“She was unfaithful. I wonder if infidelity runs in the family …once upon a time, she mentioned that her mother cheated on her father.” John was talking to his hockey buddy over beer.
Hold your horses. Before we arrive at conclusions of this nature, we’d like to think that each individual is unique. Although offspring are born in the likeness of their parents, tossing infidelity into the gene pool is an erroneous way of justifying a partner’s unfaithfulness. “She’s just like her mother” won’t cut it. Besides, that’s an unfair statement.
A more fair approach would be to examine the relationship first.
- How much time and attention have you given her in the last 12 months? Are you spending more time in the office or on the golf course?
- How many times have you declined her invitations to go out for dinner, watch a movie, or drive out in the country?
- Are you less amorous now than you were during the courtship?
- Have you been physically or verbally abusive towards her?
- Are there money and health problems that both of you have not dealt with?
It could be that your girlfriend or wife percieves that even if you’re physically around, your mind is somewhere else. The lack of emotional involvement on your part is beginning to be apparent.
Some Possible Clues
If your significant other exhibits any of these signs, it is NOT proof that she is cheating on you. You may, however, pay more attention to what she says and does. She probably wants to play a little game to test if you’ve been attentive. What are some indications that your lady love might be cheating on you?
- She no longer insists on going out to dinner or going shopping with you. She’s learned to enjoy herself independently of your company;
- She’s always hated physical exercise, but she suddenly enrolled in the gym and is preoccupied with her diet and exercise routine;
- She’s buying sexy lingerie but not wearing them when she’s with you. And you see them neatly piled up on top of the dryer;
- She says she’ll be going for girls’ night – something she’s never done before – and is doing it more often;
- She’s not communicative; there are long silences between the two of you. She’s not her usual talkative self;
- She’s no longer interested in having sex with you;
- She’s given up on you in many respects. She no longer argues with you or tries to convince you to do anything. She’s always saying, “it’s up to you”, or “do whatever makes your happy.”
Should I Confront Her?
“Confront” sounds like a drastic option. If you have suspicions but zero proof, then perhaps the better way would be the diplomatic approach. Or you can change your ways a little and see if she reacts positively. You could try being the romantic lover again: candlelight dinners, surprise flowers and gifts, tender moments, and listening more and acknowledging her opinions. In other words, showing her you DO care. If these changes in strategy don’t work, chances are she has really given up on the relationship and marriage and is looking for someone else to replace you. The only reason she’s still around is she hasn’t found someone suitable. If she’s not reacting warmly to your advances, chances are your relationship is on its final leg.
If, on the other hand, you have proof of her infidelity, then yes, do confront her, but not in an angry manner. Don’t let your hurt emotions get the better of you. Wait a few days, regain your composure and ask to speak to her. After you’ve confronted her, these are the possible outcomes:
- She’ll apologise and explain why she strayed and will express a desire to start all over again,
- She’ll resent the fact that you’ve been playing detective behind her back and wants OUT of the relationship. The main issue is, she no longer loves you,
- In spite of her infidelity, you still love her and you see a glimmer of hope in salvaging the relationship,
- You feel she betrayed your trust and cannot continue in the relationship, feeling that she may be unfaithful again.
Every relationship is worth something. The emotional investment is too profound to ignore. But there are certain situations in life when it’s better for both man and woman to cut clean, acknowledge their losses and start new relationships. When one partner feels that the relationship has died a natural death, then he or she must try to find happiness again – although not too soon. People need to recover from hurt and disappointment. The recovery may take longer, it really depends on a person’s degree of resiliency.
Life itself is a gamble. Relationships are even more of a gamble. Some people are willing to work at their relationships out of genuine love for the other, but in some extreme circumstances, even love cannot cure all ills. That saying about faith moving mountains is a tad too idealistic. Love isn’t always the answer. If you want to save your dignity (and sanity), you may be better off walking out of the relationship.
Ben Dominitiz, in How to Find the Love of Your Life (Prima Publishing, California) says that “Anyone who embarks on the search for his or her ideal mate risks disappointment. There’s no escaping it. Whenever we attempt a new relationship, we face the possibility of failure. Once a love affair or a marriage dies, feelings of pain and rejection surface. We blame ourselves for this ‘failure’ even as we blame the other person…Thus, when an opportunity for a new relationship arises, instead of openness and enthusiasm, we become ambivalent and timid, reluctant to try again.”
A friend who has had one failed marriage and a few erratic relationships decided that her own life is her # 1 priority now. “I like the present arrangement. We see each other as often as we can but none of us puts pressure on the other. I live in my own house and he does in his. We don’t share anything. We take turns to cook dinner, but any discussion of a permanent relationship or living together is out of the question. And if he’s ever unfaithful, the relationship will just come to an end.”
Two Types of Cheating
In our mind, there are two types of cheating: the sexual and emotional. The cheating partner will justify an act of infidelity many ways:
- Not enough sex in the relationship
- Partner is distant and cold
- Relationship is too stressful
It’s more difficult to prove emotional infidelity because our partners will not always reveal what goes on in the office or on a business trip. Emotional infidelity could be a simple but harmless act of flirting, but to some it still is infidelity even if the sex act is not involved. Women and men view cheating differently. Studies have consistently shown that women will tolerate emotional infidelity less, while men would tolerate sexual infidelity less. How each partner would deal with the infidelity is closely related to one’s principles, sense of values, and the stakes involved in the relationship.