In light of recent media in regards to the previous Governor of California, I thought this would be a good topic to write about. Infidelity seems to be a male issue but in fact it happens to men and women, gays/lesbians, in every culture. It seems that more women deal with this from their husbands in heterosexual relationships but I think this is because it is more popular to hear about and men don’t want anyone to know that their wife cheated on them. A macho thing.
Women talk about these things, men don’t. Nonetheless, the issue affects all of us when we are in love. Infidelity is a humiliating experience.
Right now, I can imagine that Ms. Shriver is feeling many things. Over two decades of trusting, believing, having faith and honoring her vows as a dedicated wife now feeling as if it was all a big lie. She is probably wondering what was true and what was false. Of all the doubts she may have had up until now, gut feelings, thinking she was losing her head, feeling she was not good enough, not doing enough, now to find out it was not her. Realizing that none of this was her fault at all. Sure we have to take responsibility for the choices we make in life but at the moment of realizing all this truth come to light, first we have to deal with the pain. And it hurts.
“I didn’t want to hurt you, so I didn’t tell you.” Straight from the pages of a soap opera scene. It hurts more when you wait to tell someone 2 decades later than it would if you tell them immediately. It is better if you can deal with it sooner rather than later and make your choice as to what you will do at the moment, instead of finding out years later that you have lived a lie.
I’ve always wondered why people don’t just leave to go screw someone else, why do they stay in the relationship? For one, infidelity is more passionate when you are unavailable. The player cons themself into thinking that no one will know. It is an irresponsible, spontaneous, moment of pleasure. After getting away with it once, it is often like any other crime. If you don’t get caught, you see what else you can get away with. I’ve spoken to men and women who have cheated and often there is more than one partner they take up with. Not always but it is not unusual.
Whenever partners get caught, there is always the emotional scene no different then a person who goes to jail. “I didn’t mean to, I just got carried away.” “It didn’t mean anything.” “It was just a one time thing.” “We were arguing at the time and…” The latter is when the person tries to pin it on the spouse, making it a joint marriage problem rather than an individual problem. This is often stated by someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. People with NPD are never at fault for anything, they externalize the blame.
So what does a person do when dealing with this issue?
1. Realize that while mistakes may have been made by both partners in the relationship, you were capable of coping without hurting the other.
2. This was a choice THEY made, it was done outside the relationship and you were not a part of this decision.
3. During this entire time, were you jealous, suspicious, and told you were going crazy or had nothing to worry about? Now you know you were right. The next time you see these signs in a relationship, which I hope you don’t, heed the warnings, trust your gut!
4. Talk to a therapist so that you can vocalize all these feelings. Your friends are great but no one can ever really vent properly and show such humility as they can with a professional who will guide you through this.
5. Take some time to yourself. Space is healing. If you go to a healing retreat such as a spa, rent a room at a Bed and Breakfast, go to a women’s center, something that is far away from home and within your budget.
6. When in public, if you are a celebrity, don’t let them see you down. Be strong, poised, confident, wear clothing that makes you look like a million and remember that you are a role model to others. People want you to be a victim but if you look and act like a survivor, you will be a heroine from here on out. Your job is public relations, keep your pain at home, don’t take it to work.
When you act strong, amazingly, it takes less time to go through the pain. Your body carries you and the energy you are sending through goes to the brain.
Most of all be good to yourself. As you follow along this journey, you will come out much better on the other side. Follow my advice, move forward and don’t look back. It happened. It is over. You know it, now you are a wiser person.