In today’s post, we would be unpacking relationships and infidelity. The concept and meaning of relationships is different to different people . So an encapsulating definition of a relationship, would be an emotional, physical and sexual connection between two or multiple people. Relationships are not static, but are constantly evolving, simply because we as humans are subject to change. It is safe to say that we’ve been in some sort of relationship, with either one or multiple partners. And withing said relationships, we either cheated, or got cheated on, or both.
What then, is cheating in this day and time? Is talking and connecting with other people cheating? Is grinding in the club on other people considered cheating?
Again, the concept of infidelity means different things to different people. But the general idea of cheating boils down to either having a physical, sexual or emotional connection with someone other than your partner(s). Most times cheating has everything to do with self and nothing to do with the partner.
So why cheat? What causes people to cheat? Is it depression? Neglect? Loneliness? Is it resentment or contempt? Could it be the result of misery? Or could it be for the thrill of the forbidden? The reason behind cheating, is the actual disease of the relationship than cheating itself.
The truth is….
Most of us ,often slip into roles, when we get into relationships. We want to be the perfect partner, who does everything wonderfully. Basically, we’re trying hard to impersonate something we’re not, versus just being our authentic selves. Consequently, the relationship consists of role playing and becomes performative. We constrict ourselves to the rigid confines of a role and that ultimately suppresses who we are at the core. This manifests into us feeling stifled, pressured and stuck. And of course, we find ourselves seeking escape and meaning outside the relationship.
Can Infidelity be managed/avoided?
I do not believe that everyone wakes up with the intention to cheat on their partners (the first time at least). Therefore, infidelity is most likely circumstantial or prevalent in certain conditions.
That said, can infidelity be avoided? I am not certain but we can manage it by;
1) Evaluating the purpose of our relationships.
We owe it to ourselves and partners to evaluate the purpose of our relationships. Did we get into relationships because we were lonely? Did we allow the illusion of time to push to us into relationships we weren’t ready for? Or was it to be palatable and fulfill societal standards?
The reason we get into relationships, would determine the relationship’s half life. Therefore, if the purpose behind our relationship is fear, codependency, selfishness, time etc , it is bound to implode.
2) Knowing Ourselves
As aforementioned, we tend to be performative in our relationships and lose touch of ourselves. We may slip into those roles because we are afraid to express our true selves or do not even know who we are. So it is important to have knowledge of ourselves. What our principles and values are. Identifying what makes us happy and content in all areas of our lives. Knowing our vulnerabilities, triggers and emotional wounds. Getting clear on what our boundaries are, our career and life paths, passions, and goals. Recognizing our views on spirituality, love, sex, happiness and life in general. The kind of people we want to evolve into and surround ourselves with. We have to know ourselves, our nuances, our truths and express them. Knowledge of self centers and roots us, preventing us from waking up one day feeling like a complete stranger.
We are always grown until it’s time to talk and express how we feel (yes honey, i went there). We be going through the motions and changes of life and expect our partners to magically know what is going on us. How can they possibly know, when we do not say anything? If only we realized how important of a tool communication is, in any relationship, we’d use it more often.
Most of us do not voice our thoughts or feelings. We hold back for fear of rejection or because we do not want to upset our partners. We do this, when we should be discarding the fear of communicating with our partners. Granted, somethings are hard to say and may bring about conflict. However, conflict does not mean it is the end of the relationship. We should discuss things even before it gets to a point where it feels difficult to put out there. We all go through things that changes us, so it is imperative to discuss those changes with our partners. We have to be clear and honest. Let’s be talking about our boundaries, sexual expectations and vulnerabilities.
Also, positive and transparent communication mitigates misunderstanding in the confines of the relationship. Most times, communicating our true feelings, only goes to shed more light on certain areas. In a case where it brings an end to the relationship, we have to remember that it wasn’t meant to last. So let’s talk! talk about the great things and the not so great. Let’s even talk about talking. Discussing the little things before they actually become big problems. This all goes to strengthen the bond and foster clarity and understanding.
4) Managing Expectations
We all want our partners to be understanding and cut us some slack, but do not reciprocate that same energy. We have to remember that they are human beings too, with flaws. I am not saying we should enable perpetual toxic behaviors in the name of love. What i mean is, we should manage our expectations and not dump everything on our partners.
We cannot expect our partners to love us for us. Nor can we expect them to make us happy. That is our job. It is unfair to expect them to shoulder all our financial, emotional, spiritual, psychological and mental needs. And on top of that they have to provide us with mind shattering orgasms all the time. No darlings, we have to get our ish together and have some sort of balance in our lives. We need to love our selves and be happy. The idea behind healthy relationships is to share the love and happiness both partners already have. With that solid foundation,our partners can then support us along our journey, instead of carrying all our responsibilities. So in essence we have to work on our selves and not expect another human being to come figure us out.
So happens after cheating?
Should we try to fix things or just let go? Can forgiveness be achieved? Again, all these questions are subjective. But the ultimate question in my opinion is; why is cheating viewed as the pinnacle of a romantic crisis? Do we even have the range to navigate it from a different lens? First and foremost i appreciate that men and women were raised to view relationships differently. That said, i’d say the clandestine nature of cheating is what is damaging. The secrecy and it’s implications is what brings about the feeling of betrayal. Why? because while we trusted that our partner was at some meeting, it turned out not be the case. It is what’s actually happening in secret, when we think we know what is. That creates the feeling of violated trust. And because our trust is broken, we question and doubt the entire relationship.
Therefore, is forgiveness attainable? I believe it is, with lots of work. As long as we’re forgiving for ourselves and not to be palatable for societal consumption. The purpose of the relationship would weigh heavily in the forgiving process. We would have to try to remember all the things our partner was before cheating. Opting for professional help, to navigate the process when we get stuck. Things could go well from there onward or not. Separation becomes inevitable when we can’t move past the infidelity. Whether we stay and work on or leave the relationship, the bottom line is to follow our heart and be happy.
So that was my two cents.
That was my discourse on the matter beautiful people. Remember there is no such thing as a perfect relationship, despite what we may think or see. The long lasting ones have weathered storms, have compromised and flowed in and out of undulating changes. So build your relationship to resonate with you and your partner. One that reflects your truths. While trying not to suffocate your partner with your idea of who you expect them to be. But allow room to flow, room for growth and changes.
So what are your thoughts on relationships and infidelity? Let us know in the comment section.