I can hear you scream, “Why is this happening to me?”
It’s surprising how many affairs are going on in today’s marriages. If your spouse isn’t outwardly cheating on you, then maybe he’s fantasizing about it.
Or you are creating the kind of marriage where cheating can take place.
I don’t want to suggest that we do these things consciously. But we do them in a number of ways. And here’s why.
You are frustrated at home with one of your kids. You are stressed out at work and do not feel appreciated.
You feel like you can’t keep up and no one offers to help you. You feel fat and unattractive. You’re tired and unacknowledged.
The list goes on – and this is how the “Cheater” shows up. You start looking outside of your crazy life for something to help you feel better.
You take yourself shopping. You go to happy hour with some co-workers. You get a bit too flirtatious at the networking meeting.
Our frustration and overwhelm turn into a fantasy about how life would be better if it was “this way” or “that way”.
It is a natural human response to look for happiness outside of ourselves. We long for comfort and compassion and no one at home seems to notice. We may even feel “erased” by our partner’s lack of awareness.
And it doesn’t occur to us to comfort ourselves, because culturally we are taught to “medicate” our discomfort.
So it’s no surprise that comfort comes in the form of a dependence on something external, like alcohol or food or work or shopping or sex. Or even drama. We rarely communicate our feelings without a lot of drama and finger pointing.
Just look at how many “white lies” you tell yourself everyday. Let’s say you tell yourself that this week you are going to eat healthy food for every meal.
You start with a great breakfast and are feeling really empowered. You get a perfect salad and small protein for lunch. Yippee, you are doing great. By dinner, you are rushed, you don’t have enough time, you are tired, so you pull in the fast food line for a quick cola or maybe some fries.
And you tell yourself some excuse, some little “white lie” and you decide you can try again tomorrow. We let ourselves off the hook all the time. This is the fertilizer in which betrayal and affairs can sprout.
And interestingly enough, they often do.
Getting back to a life you love after divorce, a life where there is no room for lies is a journey of the heart. A journey of self-honoring, self-acceptance and no judgment. Are you ready to take this trip?
Theresa Thompson is an author, speaker, divorce coach, entrepreneur, and mother.