There is no debate, discovering our partners have not been faithful is excruciatingly painful. When we’re experiencing infidelity, it can be easy to go online and try to discover why; we want answers to how and why this happened, why we didn’t know sooner, and how to get through it. The internet is full of forums, articles, and so-called “truths” about infidelity, but these articles can be misleading and false.
“Once a Cheater, Always a Cheater”
Perhaps one of the most dangerous myths, the idea that because someone cheats once they will cheat again is a falsehood that perpetuates cycles of mistrust and resentment. While many people do cheat more than once, assuming that everyone who is unfaithful to their partner will continue to be is a generalization that may leading to unnecessary breakups, divorces, and a lack of trust in those we love.
“Everyone is Unfaithful”
Many people like to say that monogamy is unnatural and they look to nature to support their argument. However, many species of birds and other animals have monogamous behaviors and mate for life. Psychologists claim that because humans are “nest builders” we are monogamous in nature, even if we do not do it perfectly. Monogamy is a choice and a mindset, and not everyone shares those beliefs. However, to claim that all humans are unfaithful is another generalization that creates mistrust.
“Affairs Happen When Love is Absent”
It’s easy to see why this could be true. When our partners are unfaithful, it can lead us to feel like we aren’t loved. “How could you do this to me? I love you.” It might be nice if infidelity was this black and white, but it unfortunately is not. Infidelity is often seen as the result of lust, self-consciousness, or dissatisfaction with life, not a partner. Love does not have to be absent or weak for an affair to happen but it is important to recognise what kind of ‘love’ was abundant in the relationship prior to the affair. If it wasn’t unconditional love then both partners will continue to have an inner emptiness which drives them to seek ways of filling it. This is also why making a relationship work after our partner has been unfaithful is possible. Unconditional Love can be learned. When we can address the cause of the infidelity, we are open to approaching our relationships in new, more rewarding ways.
“An Affair Always Ends in Divorce”
My relationship is proof that this idea is not true, and we are not the exception. Infidelity does not spell the end of a relationship. In fact, as stated in the last point, it can often mean a new beginning. When we and our partners are open to communication and change, marriages and relationships affected by infidelity have the power and possibility to strengthen and grow. They key is to accept help and trust in the power of unconditional love. When you love without expecting anything in return, you reach a level of deep attachment and commitment you may never thought was possible.
It’s easy to generalize, to feel pain and look for answers, and to push those who hurt us away. There are, sadly at times, no real “truths” to life. Everyone’s story and experience is different. We must look inside and evaluate what is right for us.