As someone who has interviewed hundreds of men and woman on their reasons for looking outside the traditional box, and someone who has also cheated in my last relationship, I am a firm believer that the ‘victim’ of infidelity is rarely the victim of the marriage/ relationship.
When someone finds that their partner has been cheating, no Real questions, aimed at understanding Why, are asked. Rather we ask for more insignificant and hurtful details such as “Who was it? Where was it? How many times? Did you like it? and How could you do this to me?” Questions that offer no room for overcoming the issues that lead to infidelity to start with. The relationship then deteriorates and both parties walk away feeling hurt, betrayed and justified. When outsiders then ask “What happened?” the ‘victim’ of infidelity will often respond “She/ He cheated on me” and leave it at that, when the reality is that the relationship was likely falling apart months, sometimes years, in advance but little attention was paid to the signs.
Yes there are a minute few who cheat purely to rack up the notches on their belt, but most mature adults in relationships are seeking a monogamous, long-term partnership based on connection, acceptance and excitement. They do not wish for a relationship that leaves something to be desired. Unfortunately, how to be a true ‘partner’ to your lover is something that’s not taught to us. Further, how to openly and vulnerably discuss your unmet needs with your partner when infidelity appears as a short term solution is a skill that’s been beat down by society’s unchallenged judgement that all ‘cheaters’ are immoral and ‘wrong’. How can we get our partners to truly hear our plight and respond maturely and from a place of love and desire to nurture our relationship if admitting that our eyes are wondering throws them onto their high-horse of judgement and playing victim?
There is a dire need to educate ourselves on how to deal with infidelity before it eventuates as well as how to understand and overcome it when it does. My sexual frustration in my last relationship inspired my first book “CHEATING: How to Do it Right- A Guide for Women”. Having then openly shared with my partner the emotional and sexual neglect I felt for years and seeing no genuine understanding, I fell easily into the arms of my secret lover. A man who fulfilled all the unmet desires I was long starving for. Do I regret it? Not one bit. It’s made me who I am today- a stronger, more voiced woman who knows what she wants. Still, my ex will wonder this earth believing that ‘all women are not to be trusted’ and possibly deny himself the opportunity of creating a relationship that truly caters to his needs and that of his partner. He may enter many more relationships, still prioritising money over connection and find himself hurt over and over again. This is the inspiration for my upcoming book ““THE ALLURE OF INFIDELITY – Understanding Why Most of Us Cheat and What We Seek from Our Affairs”- to replace the futile need to play victim with an understanding that it always takes Two to tango, and allowing both parties to move forward (together or separately) with the understanding, knowledge and thus power to build better and stronger relationships.
There was a time when we judged each other based on the colour of our skin, our gender or our chosen faith. Today, whilst we claim to be modern, westernised and a mixing pot of acceptance, we judge those closest to us on their desperate attempts to feel loved, seen, appreciated or simply wanted. The time has come to spread awareness and transform our society’s misguided judgement of ‘cheaters’ into compassion and understanding… something that can help us grow as a people rather than divide us.