Adultery is a relationship crime. It creates three categories of victims: 1) The person betrayed; 2) The perpetrator and; 3) Bystanders.
Committed relationships have rules. The most important rule is to share your intimacy exclusively with your partner. In other words, you are to share your privacy, your deep emotional feelings, and your sexuality with no one other than your legitimate partner — this was your commitment to him or her when you agreed to live together.
People who cheat on their partner do so for many reasons. Sometimes they hate their partner, and sometimes they love him or her. Cheating ‘may or may not’ imply something about the current state of your marriage or committed relationship. Regardless of the “reason,” there is no such thing as legitimate cheating!
Let’s delve into the reasons infidelity hurts everyone.
The relationship crime that victimizes the person betrayed
1. Infidelity betrayal causes anxiety and depression
When your partner discovers that you have cheated, he or she will experience intense anxiety, worry and depression having been broadsided by a relationship tsunami.
Exposure of infidelity will leave your betrayed partner devastated and bewildered, and it may take him or her years to get back up on their own two feet. And even once that happens, they will never have the same innocence and trust in others that they once had prior to having been betrayed.
For many people, depression and anger go hand in hand. Your betrayed partner’s personality may transition into something that is entirely at odds with the way you knew him or her prior to their discovery of your cheating.
No matter how many times you apologize, exhibit remorse, or attend therapy sessions putting the pieces of your shattered relationship back together is at best extremely difficult and at worst impossible.
The perpetrator of the relationship crime
We have discussed how cheating will impact upon your partner. After your cheating has been discovered what will happen to you?
2. Relationship misery
Should you cheat and your partner finds out all hell will break out. Your devastated partner will simultaneously explode and implode. Your betrayed partner will argue and fight with you, cry and withdraw all in quick cycles likely lasting for many months.
Regardless of what your relationship was like before your cheating became known, after having been exposed it will become infinitely worse.
If that isn’t enough, your betrayed partner may want to take revenge upon you. This may take many forms including divorcing you and taking a lot of your money, telling everybody about your flawed character, shaming and embarrassing you in public. Or another direction your betrayed partner may take is to cheat on you to level the playing field — to get even and teach you what it feels like to be betrayed.
Since for obvious reasons your betrayed partner can no longer feel safe with you he or will likely withdraw and withhold. This means for many individuals, no love, no sex, no care, no future good times together.
4. Loss of trust
For obvious reasons which include having carried on secretly with a person outside of your legitimate relationship and a great deal of lying to cover it over you will no longer be trusted by your partner. Can you blame him or her for forever being suspicious of whatever you do? By cheating, you have forfeited the right to be believed — even when you are telling the truth!
And consider this: Even if your legitimate marriage or committed relationship falls apart and you take up with your paramour and make it into a committed relationship, your new relationship will also be infused with mistrust. After all, you cheated on your first partner, now your new partner thinks, “Perhaps you are going to cheat on me as well.” Even your paramour won’t trust you!
Short of a miracle, you’ll be treated like a relationship pariah the rest of your life.
Everyone who ever heard about your philandering will always think of you differently. Your reputation will never be the same. You are now branded as a “cheater,” and that will never change. Most people will never say anything to you. However, their thoughts about you will always include the undeniable fact that you, so to speak, ‘stabbed your partner in the back’ and that you are not to be trusted.
6. Divorce and separation
The decision to cheat was yours and yours alone. However, once your philandering is discovered, you are no longer in control. Your partner will now determine your fate.
Should you divorce, there will be a loss of money, dignity, self-determination, a peaceful life, having to deal with lawyers, and worst of all in some cases the loss of access to your children.
The way divorce negatively impacts upon a family cannot be overstated. Divorce injures family members regardless of their age or position in the family.
Innocent bystanders are collateral damage!
7. Uncertainty and fear
Bystanders include first and foremost your children. After that, they include your parents, siblings, other family members, and friends. As they watch you and your partner struggle with either rebuilding your relationship or ending it, these innocent bystanders will also suffer from the stress, uncertainty, and fear of what their future may be.
Infidelity is not a victimless crime. More people than you could imagine will be harmed. Regarding your children, they will feel as if their life has collapsed. Depending on their ages and how much they know will determine how far they fall and whether or not they will be able to get back up.
If you and your partner separate, the infidelity event will impact upon your children the rest of their lives.
Family and friends will also be hurt. They have invested in you and wish you well. It is painful for them to watch you and other loved ones in a free-fall. As well, there may be some very negative realities that will be imposed upon the bystanders. For example, grandparents may no longer have access to their beloved grandchildren.
Think before you act
The next time you are tempted to cheat consider all the above before acting.
There is a saying, “What happens in Las Vegas, stays in Las Vegas.” This is a lie! Just like the lie perpetrated by the deceptive relationship site Ashley Madison that cheating helps a marriage!
The truth: Rarely does philandering “stay in Las Vegas” — usually it is discovered; the question is only ‘when you will be exposed.’ As well, no relationship has ever improved because one individual has betrayed his or her partner — your relationship will be no different.
Many people such as the villains at Ashley Madison are willing for selfish reasons to mislead and take advantage of you. Don’t allow yourself to be their fool.
If you really cannot stand your primary and legitimate partner, then get a divorce! It’ll be far less painful than being branded with the scar of having been a philanderer and everyone knowing this is the reason your family “fell apart.” However, before you call it quits I suggest you find a caring and competent relationship professional to help you try to recover from infidelity and build a healthy, loving, and peaceful marriage or committed relationship.
And if you love your partner and enjoy being with him or her — don’t, so to speak, kill him or her by cheating.
I have worked with so many wonderful people who have been afflicted and entrapped by infidelity. After the affair is over, and the legitimate partners want to stay together, “surviving infidelity” becomes their battle cry! They sincerely want to leave the adultery and the ensuing relationship crisis in the past. However, doing so is exceedingly difficult. All of the individuals involved would jump at the opportunity to turn the clock back before the cheating occurred and avoid completely this relationship crisis they are currently swept away by. There is nothing worse than a self-inflicted wound that could have been prevented! — cheating is just such an injury!
If you are currently cheating, then stop. Each day you continue creates more risk and injury.
If you have cheated in the past, prove experience has taught you something and never do it again.
If you have never cheated, good for you. Still, take sensible precautions to make sure you are never in a risky situation that could lead to the intentional or unintentional future betrayal of your partner and family.
Cheating has many victims including the perpetrator. In the moment of a fling-of-passion life seems perfect. However, as gravity never abates, so too, the weight of reality will eventually come crashing down upon the cheater. When this happens, everyone will suffer for a very long time.
In many ways, cheating is not that much different than injecting heroin: A momentary high and then the inevitable crash that leaves the depleted addict groveling in the gutter.
If you are currently trying to survive infidelity, let me help. Make an appointment and we can work together to fix your broken marriage or committed relationship or get my infidelity recovery book for only a few dollars from Amazon.
Surviving infidelity resources: