 4 years ago from UK and Mexico

Too much emphasis on "fidelity" among many human societies.

Jealousy caused me untold problems when I was young.

Now my "partner" can do what she likes and if that means she wants to do it consistantly with me, that's just serendippity.

Bob

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