Leila Reyes discusses what it means if he cheats and how to get back your self-esteem.
What does it mean about you if he cheats?
When a spouse cheats, most women take a huge hit to their self-esteem. Most women think that if their husband cheats on them that they've done something wrong to cause their husband to cheat. There is often an internal dialogue that sounds something like this:
- I should have been more attentive
- I'm not pretty enough
- There's something wrong with me
- I shouldn't have been so demanding
When I work with my clients, one of the first things we do is examine your thinking. It starts with identifying the story you are telling yourself about the circumstances you find yourself in. Once the story line is clear—with the plot and the characters, we separate out what is fact and what is fiction. The facts are what happened. He cheated. He said, "blah, blah, blah!" You did X, Y, Z. Just the facts ... Facts alone cause no pain! The damage comes when we attach a meaning to what happened.
The meanings we attach are FICTION
Anytime we attach a meaning to something that happened, we hurt ourselves. These meanings are fictional and only serve to make us feel bad about ourselves and our situation. For example—if he cheated on you, that's a fact! When you slow this way down, you will see that there is NO pain in someone cheating. I promise, if you slow it down, you will see that without some meaning attached to it, there is no pain.
It is only when you make him cheating mean that there is something wrong with you that you are thrown into the depths of dispair questioning your own value as a human being—now that's painful!
Separating Fact from Fiction - a pathway to freedom!
One of the most empowering things you can do is separate all the facts from the fiction of your circumstances (this is taken from the book Spiritual Divorce and the process I facilitate to help you heal their heart, regain your power, and create a great life after cheating). Here's how:
- Write out a portion of your story in all its dramatic detail
- Make a list of the facts (these are inarguable truths about what happened). As you read your story ask yourself with each detail, "Is this fact or fiction?"
- Cross out all the fiction (these are all the meanings you attached to what happened)
Once you've completed this exercise, you will probably notice that there are very few facts in your story and a whole lot of emotion riddled fiction. I'm not telling you that you shouldn't feel what you're feeling—I'm only pointing to the source of your pain. With this knowledge, you have the power to choose new interpretations of your relationship that actually leave you feeling better instead of worse.
For example—one of my clients interpreted her husband cheating on her to mean that it was better for her to know what his values were before having children with him. She was able to find the gift in what happened and eventually found a partner that had the highest degree of integrity. She's much happier with her new partner than she ever was with her cheating husband.
Change your thoughts, change your life
Every January I facilitate a small 8-week online group study of Spiritual Divorce where we explore these powerful teachings while getting the support of community. Here's what some of the participants have to say:
- "Now I'm loving myself enough to assert myself in relationships - and I give myself permision to ask for what I need and deserve!"—Kim.
- "Even though we're all in different situations, we all go through the same process in life - I'm feeling connected and supported in seeing through new eyes"—Helen
- "I used to think that life was doing this TO me and I felt very victimized. Today, I am focused on my own authentic life and how I choose to show up in it!"—Teresa
If you change the thoughts you're having that leave you feeling awful about yourself because of what happened, then you will open the doors to a much more peaceful life where you are able to see the good in your situation—even when what has happened feels horrible.
Resources to examine your thoughts:
Being cheated on is no fun! And I'm not saying that you won't feel bad going through this type of experience - but I am saying that there are ways to move through it with more ease and less pain. Here are a few resources to help you with that process.
- My 8-week Study of Spiritual Divorce
- Read the book Spiritual Divorce
- Byron Katie - the Work (A free helpline)