Infidelity can be simply defined as breaking a contract between partners in an intimate relationship. Not so simply put is the ripple effect it leaves behind. Each ripple brings its own impact: doubt, anger, sadness, loss, regret, maybe even relief; but at the center there is trust. This is the very foundation relationships are built on.
When a contract is broken by an unfaithful act, the least of the damage done is the act itself. It is the lack of trust from one partner to another; furthermore the lack of trust one has in them self. When this happens core beliefs are shaken. It is through the trust we hold in ourselves, that intuition, that tells us what the “right” decisions are to make daily. For example, “Do not touch the hot pot;” “Look both ways before crossing the street;” “Of course they love you.” This trusted intuition provides safety. When we lose trust; we lose intuition; which ultimately takes away our safety. This domino effect can make us feel lost and raw, like our nerve endings are exposed and leaving us vulnerable.
So what do we do next? Do we pick up the pieces and move on? What does that even look like? Only you can answer this, but the Counseling Center for Sexual Health can help.
For the individual that was unfaithful, there are most likely patterns of this behavior throughout their past. Perhaps it is not infidelity, but traces of abandonment; a need to sabotage relationships; fear of intimacy; etc.
For the partner that learned of the infidelity, they too most likely have a pattern of this behavior in their past. Again, it may not be through a history of intimate partners cheating, but instead patterns of: denial; rescuing people “in need;” trying to change someone; putting themselves in relationships doomed for failure; the forever nurturer; etc.
After both parties are aware of the violation, it really boils down to two basic paths. Path one, the relationship ends and both parties go their separate ways. Path two, both parties agree to stay and work on their relationship. Either way, intensive work is to follow and we at the Counseling Center for Sexual Health can help determine what that looks like with you.