Saturday, August 8, 2009

The "C" Word

Sooner or later, this happens to almost all of us. We are floating through our lives as normal, content in our existence, when our partner uses five little words. "I slept with someone else". And in that moment, the universe cracks. Five words ago, everything was fine. Five words ago, I knew my heart was beating. Now what? Now, with a stunned look upon your face, you feel as though you can barely breathe. The damage is done. Where do you go from here? How do you look that person in the eyes anymore? How do you even go to sleep in the same bed? Can you? Is it possible to forgive such a heinous transgression? That answer can only be found by digging into your relationship. Some of the answers aren't pretty, but to heal, you have to know.

1) How long have you been together? Has it been a month, a year, a decade? This matters. If it's only been a month in the relationship and already they are involved with someone else on a physical level, then is it even worth patching up? The emotional tie isn't as strong as someone that has been together for nearly a decade. For that you have to weigh the pros and cons. You also have to ask yourself the next question.

2) How long has this been going on? Was it a one time screw up? Is it an affair with all the emotional tangles that go hand in hand with that? If it is only once, and you have history, then therapy may be in order (as well as time to heal so you can eventually forgive). Sometimes partners mess up big, but if there is an affair with someone that they have been involved with for any length of time, the questions get even harder.

3) Were they safe? Even if they say they were, please please please get tested right away at your physicians office. I cannot stress the importance of that. You have no idea what kind of person they may or may not have been with, and it is in your best interest to give yourself peace of mind.

4) Were you even emotionally well matched to begin with? There is the chance that you may not have even been right for each other, and that is what prompted them to stray. They may feel unsatisfied, hell you may be unsatisfied. That is in no way an excuse for the behavior, but it is a reason and an excellent jumping off point for the healing process.

5) Can you forgive them? You may think you can, but if you look as them and all you think is what happened you need to consider the idea that you may not be able to get over it. If that is that case, a trial separation and therapy may work. It is a huge emotional task to begin to forgive someone for that sort of betrayal, but if you want to make it work, it is possible.

If you have considered the idea of cheating on your partner, think of this question for yourself: Are you prepared to inflict that kind of damage for someone you care about? If you are no longer emotionally invested in the relationship, please consider telling them. In the grand scheme of things, breaking it off would be like yanking off a Band-Aid where an infidelity would be open heart surgery without anesthesia. This is someone you care/ed about. Heartache is easier to get over than heartbreak. You owe it to them to be honest.


  1. I think that before anyone cheats on their partner they should break up with them or ask for a separation to take time to figure things out. I don't think that there is a good excuse for cheating on someone. I do think that cheating can be forgiven.

  2. As a divorce attorney, I found this post to be very interesting and accurate! Great job with your nice blog!