“The biggest mistake spouse’s who’ve had affairs make is withholdinginformation, minimizing facts, and telling more lies.
In the final end it will not be the affair or the sex with the other person that has hurt them the most.
It will be the lies.
What you need to realize is that you have already hurt your partner/spouse as much as it is possible to hurt a human being. There is only one way you can hurt them more now, and that’s by telling more lies.”
– Anne Bercht, Infidelity Expert
If you have never been betrayed by the person you love most in the world, count your blessings, but don’t discount that it may happen. Statistics in modern America dictate that anywhere from twenty two to sixty percent of men and forty percent of women will step outside their committed relationship at some time in their life. If the affair partner is not one of these ‘counted’ individuals, the numbers rise, making it closer to eighty percent of all relationships suffering through infidelity. And why would one think a betrayer would tell a poll-taker the truth if they have lied so egregiously to the person they claim to love more than any other? The numbers are staggering. Infidelity is rampant.
A dear friend of mine and an avowed ‘Ex hippie’ with all the free love philosophy acted upon in those days once told me that although she was widely promiscuous in her hippie youth, she never slept with a married man. Now a staid and beloved mother and grandmother, accomplished in her job and well liked by all, she is the picture and reality of a respected woman. “The one thing I taught my kids to listen to from me—if they chose to flush all the rest of the advise I should ever bestow—Live by the Golden Rule.
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
There is zero room in the golden rule for the betrayal of infidelity— “hurt your partner/spouse as much as it is possible to hurt a human being”.
They say emotional pain rivals any agony of physical injury. And so it is true. When the person you thought had your back, thought of you as the most special and precious human being on the planet turns to another in the most intimate of acts—sex, there is little else to compare.
Relationship experts say it is not unlike the effect of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) as the realization sinks in that your beloved has done the ultimate devaluing of you as a person. Sleep interrupted by torrents of tears, jolting waves of anxiety and grief, stomach aches, sickness all accompany the days weeks and months after ‘discovery’. The betrayed can think of little else.
They say all things can be forgiven. I believe that is true. People forgive such as those–the murderer of their children, or the thief of their life savings. This super human feat of compassion is at the core of the philosophies of the most respected giants in our culture—Martin Luther King Jr, Ghandi, Jesus—and yet it is equally available to we mere mortals.
‘How can I ever forgive such betrayal?’, the hurt partner asks her or himself. As is true with most seemingly insurmountable life challenges—one minute at a time, one hour at a time, one day at a time. Yes, even if the betraying partner is unrepentant and leaves the relationship, one day at a time the hurt partner can regain his/her life, take care of him or herself and realize that the betrayal is no reflection on them, but rather the deep hole of inadequacy, the low self esteem of the betrayer. It takes a healthy person to face any and all relationship problems head on through talking with the partner and/or seeking outside help. So many many choice other than infidelity. Finding solice outside the relationship puts gasoline on the fire of discontent, taking the betrayer ever the further from what would actually build his/her self respect and core relationship—integrity.
Ah but we are frail humans. We tell ourselves lies, we make excuses to do what we know is wrong. We blame the very person we are betraying. We take the easy way out, the path of temporary thrill and pleasure at the expense of our soul.
All souls can heal. All souls can be forgiven. Yes, even those who ‘hurt their partner/spouse as much as it is possible to hurt a human being.’ Even if the relationship ends, forgiveness, compassion and sympathy for the betrayer is not only possible, but the only path to a fulfilling and happy future. Ridding your heart of resentment, thoughts of revenge– and replacing those thoughts with thoughts of compassion is not easy. Nothing worthwhile in this life is.
The key to surviving and thriving after the ‘most hurtful experience possible in any human life’, is feeling and getting the energy of all the agony out, moving through it like a firewalker over hot coals—be kind to yourself and realize, truly come to grips with, the fact that betrayal is one hundred percent the choice of the betrayer.
Are you a perfect partner? No one is. Even the best, most loving relationships are comprised of two imperfect persons working day in and out to respect each other, compromise, value and uphold each other through all the challenges of a full life.
Betrayal would never happen if we all took the Golden Rule into account in all our decisions, most especially one that shatters, at a minimum, one heart—the betrayed partner, but with the possibility of agonizing so many others—children, siblings, friends, parents of the betrayed as they watch their beloved friend/child/sister/brother suffer the most painful experience of their life. Communicable disease and broken families all lie on the guilteen of infidelity as soon as the betrayer crosses the line, pulls the chord releasing the blade of ‘the gift that keeps on giving’–an act that can unleash horror and destruction. It can never be unheard, unfelt, un seen once the hurt partner becomes aware. Life will never be the same.
Weakness, low self esteem, immaturity are the scars so many carry into relationships that can seem Cinderella-perfect at the start. Un-addressed issues of childhood, baggage taken on throughout life and just plain unrecognized vulnerabilities lead so many down this path of destruction. But when the midnight bell tolls, life as the couple knows it shatters, never ever to be the same again.
Doing the hard work to rebuild. Whether together or apart, each person from the couple must move through the ramifications of the choice made by one—if either or both ever hope to heal and grow into the stronger, wiser person possible on the other side of this life altering experience.
Together or apart.
Wait until the emotional storms pass because this is too important a decision to be made quickly or in the throws of agony. Three to six months is the wisdom of the infidelity experts. Three to five years before healing, should the couple choose to stay and work together toward a better tomorrow.
Unimaginable pain with lifelong consequences or—
The Golden Rule.
Follow it, talk to your partner about it and perhaps this ‘hurt as much as it is possible to hurt a human being’ may never darken your door.