Cheating might be result of relationship problem: what you can consider and change
Are you about to lose your partner? Do you suspect or actually know that he or she has had an affair or is engaged in one presently? Oh, my! I don’t envy you: this is one of the most difficult, shaking – upsetting feelings! It makes us so vulnerable, and leaves us feeling so belittled and betrayed. There is so much anger that we could rant and rave.
At the moment you might not be sure if you want to keep your partner or break up. For a grounded decision I suggest that you attempt to separate the galloping feeling from your sober mind. Consider what could be in the background? What could be the reason for it?
It is possible that the reason has nothing to do with you but solely rests inside your partner’s character. Perhaps s/he is able to resist everything except for temptation. Maybe s/he needs to prove his/her attractiveness by seducing the other gender. Whatever it is, it is outside of your control, so only you can decide if you will put up with that or leave.
On the other hand, the reason can lay in the relationship within. Something is missing or not working well, and the infidelity can serve as a communication about this problem. If this is the case; at least try to understand what your partner wants to say about it!
First of all, no matter how hard it is: you better put aside all your trembling feelings and open your mind for comprehending what the unfaithfulness means? What is it instead of?
But when you are in a fury, you are not in the proper mental state to recognize connections. I’ve seen husbands raging about his wife’s infidelity and were not able to hear his wife quiet complaint about her not getting enough positive attention, support and approval from him.
This is why I suggest separating emotion from rationality for a little while and reflect about the situation!
Do you pay enough attention to your partner?
Do you give adequate support?
Do you understand his/her feelings?
Do you know and do you approve his/her dreams, goals?
Do you unconditionally accept him/her and do you express that?
Do you acknowledge his/her contribution to the workplace, to your finances, to the housework, to the family, to the emotional stability?
Do you express your love to him/her?
Do you spend time together with joyful activity?
Do you share your feelings with him/her?
Do you have a satisfactory sex life? – Does the other think it the same way?
Do you accept each other’s differences?
Do you talk about your conflicts respectfully?
Are you able to apologize for mistakes and disrespectful comments?
Are you able to forgive after an apology?
Naturally, the list is longer than that: think about it, and ask for details. What is s/he missing? What did s/he get from the third party that s/he didn’t get from you?
But the hardest point: LISTEN! HEAR! PROCESS!
It is so natural for all of us to jump into the defensive mode when we hear something inconvenient about ourselves! Have you detected it yet?
We deny: “I didn’t do that!” “It wasn’t that way!”
We correct: “It wasn’t because of that!” “It didn’t happen that Saturday!”
We blame the other: “Yes, because you made me angry!” “Yes, because you did it first!”
We avoid the responsibility: “She told me to do it.” “You did it too!”
Familiar? Don’t be ashamed! It’s instinctive. We defend ourselves in case of critique, it doesn’t matter if it is rightful critique or not. The biggest disadvantage is that in this way we are preoccupied with our “counterattack” and not the other’s point.
Try this: set a time interval for your partner for that long, while you are able to hear difficult things (e.g. in what is the third party better than you…) without interruption. Maybe quarter of an hour, maybe half. Ask you partner about his/her feeling, opinion or the reason. Listen to it. Don’t answer! Don’t protect yourself. Just think about it for a day or two. After that, if you still have something to say, say it respectfully.
If you reached the point you cannot stand it anymore, just say it’s too hard now. You want to stop here, and leave – to the other room; for a walk alone – and think about it. You may cry or exercise or do anything (healthy) what helps you to regulate the painful feelings. But the point is to understand your partner’s feelings and the reason of infidelity. Don’t let yourself sidetrack from this.
What I expect from this thorough investigation is that you understand in a deeper level what was happening around you, and with this insight you can better decide:
1: Is this relationship worth enough to work for or not?
2: What can I do to prevent this kind of crisis in the future?
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