This is for those who have cheated. For those who have gotten lost in the torrent of a passionate affair. Who have struggled with the magnitude of this connection and the pain it has or can cause. Who have wrestled with the guilt and shame and lack of understanding around why. Why did we cheat? Why did we let it continue? Why weren't we happy in our current partnership? Why do we feel incapable of taking the steps needed to change our situation?
M’love, you are not alone. And nor should you rip yourself apart. Affairs are not just acts committed by callous individuals. In fact most instances of cheating are not predicated on habitual deviant behavior but bred from a lack of self exploration and needs that are not being met. Affairs are containers for our growth.
Cheating is what I call a relational expander. Expanders are those people and situations that arrive to teach us. They awaken aspects of the self and serve as a giant spot light for the areas we need to strengthen or work on. They also help us dial in to the changes we need to make.
Many of my clients are women who have had affairs after years of tolerating a toxic relationship with their needs being woefully neglected. It's easy to say “well she should/could have left” but truthfully this is a statement rooted in personal bias and judgement and one that does not take into account the reality of the situation that many live daily.
This I know all too well.
When I met my now husband I was still with my son’s father. My partner and I had a relationship that was toxic and filled with abuse in its various forms and that existed merely out of habit and obligation.
I knew, on a rational level, that I could leave but trying to fit all the puzzle pieces together of how seemed utterly impossible. How would I support my 2 year old son with a business I had just started and while also balancing my college courses? How would I find a place to live much less find the money needed to pay for it? How would I be able to seek my degree, build my business and be a present and proper mother? These questions were paralyzing.
Emotionally I was afraid. I had been subjected to emotional and mental abuse in my relationship as well as had relational models that told me I was just supposed to just deal with it. I didn't trust my judgement and I suffered from horribly low self confidence making a bold move like leaving my relationship of 8 years with a young one in tow, seem absolutely impossible.
What I went through is an all to real and frequent reality for many. What I have learned through my personal as well as professional experience guiding women through their own affairs is that by examining the spiritual context of an affair we can step into the container of personal growth and expansion that's very much needed and even and perhaps ironically, heal our marriage or relationship with our significant other if that is our wish.
Here is how. Examine the following.
What does your affair and the person you are having an affair with make you feel? Respected? Confident? Desired? Whatever these feeling are and there are likely many, these are the areas that you are asked to dive deep into. These are the very qualities that you need right now. But most importantly these are the areas you need to do the very deep and very personal work within. There is medicine in how our affair makes us feel and these emotions creates awareness around what we’ve been lacking and needing in our lives. Areas that promote our wellbeing and sense of being fully alive and that when lacking create fractures that diminishes our presence.
What are the motives behind the affair? Do you just want to feel good? Have you fallen in love? Have you fallen out of love Do you feel the need to create drama because you are feeling bored and stagnant in your daily life? Do you seek attention? Do you have needs being unmet? This step requires some pretty bold and brave honestly. A type of honesty too few of us are truly capable of without the ego trying to shade the truth. This is why I suggest examining this aspect with a trusted friend, coach or therapist. Someone who will keep you accountable and encourage you to dig deeper.
The why is relevant because it turns the spotlight on actions we can take that will constructively bring this essence into our life. Once we know what we are getting from the affair we know the path towards providing this for ourselves. The why clues us in to the deeper context around why this relationship has formed in our life. And yes, sometimes that meaning is love. My relationship with my husband is an excellent example of this. Though the context we met didn't exactly fit either of our ideals it nonetheless happened precisely as it was intended.
Do you stay or do you go? Do you come clean or do you not? Is your affair evolving into more? The information we learn about our affair and what it brings to the surface creates the capacity for massive growth and personal evolution. It also informs the actions we take or dont take. In some cases, such as my own, my affair taught me how to move beyond my unhealthy relationship. It was exactly the catalyst that I needed to do the work on myself. In fact it was how I met and married my life partner and the same could be true for you.
But not all affairs are brought to our life to introduce us to our life partner. Sometimes the other person is merely an expander of the areas and ways in which we must grow. Growth that may take us beyond our current relationship or it may help us to become the person who we need to be in order to work with our present partner to heal and rebuild the relationship. An affair does not necessarily have to break a relationship. In fact sometimes it's exactly what makes the relationship stronger by creating the container for growth needed within you both thereby strengthening the connection as a whole.
While the pain that is present on all sides of a triangular relationship are entirely valid we must create the spaciousness to see both sides of the coin. Seeing affairs as merely mistakes or behavior of bad, deviant or somehow morally bankrupt individuals is a narrow and outdated perception. A perception rooted in resentment, shame and pain and one which does not serve any one.
Spiritually, affairs are more than just the breaking of oaths made. They are incubators for learning and self discovery and often arrive after we have failed, for whatever reason justified or not, to do the work of our own accord. This of course means they are avoidable, by doing the all too important work before things reach critical mass. Alas, there are many instances where events that take place within our lives are part of a greater plan than we may realize. By taking a birds eye view we can see beyond the wall of emotion and take in the medicine we are meant to receive by our affair.
The power of these steps resides in the realization that this person and the affair we are having with them, were put on our path to expand us. To show us where we needed strengthening and what needed our attention. By examining affairs in this way we take back the power over our growth and our lives. We rise from the shame of our affair and the pain it has caused to see them as containers for our personal growth. Growth that informs the rest of our life and that can help us to become the person we are meant to be.
If you need help with examining your affair and understanding the medicine within lets meet for an Intuitive Medicine session. Together we can unravel the complicated feelings to reveal the medicine and purpose. In so doing we can help you process and take the steps needed to integrate this information, all of which helps to inform your next move.