Infidelity happens in good and bad relationships.
This happens even in open relationships, when sex with other people is carefully negotiated beforehand. The freedom to leave or to divorce didn't end the act of cheating.
This act is not always related to marital problems. Yes, on many occasions, an affair makes up for an absence or creates an escape. Prolonged lack of sex, loneliness, arguments, routine... Many adulterers are motivated by all these problems.
There are also frequent offenders, narcissists who deceive simply because they can.
However, there are situations that challenge even therapists. People who say, "I love my wife/my husband. We're best friends and happy together" - and then they add: "but I'm having an affair." Many of these individuals were faithful for years, sometimes decades.
They seem to be well balanced, mature, affectionate and deeply invested in their relationship. Yet one day, they crossed a line they never thought they'd cross.
Why is that?
One of the most uncomfortable truths is that, what is cheating for one, can be transforming to the other. Extramarital adventures are painful and destabilizing, but they can also be liberating and empowering.
Understanding both sides is crucial for an independent couple - whether he/she chooses to end things or wants to stay together and rebuild the relationship. It can also be a form of self-discovery, a search for a new identity (or a lost identity). For these people, infidelity does not occur because of problems in the relationship, but probably by an experience that involves growth, development and transformation.
Sometimes when someone cheats, they are not moving away from their partner, but the person they have become. They are not looking for another lover, but for a new version of themselves. the most intoxicating in a case is not a new partner, it is a new self. cheating can also be triggered by a midlife crisis, a longing for a youth that has not been lived.
An affair brings a world of possibilities — an alternate reality in which they can reimagine and reinvent themselves. The excitement of the forbidden, the lack of responsibility, all this can be irresistible to some.
People often think what would have happened if they had made other choices. Where would they be? As adults, we often find ourselves confined by the paths we follow in life.
When you choose a partner, you commit to a story. Yet we remain curious forever: what other stories could we have been a part of? Affairs offer a view of these other lives, a story that could have happened.
After the discovery
The fact of knowing what motivated the betrayal does not ease the pain. That is why the dilemma is always there:
Does the relationship survive the pain of the revelation?
Could you go on after a lie?
There is no right or wrong answer.
It's impossible to predict what people do when they discover a partner's infidelity. Some relationships collapse after the discovery. Others present an astonishing ability to recover, even after a great deal of pain.
Happy people cheat, unfortunately, and most of the time, it's not our fault. To avoid future disagreements, talk to your partner from the beginning of the relationship. It is much better to talk about these awful questions before a storm hits the couple.
Talking about what concerns us, about our yearnings in an atmosphere of trust, can really help a relationship. Instead of just creating a picture of happiness, you will be surpassing the challenges in your relationship that will make you happy.
If you were betrayed, reflect whether it's worth forgiving or not. If you accept them back, will you be able to overcome the hurt and resentment?
Will you be able to be happy, even in the shadow of treason?
If the answer is positive, great! Go ahead and give your relationship a new chance.
Now, if you can't say for sure that you can get over it, you might want to step away for a while or break up for good. Many betrayals mark so deeply that we are only happy again when we move away from the person who makes us suffer.
Always do what is best for your life!