This question usually comes to me from a woman who has been deeply hurt by a man who has cheated on her.
The feelings a woman can often experience when she finds out and deals with the unfaithfulness can range from shock, denial, disillusionment, betrayal, anger, rage, fury, disgust, nausea, bargaining, and an overall feeling like a complete fool.
Many times in this situation, a woman is left feeling not just the emotional reaction from the cheating but the loss of trust in herself as well as the loss of trust in others, especially men.
As well, often times her self-esteem will be tested. She can have thoughts such as, “Aren’t I good enough? Aren’t I sexy enough? Why aren’t I enough? What is wrong with me?” At the same time, she will have to grieve the loss of the “image” she had of her man as well as the relationship.
An infidelity is a devastating experience with many layers of healing which will need to be worked through. It is not as commonly spoken about; however, this happens to men as well. It seems that more and more women today are cheating on their partners. So really the question is “Why do people cheat while in relationships?”
The answers can vary as widely as the number of people who are actually doing the cheating. However, we can narrow it down into some categories, which may make it more understandable.
Generally, a person cheats because...
- They are looking to get their unmet needs in the relationship fulfilled outside the relationship.
- They give into tempting situations.
- They have commitment, intimacy, or abandonment issues that are being played out.
- They themselves have trust issues and want to hurt first before getting hurt.
- They are self-sabotaging.
- They are addicted to substances that negatively influence their behaviors.
- In some cases, they have an addiction to sex.
More specifically for men; a man is wired to "spread his seed" in order to procreate the species. In fact, research shows that men cheat across all socio-economic and cultural lines around the world.
Now this is not to give men a free pass and say, "go ahead spread your seed, break your marriage vows or betray your partner it is in your wiring!" However, it does provide a little more insight as to why men cheat.
The bottom line is that as humans we have evolved a huge cerebral cortex to make decisions, which makes us capable of overriding a biological urge. The key word is "capable." Just because a man is capable of overriding a biological urge does not mean he will. It depends on the individual man and the other factors as mentioned above.
The man dong the cheating will know the real reason. In some cases, if he does not know himself well, he may not even understand why he did it. The truth is you may never know for sure.
If your man has cheated, the first decision you will have to make is whether he and your relationship are worth the work.
The next decision you will have to make is whether you are willing to look at yourself and accept if any of your actions in the relationship may have contributed to the cheating. This requires a great strength in character as it is so much easier for us to blame the other person instead of looking at ourselves. However, by taking responsibility for any part you had in the situation, will help you grow as a person and assist in the healing of the relationship.
Finally, whether you chose to stay in the relationship or not, forgiving is absolutely necessary for you to move on with your life in a healthy way.
The road to forgiveness begins with understanding. Once we can understand the reasons why someone behaves the way they do, we can forgive any judgment we have placed on them for these behaviors. This is not to say we accept abusive behaviors and say, “Oh Well, I understand you have a problem.” It simply means we move on with our lives without dragging the baggage of un-forgiveness along with us. When we judge and then do not forgive, it is as if we are holding a sword over our own head. It renders us trapped, burdened and not free to live our lives from a place of wholeness and fulfillment. Instead, we are encumbered by the negative thoughts and feelings not forgiving brings.
Being betrayed by an infidelity is one of the most difficult situations a woman will go through. To recover from it takes time, work, and willingness. It is very difficult for most women and couples to get through an infidelity on their own. Most of the time both men and women will need professional help to move through this to a healed place.
The good news is that true healing is possible! Your man cheating on you does not need to be a devastating end. This can be the beginning of a deeper, richer, and more profound life whether you choose to work it out with him or not.
I work with both men and women who are going through this exact situation. I walk them through the healing process to either move on with their life or help rebuild and transform their relationship. To begin your healing journey contact me here.