A client asked me recently to write about cheating in romantic relationships.
This is a touchy subject because it stings so much. I’ve experienced the pain of cheating first hand, and I can tell you I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.
All a relationship is, after all, is two people learning how to trust one another. Trust is the foundation of everything else. Without trust, there isn’t a relationship.
When cheating happens, that trust is shattered. And it’s very hard to get it back (not impossible).
There are different perspectives on cheating. For me, it’s a deal breaker. For my therapist, she has seen many a couple work through it and come back even stronger.
There’s no right or wrong way to look at it, but there is a deeper lesson inside the painful act of cheating that I’d like to speak to.
I’ve worked with many clients who have been cheated on in different ways: sexually and emotionally.
Sexual cheating is when you have sex outside the relationship. It’s the physical act of cheating.
Emotional cheating seems innocent, but in many times, it’s worse. It seems innocent because there is no physical, sexual act. It’s all in your head.
But we humans are energy beings and can feel when things are off. When you are emotionally in love with someone else, or just flirting with them in a major way, this can be more devastating than the physical act many times.
Because intimacy is not meant for someone other than your partner, and this can be a real blow.
After working with so many people who have experienced cheating, there’s a common trend that I’ve noticed.
One question I asked them all is “How long before the cheating started did you feel unsafe in your relationship?”
The answer is always, “a long time” and for many the answer was “I never felt safe in our relationship”.
I believe that our body and intuition can feel a person’s true intentions on this matter long before the physical act happens.
Almost every time, when I asked my clients, “What would have done if feeling safe in your relationship was a priority” – most of the time they tell me that they wouldn’t be in the relationship in the first place, or they would be setting the bar higher.
So, I’m going to say something that might seem a little crazy and perhaps controversial – but bear with me for a moment. Keep an open mind.
What if being cheated on is a wake-up call to trust and value yourself? What if the physical act of being cheated on is an external reflection of how you’ve cheated on yourself.
That is to say, you knew something was off, you didn’t feel safe, you knew you deserved better: but you did nothing.
What if ultimately the spiritual lesson of cheating is this: trust thyself.
What if you made feeling safe more important than anything else?
Many people who I work with admit that in a relationship where’s there’s cheating, safety is not a common experience. It doesn’t have to be some huge overt level of feeling unsafe; it could be subtle.
But, there’s always a disturbance in the force. And it is we who need to get smart and trust that.
I’m hoping that you aren’t reading this blog right now and thinking, “Great, so I’m to blame for them cheating?”
That’s not the takeaway. Human beings are responsible for their actions. This blog does not justify or make right what happened, but it can help you learn the lesson.
Trusting yourself, being firm with what you need in a relationship and what you deserve, these are all very valuable lessons. And the sting of cheating comes bearing the gift of this lesson if we can learn it.
Lots of LOVE,