Rethinking Infidelity

Recently, I stumbled upon a fascinating #TEDTalk entitled, ‘Rethinking Infidelity.’ It sparked a lot of different thoughts for me about the idea of cheating, and all of my preconceived notions about cheating. Now, I can never lie to ya’ll. I’ve never been cheated on, but like everyone else, I have my thoughts on what I would do if that were to ever happen. However, none of us can predict how we will react unless we’re in the situations ourselves. But I have to say, my mind has been opened and I started to rethink my own ideas on the unfaithful.

The #TEDtalk was done by a relationship therapist named Esther Perel. She’s been working with couples for the past 10years, and really knows her shit. She goes into depth about why people cheat, the motives behind it, and how to work past it. I know most of us assume that cheating is the end of the relationship, but she shared that plenty of married couples that she’s worked with, want to repair the relationship, not necessarily call it quits.

So why do people cheat? According to Esther, someone may be unfaithful in their relationship because they are searching for a part of them that they feel they lost in their current relationship. An example would be, maybe you used to be very spontaneous or adventurous in your relationship. Somewhere along the way, that part of you got lost, and you found that in someone else. She also talks about infidelity being about  desire more than anything else. Not necessarily just the physical desire, but the desire to feel what they used to feel with their current partner. This explanation in no way excuses the behavior, but offers some insight.

She also said something that really stayed with me. ‘The victim of the infidelity is not always the victim in the marriage.’ I thought this was fascinating. Everyone likes to assume when they hear tales of cheating, that the victim is innocent of any wrongdoing. I don’t necessarily think that. I think that there are always signs that the relationship is going south. It’s usually little things, masking a bigger problem, but either the parties involved do not want to acknowledge that something is wrong, or they are in denial that anything has changed. Again, this doesn’t make cheating okay. Rather, it is a culmination of the buildup of underlying issues. The topic of cheating always ruffles some feathers and it’s a very interesting topic to discuss amongst genders. I have found that women tend to blame males if they are the cheaters in the relationship, without discussing the flipside. As if men are the only people who cheat! Women cheat too, we’re just better at hiding it. Part of the reason the problem exists, is because both genders can’t have an honest conversation about infidelity.

Esther goes on to talk about moving past the infidelity, and using it as an opportunity for growth and insight. Working through the behavioral may bring a new level of intimacy and trust in the relationship, renew sexual desires, as well as rekindle a dead or dying relationship. She states that it does not necessarily mean the end of the relationship. I think, in the conversations I’ve had with both sexes, it’s hard to imagine staying with someone who was unfaithful to you. However, as I said before, NONE of us know what we would do if we were married and this happened. Your mind and heart should be open to deal with any trials and tribulations that may or may not occur in your marriage.

I could write several posts on this topic, because this #TEDtalk was that damn good. But I don’t wanna spoil it for you guys. I highly suggest taking 20 minutes out of your day to take a listen, leave a comment on this post on your thoughts. Peace and Love.

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