I have been unfaithful. There; I said it. Perhaps it’s a little shocking? Or titillating? Furthermore, I strongly suspect you too have been similarly unfaithful. Please, consider the following thoughts.
We conjure up a meaning when infidelity is spoken of. We imagine trysts, betrayals, families falling apart. This all occurs in lives and relationships and can be so very, very difficult and painful. But it is not this of which I speak. I refer instead to the many betrayals, and moments of little to no faith that I do; that we all do, on a daily basis. I betray myself most of all. I’m not even sure if my partner feels this betrayal. I’d have to ask. But it certainly registers with me. Therein lies the problem. Because once I betray myself; and try to act as if I have not; I don’t present my true self any longer. I present my false self. And my dishonesty builds a relationship of deceit. Others begin a relationship with the ‘not me’, so to speak.
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To understand infidelity and lack of faithfulness we must understand fidelity. The one exists by virtue of the other; just as dark defines light; and up defines down. Fidelity defines infidelity. So we must understand what constitutes fidelity or faithfulness.
Faithfulness can be anywhere I choose it to be. If I look to my love relationship; I need only re-read my vows to see my all-to-frequent lack of faithfulness. My vows (and yours) hold a key to what constitutes fidelity in that relationship. Although your vows would differ from mine; their intent or function is quite similar. For example, those who “promise to love, honor, and cherish in sickness and in health until death do you part” have prescribed their recipe for faithfulness. My recipe, which I spoke to my partner, indicated that I would consecrate myself daily by each word, thought, and act. I needn’t look any further to see my unfaithfulness.
So this may all be well and good. But what happens when someone really does commit an infidelity/adulterous act? Once the couple recovers from the initial disclosure/discovery and shock; perhaps they can begin to consider all of the infidelities leading up to the ‘big one.’ Some couples can’t do this. They just can’t. For them there is a right and a wrong. And likely it is the aggrieved one that persists with this thought form. However, for those willing to address their own numerous absences of faith in their partner and relationship; there is something to learn and somewhere to go with all of this. It’s called; ‘growth through pain’. Granted; many couples never get this far. They may be too stuck in the ‘blame game’, and can’t move past the ‘big act’ of betrayal to look at all of the acts of faithlessness in the relationship. Metaphorically speaking, they can’t see the forest because of the one hugh tree looming right in front of them. But it doesn’t mean the forest doesn’t exist. My admiration extends to those who can walk through their dark forest with painful honesty. They might find something real at the end of their journey.
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