The Harsh Reality Of Cheating On The Person You Love

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do cheaters suffer

Not to diminish the powerless, vulnerable feeling of pain and confusion that comes from having the person you gave your love and trust to cheat on you, but there are natural consequences for the person who caused the pain.

This leaves them in a powerless position that can follow them far beyond the dastardly act itself.

Let’s look at the flip side: the consequences of "being a cheater" and how cheating hurts the cheater most.

Do cheaters suffer?

Being the cheater, you just gave someone permission and ammunition to judge you without restraint, as well as opening yourself up to interminable abuse, manipulation, and justifiable anger.

Being held responsible for every bad feeling someone else has from this day forward. Having someone feel the right to question every decision you make. Being humiliated in the eyes of your family, friends, co-workers, and children.

Not only can your spouse now blame you for every bad thing that happens to them and every problem in your relationship, but your children get to blame you too. If they cheat or their spouse cheats on them, that will also be your fault. When they are sitting on the therapist’s couch unmarried, unloved and childless at 44, you will be the reason they can't trust or make and keep commitments.

You are defined by your actions which are subject to the absolute concepts: "Once a cheater, always a cheater" and "How you do anything is how you do everything." You make one bad judgment and it never goes away.

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People will sooner forgive a drunk driver for killing someone if they say they'll never drive drunk again than they will forgive you for cheating on someone you love. Because if you are willing to hurt and betray the one person you are supposed to love more than anything else, no one is going to really believe that you won't hurt or betray them.

All your accomplishments are suddenly overshadowed by one misdeed. You could have successfully saved the free world from destruction, but what you will be remembered for are a misplaced cigar and lipstick-stained shirt.

While as a whole and complete multi-faceted person, you may not deserve the notoriety that completely obliterates your trustworthiness and personal relevance, you did earn that notoriety because you betrayed a sacred trust and violated — not just your marriage vows, but the code of loyalty within a family.

If you didn't put them first, who will? If you didn't put them first, who did you put first? If you were only loyal to yourself in the context of your family, how can you be relied upon to have loyalty to anyone else?

You singlehandedly cast doubt within every relationship in your circle of influence. If cheating entered your relationship, couldn't it enter theirs? Who did you drag into this with you? Did you ask friends to cover for your lies?

Still wondering how cheating hurts the cheater most?

You won't be able to trust others to be loyal to you. You know you are a good person at your core, with some stellar qualities deep down, and if you did this, anyone can. If you could violate a sacred trust and hurt someone you love in such a deeply damaging way, what's to stop them or anyone from doing it to you?

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You won't be able to step outside of the stigma. Fearing that just when you think you're making headway, this is going to rear its ugly head again and ruin all the progress you have made, and are trying to make, in your life and relationship.

Worrying, will they find that old email, or see the other person at a party? Will today be the day that something triggers my spouse to remember that I messed up before?

Feeling unworthy of love since the one person who said they would love you in good times and bad doesn’t love you anymore because they are busy protecting themselves from being hurt by you further. Living with the fear that just being yourself, at ease and having fun will be met with suspicion and resentment. You are responsible for placing yourself in this position.

You don't even know that you were ready to give up on your marriage yet, but you do know that now you don't really have much of a choice.

Can you agree to be someone's punching bag for the rest of your life or is it just easier to take your chances alone or with this new person? A life with someone who can't see clear enough to trust you, open to you, be fully with you without seeing your mistake every time they look at you, sounds like no life.

The idea of looking into their eyes and wondering if the pain, doubt, fear you see in their eyes is still because of you; having to face your own failure and mistake every time you look at them, doesn't seem like a life you would willingly choose for yourself. Especially knowing that every time you take a stand on an issue in your relationship, you have that much less credibility of having the best interests of the marriage at heart.

Seem harsh? It feels cruel to me, but it is a harsh reality and destructive dynamic that many couples are stuck living with when faced with the reality of how cheating hurts the cheater most. It’s the reality that you should feel now if you are on the verge of taking a step in the direction of cheating on your spouse, whether you have convinced yourself that you are justified or not.

Sin is sin, lies are lies, and mistakes are mistakes. No one is perfect; we have all lied, been unreliable or responsible for disappointing someone in our life, especially those we love the most.

While a "cheater" may have earned their Scarlet Letter "A" of scorn and shame, do they deserve the life-long judgment? Do you deserve a martyr's medal because someone you love was unfaithful? How many ways have you proven to disappoint others in your life? Would you appreciate mercy if you were driven to make a bad decision?

Adultery is an ugly act that can pervade the life of a couple to its core and those around them, but blame is a choice we make, and guilt is a burden we choose to carry. Is it possible that we give infidelity and the fear of betrayal too much power?

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Leilla Blackwell is a speaker, published author, and contributor to the books She Loved Herself and Essential Wisdom.