Where did she touch you? How did it feel? Why did you let it begin? Where do you think it will end? Did you get to try anything…new? How good was it, honestly? Who made the first move?..not just the intro to Barbara Streisand’s Left in the dark, these are the thorny questions asked by partners who have suffered this breach of loyalty.
Infidelity..One of the most crippling trials a relationship can encounter. This is from the perspective of the cheated spouse/partner. Some relationships survive, some don’t. For the couples that don’t, that doesn’t necessarily mean they loved their partner any less or that they didn’t want it to work. When emotions take over, the circle of relentless gnawing at the partner that was unfaithful begins. The spouse is beleaguered with thoughts of the sordid details of the affair; when, where, how, why, was he/she more sexually appealing? Able to fulfill he/she in ways that they couldn’t and drum roll…do you love him/her? When those questions are finally answered, a renewed commitment, tears are shed, the words ‘I forgive you’ are uttered; so that should be it right? Well no it’s not.
The realization that saying ‘I forgive you’ does nothing to quell the hurt, anger, distrust, resentment amongst a barrage of other emotions take over and the interrogations begin. The bouts of insecurities surface and the amateur private investigations do very little to assuage the fears that either the transgressor has reverted to actions of the past or the ‘victim’ becomes the one stepping out in a bid to exact revenge. The reiteration of bitter recriminations continues.
More often than not there’s an implicit expectation for couples that have been together for a period of time to overcome infidelity. Infidelity after ten years can’t be deal breaker; For the married couples, the vows did say ‘For Better or Worse’. I strongly disagree. The theory of reigniting passion and forgiving one’s partner is easier said than done. Dare I say, this can in some cases cause more harm than good. When the dialogue of disloyalty becomes the epicenter of the relationship, ‘moving on’ becomes an uphill task. So no, it’s not THAT simple.
It’s important to understand that couples stay together for various reasons. Questions need to be asked, answered truthfully and time taken before the healing process can begin. In my opinion, that healing process may entail going separate ways and each learning how to live and love again or it may mean the couple embarks on a journey of renewal, wiping the trangressional slate clean. The experience then becomes a catalyst for change and the relationship is strengthened. It’s pertinent to note that there’s nothing wrong with taking either path. Marriage vows doesn’t equate to ‘entitlement to an indefinite hall pass’ and Infidelity doesn’t mean the end of marriage BUT it certainly doesn’t mean a continued commitment.