Infidelity. Much has been written on this multilayered topic, yet all we remember about it is that it hurts—deeply. Even when we are the one being unfaithful, we cannot ignore the devastation it causes.
Most people respond to infidelity by collapsing and becoming a victim, believing there was nothing they could do to prevent it. I'm going to suggest instead that we take a lesson from the experience and move forward with a bigger heart and an open mind, and with the intention of never letting it happen again.
More from YourTango: To Succeed In Business & Love... Get A Cat?
Now, I don't want you to think that I'm your typical pontificator, who knows it all and writes formulaic articles on topics of the heart. No, I speak from experience—my own and the experiences of the hundreds of people I've coached, people who were willing to embrace a new perspective on infidelity and the string of broken promises left behind.
It Always Starts with Ourselves
Everything that happens around us is a reflection of what's going on in our inner world. If you can accept that everything happens for a reason, then you'll be able to shift your perspective on the whole topic of betrayal. Follow my thoughts here with serenity and open yourself to new possibilities.
We all know people who irritate the hell out of us. Have you ever realized that what you don't like about those people is often the same thing you can't stand in yourself?
Human beings are naturally resistant to change. We live in a society that prizes the comfortable life and pushes everyone to go with the flow. Yes, going with the flow works at times, but if it's all you do, then you're missing out on living life to the fullest.
Often we fall victim to our own actions and inactions, and sometimes the things we need to move forward in life have to hit us hard before we pay attention. Betrayal, infidelity and cheating may be just the thing to kick-start us into assessing who we are and what we want in life.
Our Body—Window onto Our Inner World
Each one of us is equipped with an infallible tool that connects our soul to our physical senses: our body. At every moment, our body is giving us signals, letting us know when things are going well or going wrong.
Nevertheless, in this society of ours, we are bombarded with quick fixes. Got a headache? Pop a pill. Can't sleep? Pop a pill? Don't bother listening to your body. What does it know? You get the gist.
Most of us recognize the remarkable capacity of our mind, yet we don't want to admit that our body has an equally remarkable capacity to support us in the decisions we make. The sensations we feel—butterflies, sweating, dizziness, all manner of aches and pains—are bodily expressions of our inner thoughts. They are all part of the information system designed to give us essential knowledge about ourselves. If we could notice everything about our body's operation, we would realize that it not only contains our feelings, it also illuminates our experiences and issues from an intuitive perspective. Have you ever met someone and known instantly that you didn't like them?
This isn't rational or explainable—it's just a feeling. Some of us would discount this information, saying it's not logical. Yet, in not validating our body's signals, we are depriving ourselves of a thorough assessment of the person or situation.
Very often, when infidelity enters your life, there were warning signs—a feeling, a sensation, perhaps a perception you decided not to follow.
Let's Put It All Together
When we accept that infidelity may reflect something that we have betrayed within ourselves, our world expands.
Granted we need time to mourn and absorb the situation, but the real question to ask yourself is, “How did I betray myself to the point where I needed to bring someone into my life to show me what I was doing?”
Though you may go on the defensive—or even the offensive—it will be worth it to rise to the occasion and ask the tough question.
While you are thinking about this question without judgment—namely, how you betrayed yourself in the same way someone betrayed you—take the time to also assess how you didn't pay attention to the signals your body was sending you. How did you choose not to believe in your intuition, your hunches, your gut feelings?
It takes a big person to make the shift to this place of taking charge. If the wound of infidelity is still fresh, this may not be the time to embark on this journey. Step back until the crying and the hurt have receded and you are willing to say to yourself “victim no more.”
How Do I Betray Myself?
Maia knew her marriage wasn't working, and now, a few years later, she acknowledges that she just didn't want to deal with it. She wasn't honest with herself and didn't believe in herself. Though she thought she deserved more, she wasn't willing to actively learn how to bring her best qualities out so she could get more out of life.
Her self-doubt and lack of confidence caused her to put her girlfriend on a pedestal, believing her friend was so much better than she was. Seeing herself as disempowered and weak, Maia opened her heart to this best friend, confident that her friend could solve her marriage problems. She ignored her body’s signals—uneasiness, poor sleep, lack of trust in herself—and eventually found out that her husband was having a relationship with this friend.
We all feel for Maia. She did good work overcoming the infidelity and trauma of an unfaithful partner, as well as the loss of a friend. When I met her, she wanted to do more than believe that terrible things had been done to her. She wanted the power to understand how she had participated and how she had attracted infidelity into her life.
Maia surrendered to the knowledge that she didn't trust herself, and she admitted that she was so passive about her life that, if it hadn't been for the infidelity, she would never have done so much work on herself. Maia sees now how her betrayal of herself was reflected into her outer world by the betrayal by her best friend. How could she be upset with her friend when she had betrayed her self-trust in an even worse way?
Of course, this didn't mean she chose to forgive her friend. No, what she chose to do was embrace how she had participated in bringing betrayal into her life.
Her husband's infidelity was a mirror of her own self-doubt in her marriage and her inability to be honest about it—with herself and with him. She wasn't honest with him, he wasn't honest with her. In that way, she had been a willing participant in her own betrayal.
If Maia had acknowledged her failure of self-trust and been honest with herself and her husband about her marriage, would she have invited infidelity into her life? We don't really know. Chances are, though, that if she had listened to the signals her body was sending her and not let things collapse, the world around her would not have collapsed so hard.
Mirror, Mirror on the Wall
It's refreshing to see how Maia has embraced her new attitude about how her outer life mirrors her inner life, and how she listens to her body, reading the signs and assessing what triggers her. I often hear her wondering what it is about herself that she needs to learn from others. "That person's aggressiveness really triggers me," she will say. "What do I need to learn about myself to let that person go from my life?"
Now headaches don't get numbed by a pill, unless Maia has investigated what her body is telling her. She has committed to her life fully, and you know what? She has found a fully committed partner and no new betrayal has entered her life. As she believes in herself, so do others believe in her. She trusts herself and others trust her. She is honest with herself and others are honest with her.
How About You and Infidelity?
Whether infidelity is inflicted on you, or you inflict it on someone else, what does it mean in the big picture of your life? When we betray ourselves, not only do we invite betrayal upon us, we also betray others, and it is only a matter of time before someone betrays us. Don't think that because you were the cheater, you have nothing to learn. For every action we impose on others, a bigger reaction will be imposed on us. Every time we are inconsiderate, we invite karma to teach us a lesson in a more severe way.
Dealing with infidelity is about taking back your power and surrendering to your responsibilities. It is about empowerment—for everyone involved—and seeing life from a new and richer perspective. Commit to your life with your eyes wide open and listen to your body. Live your life with honor, respect and humility, and above all, be faithful to yourself.
Monica Magnetti, Your Tango Expert and Get What You Want Coach
To support you, I've created these two free eBooks and MP3 Download. Find your fire! Express it to the world! Be faithful to yourself. Live an authentic life without betrayal or infidelity.
More from YourTango: Why Does Sex After 50 Rock? 9 Reasons From Real People Loving It
More adultery advice from YourTango: