When you were a child, did you ever see the cartoons that included two little characters that were supposed to be depictions of our conscious? One donned a halo, and the other had horns. They would sit on each shoulder of the character that got caught in a dilemma. Do you remember?
I’m bringing this to mind because, although we are no longer children, and we know right from wrong, those little cartoon characters remain with us. We still find ourselves battling it out with what we know is the right thing to do, and what we want to do – no matter what the consequence.
I deal with couples in my practice, and as you can probably imagine, I hear a lot. Unfortunately, every now and then, I find myself listening to stories of the pain and emotional trauma created by infidelity. Someone in the relationship decided the way to deal with their temporary curiosity, their anger, lack of effective communication, or a misunderstanding … is to cheat. When this thought occurs to one of the partners in a relationship, it seems the character with the halo is losing, as its counterpart has planned and executed the rendezvous.
Very seldom does the rendezvous happen only once. Sometimes an affair can go on for years. No matter which person in the relationship is having the affair, YOU who are suffering have a decision to make. You can opt to try to work things out, or you can walk away. Let me give you some suggestions for staying, if that’s the choice you make.
- Do not get even – This will only make things worse and cause more pain.
- Do not blame yourself – Your partner’s cheating had/has nothing to do with you.
- Forgive them – Everything is temporary and everything changes. It’s a law of the Universe.
- Talk about it – You want to discuss it as a couple to begin the healing process and to start making that crucial shift.
- Seek professional help – Infidelity is a major problem that usually requires a professional to uncover hidden issues in the relationship and the individuals.
- Heal at your own pace, it takes time.
If you find this doesn’t work because:
- You can’t stop bringing it up
- You can’t forgive them
- The offender continues to offend
Then you must move on. End the relationship quickly and decisively. This isn’t something you want to drag out or allow the possibility of getting back together to plague your mind.
And when you begin dating again, I have some tips for you. But that’s in next week’s blog.