Is there anything good in infidelity? Especially for someone who has been cheated on? It is difficult to assume that these questions can be answered “yes,” – but that’s what the specialist in the psychology of relationships in couples Esther Perel. Her story of healing from infidelity.
I lecture in different countries. And all over the world, those who have cheated tell me the same thing – they say they feel alive. And they often tell me that they recently experienced a loss, a parent died, a friend died too soon, or they themselves heard the disturbing news from a doctor.
In the shadow of betrayal there is often the thought of their own death, which makes me wonder: is that all or can I get something more? Am I going to live exactly the same way for the next 25 years? Will I ever be able to experience vivid emotions again? It’s questions like these that cause us to transcend inhibitions one day.
Some cheating is an attempt to engage with death, a kind of antidote to it. Cheating is much less about sex than it seems, and much more about wanting to feel special, important, worthy of attention.
Cheating can be both a sign of the end of a relationship and can open up a new path for it
By engaging in a forbidden relationship, you may never be able to connect with your lover. This circumstance spurs your lust. There is a built-in desire generator in infidelity, because incompleteness and uncertainty make you want again and again what you cannot have.
It seems impossible to cheat in an open relationship, but neither is it. First, monogamy and infidelity are not the same thing. Second, even with the freedom to engage in any sexual relationship, we are still attracted to the forbidden. I often tell my clients: if they brought the audacity and ingenuity they show on the side into their relationship with their partner, they wouldn’t be sitting in my office.
So how would we recuperate from betrayal?
Want benefits us, and double-crossing harms us profoundly. In any case, it is feasible to recuperate from it. Cheating can either be an indication of the conclusion of a friendship or it’s anything but another way for it.
Most couples who have been undermined do remain together. Some attempt to just endure, however others figure out how to transform the emergency into another chance, an encounter that will make new practices, connections, and mentalities. This is significantly more valid for bamboozling accomplices. They may say, “You figure I didn’t need more? But I didn’t do it.” But when the cheating is uncovered, they can express their cravings so anyone can hear, at this point don’t have to imagine that they approve of it.
The most important thing for cheating partners is to restore their sense of worth, to feel love for themselves.
Cheating destroys a familiar pattern – but it is also an opportunity to make new rules. Often after an affair, partners learn to communicate with each other differently. Their conversations become more sincere, honest and deep than they were before. And, having long been sexually indifferent to each other, they suddenly find themselves insatiable desire and can not understand where it came from. And it’s all fear of loss – it ignites passion and paves the way for a whole new truth.
How can a couple respond when treachery is at this point not a secret? We realize that mending from injury starts the second the miscreant concedes blame. The accomplice who engaged in extramarital relations as an afterthought has: one, to end that issue, and two, to concede blame, to communicate lament for making the person in question endure.
Numerous untrustworthy companions fault themselves for harming their accomplice, yet feel definitely no blame at all for the actual issue. Furthermore, this qualification is significant. The person who conned needs to deal with the relationship. He is the person who needs to turn into the defender of a few’s limits, to assume liability, to assuage the other of his tensions and questions. That in itself starts to reconstruct trust.
And for cheating partners, the most important thing is to restore their sense of worth, to feel love for themselves, to surround themselves with friends, to immerse themselves in activities that will bring back joy and a sense of self worth. More importantly, you must curb your curiosity by refraining from asking yourself where you’ve been and what you’ve been doing. Is he/she sure he/she is better in bed than I am? Such questions only increase the pain and keep you awake at night.
Every betrayal reshapes the relationship, and it’s up to the couple to determine what kind of change it will lead to.
Instead, it’s helpful to ask what I call exploratory questions: what did this affair mean to you? What did you manage to say or feel that you couldn’t already with me? How did you feel when you came home? What do you appreciate about our life together? Are you happy that it was over?
Every betrayal reshapes the relationship, and it is up to the couple to determine what kind of change it will lead to. But the fact of the cheating remains; it cannot be changed. And the dilemma of love and desire also remains-it does not lead to simple answers about where black is and where white is, what is good and bad, who is the victim and who is the perpetrator.
There are many ways to betray another: arrogance, neglect, indifference, cruelty. Sexual betrayal is just one way to hurt. This does not mean that I approve of infidelity. It’s just that sometimes infidelity leads to something good. I often get asked the odd question: maybe I’m advising cheating. No more than I would advise getting cancer. Sick people also talk about how the experience gave them new meaning.
Look at cheating from a double perspective: pain and betrayal on the one hand, growth and self-discovery on the other. That’s what cheating does to people. And that’s what it means to me.
When a couple comes to me where cheating has occurred, I often tell them: in Western countries today, most people get married twice or three times, and some of us have it with the same person.