Should you cut the cheater loose?

To give you an idea of how I felt when I suspected something was going on with my husband, here’s an excerpt from my book: The Affair: From Breakdown to Breakthrough, A Therapist’s Real-Life Journey.

“Without thinking, I slammed my computer shut and ran downstairs to our bedroom.  “David,” I said barely able to dislodge his name from the giant lump that had formed in my throat, “wake up.”  I held my breath and watched  as he rolled over and struggled to open his eyes.  Giving him a moment, I then cut to the chase.  “I’ve read your mail,” I said feeling like a pile of bricks had just landed on my chest making it impossible for me to breathe.   And then out of my mouth came a question I never, ever thought I would have to ask:  “Is there someone else?”  And the unbelievable answer that came back was ‘yes.’

“Yes.  The word grabbed hold of my lungs and squeezed until there was no more air.  Yes. I couldn’t believe he had said yes.  Still no air.  But when oxygen finally did reach my lungs, I used it to fly into a rage.  I don’t even remember what I said.  What I do remember is feeling ferocious, and letting my fury fly.  Anatole, our gentle basset hound, asleep on his pillow beside our bed, woke up and began whimpering and walking around in circles.  I was aware of him, but it made no difference.  I couldn’t stop.  And remembering this scene, dear readers, which has refused to leave my brain even years later, makes my heart weep.  It’s unbelievable to me and so out of character that I could scare this beautiful, loving creature so much…and not even give a damn.”

When this happened, my first response was to “get the hell out!”   Understandable, don’t you think?  It’s really tempting to simply cut and run when you discover your partner has cheated.  I mean it’s shocking, humiliating, hurtful and all you want to do is preserve your ego and let the bastard/bitch go.  But in the long run, an impulsive decision just might haunt you down the line. And if you read further in my book, you will see that I did choose a different route.   I’m so glad that I did because a knee-jerk response  might have given temporary satisfaction to my poor bruised ego, but it wouldn’t have given me the insights and wisdom that I eventually gained from letting the process unfold over time.

Going through the “adventure” consciously—exploring myself, exploring our relationship, exploring my husband’s motivation—gave me valuable life lessons and today, my husband (now my ex) and I have a wonderful, loving trusting relationship. An upheaval such as this gives you an opportunity to reach a new level of living.  The greater the upheaval, the greater the opportunity.  When your heart is cracked wide open you have to choose: do I want to fill it with anger and bitterness?  Or do I want to fill it with love?   I chose love.  But that doesn’t mean I denied the other stuff: rage and ice cold razor blade fear, which led to blaming, threatening, sneaking…you name it.  But it was only through allowing all of it that I could get to the other side of it.  That was always my goal, and even though I didn’t always take the high road, I never lost sight of the goal.

What are you going to choose?  The easy, cut-and-run way?  Or the harder, more mindful, conscious way that will ultimately lead you to a deeper, more satisfying life with or without your ex?   It’s up to you!

Check out my book, The Affair: From Breakdown to Breakthrough, A Therapist’s Real-life Journey, to learn how my husband and I got through our crisis and made our bond ever stronger.  You can buy it on Kindle worldwide from all Amazon websites, including www.amazon.com

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