Have You Been Unfaithful? How The Coronavirus Pandemic May Help You Come Clean

Photo: getty
Have You Been Unfaithful? How The Coronavirus Pandemic May Help You Come Clean
Heartbreak

If you've been carrying on an affair behind your partner's back, the coronavirus pandemic may offer you an unexpected blessing in disguise: How to stop cheating on your partner.

Being unfaithful is never easy.

RELATED: How To Survive An Emotional Affair When Betrayal & Infidelity Rock Your Marriage

Yet, with popular and controversial websites like Ashley Madison that promote and glamorize the act of infidelity, it can almost feel to some as though it’s a life experience they must have. In some ways, affairs have become a sexy kind of “betrayal du jour.” One that everyone must try before they die.

That is of course, until they do.

And for those with a conscience who dare taste this forbidden fruit, they soon find that life can get really complicated, really fast.

In time, the excitement, passion, and desire that once hijacked their senses, comes face-to-face with more uncomfortable feelings, such as guilt, shame, stress, and fear. A deep inner conflict begins to develop, one between feeling noble and naughty, passion, and pain.

It’s anything but easy to resolve.

Many also find themselves polarized with a common affair dilemma: They love their spouse or partner, their home, and family, but at the same time, they are in love with someone else.

Most people believe in their heart of hearts that having an affair is inarguably wrong. The betrayal trauma people experience after an affair, no matter which role they played in the love triangle, can shatter their hearts.

But affairs are also very human. The truth is, since marriage was born, so was infidelity. Traditional marriage was never intended for love. It was designed to create economic security and family lineage.

In modern times, where most do marry for love, those who don’t understand the stages of love or the psychology of attraction become disillusioned when their desire for their partner fades and they fall out of love.

And so people do what people do. They act out before they look inward, and in turn, make a big mess. Except now, the coronavirus pandemic offers a creative solution for those who are in conflict over their affair and want to clean up their mess.

Mandated social distancing and sheltering in place is not ideal for those who venture outside the bedroom. It creates a natural interruption in meeting up.

And if people do choose to meet up, they have to struggle with the very real possibility that they could potentially be exposing each other and their loved ones to the virus. If they chose to get together, they could now be putting even more people at risk of getting it.

The fatigue that people conflicted about cheating feel will become even more stressful during this time.

Adding into their risk calculation that continuing to see their lover during this pandemic could hurt others by spreading the virus, may be just the stressor they need to help tip the scales into pressing the pause button on their affair.

This is easier said than done. Love is indeed a drug. And the pain people experience when they withdraw from it can make them want to kick and scream. This is why affairs can go on for a long time.

It’s also why the accompanying feelings of guilt and shame do, too. So, those who long to follow their hearts find themselves in a great dilemma. Because they also need to feel as though they’ve done their best with the one they made a commitment to before they walk out.

It’s always wise to work with a seasoned therapist who specializes in infidelity and betrayal trauma when trying to flesh out how you got yourself into the mess and how to get yourself out of it.

RELATED: I Had An Affair — And It Saved My Marriage

The authentic choice that most want to make, whether that be to stay with your partner and work things out, or to follow your heart and deal with the guilt of leaving to be with your lover, takes inner courage that can only be found when looking inward. This looking inward is a process that takes time.

However, there are things you can do now, while waiting to get an appointment or between sessions for those who already have a therapist, to help you deepen into yourself, where your courage, confidence, and clarity lie.

Chances are you're wondering: If I stay, will I lose the love of my life? If I leave, will my family, friends, and kids hate me? Can I live with breaking my spouse's heart? Can I live with breaking my lover's heart? Can I live with a broken heart?

And there is no easy answer to these questions.

The part of you that understands the language of the heart and knows the path your higher self wants to take, needs to be very much involved in this decision-making process. And by listening to it with consistency, practice, and time will lead you down the path your heart and soul want to travel down.

This is how you will figure this out and create a calm, curious, compassionate, creative inner space that can find quiet and clarity in all the chaos.

And when you do access this, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Why did you go outside your marriage or partnership without having difficult conversations and doing the “work” first?
  • What are you afraid would happen if you gave up your lover and did the work on your marriage now?
  • What are the qualities that you most love about your spouse or partner?
  • What are the qualities that you most love about your lover?
  • If you could find these qualities in yourself without your lover, could you find a new kind of synergy with your partner or spouse?
  • What would you want your next chapter with your partner or spouse to look like?
  • How does that chapter make you feel?
  • Do you really want that?
  • What do you understand your role in the breakdown to be? Yes, you did have a role, no matter how toxic the relationship may be.
  • If you love your spouse, but desire has faded, are you willing to take the time to try to rekindle it?
  • What do you imagine it would be like to give up your lover?
  • If you do give up your lover, how can you take care of yourself and grieve this loss?
  • Who can support you during this grieving period?
  • If you come to realize that leaving to be with your lover is your heart’s true path, how do you get the support you need from family and friends?
  • As you imagine the pain and shame you will feel by hurting and disappointing others, can you open your heart up to yourself — especially if you're angry at yourself for getting into this mess in the first place?

Again, keep closing your eyes and you will find your way out of the dark. Social distancing and sheltering in place is offering you the perfect opportunity to take the time you need to look inward.

And when you do find the passage out of the dark, embrace your inner courage to follow that passage. It takes courage to stay and it takes courage to leave. But most importantly, it takes courage to be true to yourself.

So, take the time you need right now to do just that.

RELATED: The Real Reason People Cheat (And Why Temptation Is So Powerful)

Sign Up for the YourTango Newsletter

Let's make this a regular thing!

Maura Matarese, M.A., LMHC, R.Y.T. is a psychotherapist, author, and yoga teacher. Check out her new online course, Finding Hope After Heartbreak: Learn the Secret How to Start Feeling Better Now, or try the free mini-course version first. Maura is also available for teletherapy during this time. Visit her website for more information.

Author
Expert