Look at the base of these two trees. They are very different trees interlocked at the base. These trees are located in my town where I frequently go for a walk. They always remind me of a married couple. They are individual trees so different, yet growing together somehow.
Were you caught having an affair? Then, you are busted! Having been on the other side of that table I know how I reacted when it happened to me, but how the cheater reacts is what many people never consider. Do they have feelings of remorse? Do they feel shame or regret? Do those of us who were cheated on deserve to know the reasons why? I think so.
Maybe you were bored. Perhaps you wanted validation from some long seeded lack of self-esteem. Maybe you assumed you would never get caught. Was it that your partner did not understand your sexual needs? Possibly you were feeling old and this younger person sparked a memory of younger days. The reasons (excuses) are many.
If you have wronged your partner, fess up! Be honest and tell no more lies. Determine if your real relationship is more important than the affair and get busy making things right. Put your big girl panties on or big boy pants on and get to work. It won’t be easy.
The most important decision you will both make is whether to work it out or go your separate ways. I have seen some relationships come back together when only one of them wanted to reconcile, but the most successful couples I have worked with admit that both of them had at least some desire to want to work towards a stronger marriage. When only one partner wants to work on the relationship, it can feel like kicking a dead horse until the other one comes around.
No matter what situation you find yourself in, the cheater must understand why he or she crossed the line.
Did you two think of setting boundaries at the start of the marriage?
You see, some partners have the opinion that “I don’t care where you get your appetite, as long as you eat at home” so flirting, porn, internet contact etc… may be acceptable.
But, in other marriages just looking at the opposite sex feels like cheating.
In the Bible, the book of Matthew 5:28 talks about lusting for another is considered cheating. So for some, having coffee or lunch alone with a co-worker of the opposite sex may feel inappropriate. It is all about boundaries you two should have set in the beginning. If you did not, now is as good of a time as any.
If you want true transparency, integrity, and honesty with your spouse, begin today to break off the affair and share your newfound solidarity and loyalty to your other half. Start with a sincere apology. Begin to rebuild trust, even if that means sharing passwords on all of your social media sites. I know of couples that share the same Facebook page and have nothing to hide from each other.
Remember that cheating not only ruins marriages but also sends a message to the future generations that cheating is ok or even expected. Many millennials are not even bothering to get married because they assume it may end in divorce anyway. I am saddened by the people that tell me this.
Some see marriage as a contract and not a covenant. A contract is an agreement enforceable by law where a covenant is a promise; a perpetual promise. Big difference. I elaborate more on that during the free, twenty-minute call I always promise couples in distress.
Have you asked yourself what kind of legacy you want to leave before satisfying a feeling, a connection, or an urge with someone outside of the relationship? Suddenly, that temptation to eat of forbidden fruit seems to pale when compared to how you want to be remembered when you transition from this earthly body. I love the words “loyal”, “dedicated”, “trusting”, and “true.” I hope these are the words spoken about me when my time has come rather than “cheater”, “dishonest”, “not to be trusted” or worst of all “selfish.”
Dare to be different. Boldly step into making things right and loving and honoring the commitment you made at the altar, or the courthouse. In an affair, feelings were hurt. Trust was broken. It won’t be easy, but where there is an ounce of love left, you can make it worth it. I know. At the time of this writing, I am over nine years out from that horrendous day when I found my husband throwing his cell phone under the sheets after texting a woman he had no business getting involved with.
When we chose to reclaim the relationship and forgive each other for growing apart, we found an even bigger capacity for love and understanding. Words cannot even explain the joy we see as we look into each other’s eyes or the silly grins we give each other. The jokes we consider “inside jokes”, the reading of each other’s minds and the way we can finish a sentence for the other one is something I do not even remember prior to the affair.
Should you find yourself on either side of the infidelity equation, please know that there is hope. There is redemption. There is reconciliation.
Just look to the trees to see. Here is a picture of those same two trees taken from the ground, looking up. See how tall and lovely they grew together? Side by side, different and yet the same. Sharing different roots but the same fertile ground. That can be you as well. Let’s start the work now.