Despite being one of the most common events in human relationships, infidelity is one of the biggest betrayals we ever experience. We’ve all grown up with the myth of ‘happily ever after’ and these romantic ideas position our partner being attracted to another person as a full-blown attack on our sense of identity.
We make it to mean that we are not good enough, that there is something wrong with us and our relationship. That we failed!
But if it wasn’t all about that?
In her book “The State of Affairs” Esther Perel – the world-leading relationship expert – says that when we cheat is not always because we want to be with someone else, but because we want to be or to become someone else – to discover a new version of ourselves that is hidden from us within the rather rigid frameworks of traditional relationships.
An affair is a ‘make it or break it’ event for a relationship.
Sometimes it’s just the beginning of the end of a relationship that has run its course. A tragic finale to a series of losses and little betrayals that lead to the inevitable breakdown of everything the partners once held dear.
But with each challenge comes a real opportunity to take your story to the next level and to discover aspects of love that are not part of the popular myths we grow up with.
Seen from another angle, infidelity is nothing but a wake-up call, a sign that you’ve not been paying attention. Not to your partner – although that is often one of the main triggers – but to yourself. To those parts of you, you have rejected, ignored or failed to recognize.
If you have been the victim of infidelity, ask yourself these three questions:
- What is this experience trying to teach me?
Nothing happens without a reason so take this as a sign it is time for a change. Even if you may not be able to see it, this experience is a gift. Take responsibility for your contribution and ask yourself what would you want more of that is currently missing.
- WHO do I want to be and what parts of ME are waiting to be noticed?
Just because it is not you who took the first step outside the norm, it doesn’t mean there is no lesson here. Your Confident, Self-Reliant, Independent, Decisive selves are waiting to be allowed to shine. Embrace them and become the best version of yourself and make it possible to create the relationship of your dreams.
- Is this really about me or am I MAKING it about me because I am not sure who I am without my partner’s validation?
Love is often just like the magic mirror in the fairy tales: no matter how beautiful the queen was, there was always doubt, always someone better. But the mirror only tells the truth if you ask her the right question. What if you already knew the answer? You are beautiful, you are worthy, you are exactly who you need to be.
Ultimately, what matters the most is what you make of it.
Do you choose to play the Victim and say ‘well I was never good enough anyway so I’ll just feel sorry for myself and blame the others?’
Or do you become the Hero who, wins, grows, makes it all happen against all odds. It may not sound like much, but these two stories are worlds apart and only the Hero can really experience true love and healing. Make this choice today!
Read this article (and more) in Hong Kong Living Magazine