“My husband cheated on me and I don’t know who he is, or who I am anymore. I feel utterly lost. How can I re-find him and myself?”
There is an assumption you are making in how you are looking at this; that you have at some point in your life, actually known exactly who your husband was, and who you were, but because he has done something you didn’t expect him to do, this has shattered what you used to believe.
Perhaps you could look at it in a slightly different way – what if you never did know who he really was? What if you never really knew who you were either? You only feel lost, because the new information you have is conflicting with what you previously thought you knew.
Try starting here. “I know virtually nothing about who I am or who my husband is but wouldn’t it be fascinating to actually discover the truth of that.”
I cheated on my wife for 23 years in our marriage before I was finally ‘caught’. If during that time, anybody had asked me who I thought I was, I would have told them I was a committed husband and father (I must be that, right, particularly since we had been together for so long), I would have told them I was an honest person with integrity (simply because I was able to create an internal delusion about myself based on times when I was honest and ignoring all the times when I wasn’t) – I would have told you I was a fun and caring guy (simply because the people I hung around with also believed it was fun and acceptable to cheat on your spouse as long as nobody found out).
The truth I have since discovered is that I had absolutely no idea who I was. I created a mask in order to survive in the world. I had an alter ego, a false self, an avatar of the real me that I believed was me. And I had created this mask by the time I was 7 years old – I then just carried on refining it, perfecting it and playing life from behind it having no idea this is what I was doing.
The truth I have also since discovered, is that pretty much everybody else is doing the same thing. There are some really enlightened people who have gone on their own path of discovery to learn about how we all create this mask and there are some excellent learning resources that can teach you all about it. And those are just the ones we found. No doubt there are loads we haven’t discovered yet.
The discovery of my infidelity was the catalyst that allowed my wife and I to embark on our own journey of personal truth and discovery. My wife says that finding out I had cheated on her was “both the worst and the best thing that ever happened” to her – the ‘worst’ because of the pain and hurt of not being able to understand why I did what I did when she thought she knew me and also making it mean something bad about her – the ‘best’ because it was the turning point of our lives and the start of a most wonderful journey of self-discovery for both of us – a journey that we now know will continue for the rest of our lives.
I hope this tiny insight into what has happened to my wife and I can be some inspiration for you to know you are on the right lines. Go find out who you really are – who you were before you were 7 years old – who your husband was before he was 7 years old. Then you can discover what masks you both constructed to survive in the world, why your masks attracted each other in adulthood and what is behind each of your masks that can learn to come together in a marriage that could be so transformationally wonderful and different, you will bless the day, you found out he cheated.