In the beginning of most relationships a tremendous amount of time is spent laying a foundation of love and fidelity. When a significant other cheats and gets caught, it wreaks havoc in the relationship and inevitably compromises the sacred bond of trust. After infidelity is exposed, many couples grapple with a myriad of questions such as: “Can I ever trust this individual again?”; “Why did this person cheat?”; “Who is this other man/ woman?” etc. The most pressing and often difficult question to answer is: “Can we still make this relationship work?”
Choosing to salvage a relationship after your significant other has committed an act of infidelity can be a painful task. I know from personal experience. After I found out that an old boyfriend cheated on me a few years back, I dealt with these same questions. Although I forgave him, our romance—like many other relationships that have experienced infidelity—did not survive. Instead of providing you with a long list of reasons why, I thought it best to give an illustration of how infidelity affects a relationship.
Before infidelity is exposed, a relationship is like a beautiful Waterford crystal vase that we adore—please note that Waterford crystal is the crème de la crème. We’re proud of our vase, so we make it a centerpiece in our living rooms so every visitor can behold its beauty. Unexpectedly, through an act of carelessness, your significant other bumps into the vase and sends it crashing to the floor, shattering it into one million pieces. The shattered vase is likened to the moment you find out that your lover has cheated. They are exposed. After you’ve cried over the broken vase, you begin to clean up the mess. Ever so carefully you pick up the big shards of glass and sweep or vacuum the surrounding areas. The clean-up is likened to your immediate reaction to the infidelity.
After some time has passed, you are walking around the house without slippers and you suddenly prick our foot on a tiny piece of glass. “How did this piece of glass get into the vestibule?” you ask yourself. Although you’ve “cleaned up” the big pieces of glass where the vase actually fell, you soon realize that you didn’t pick up all the other teeny weeny pieces that scattered into other areas of the house. As a result, you refuse to walk around the house without slippers or thick socks on until you’ve cleaned up every piece of glass. (After breaking a few vases myself, it seems as though you’re never able to pick up every single piece. Good luck with that!) This sense of uneasiness is likened unto the phase of the relationship when you’re trying to “pick up the pieces” and get back to “how it was”, but you’re constantly reminded of that act of infidelity. You’re constantly on guard, constantly on edge.
After infidelity has occurred in a relationship there are some truths you must realize and accept. Firstly, like the shattered Waterford crystal vase, the relationship will never be the same. The foundation of trust has been compromised and nearly destroyed. Face it, no amount of Krazy Glue can totally mend a shattered vase. Secondly, although you’ve picked up the “big pieces”- (he or she confessed and promised not to cheat again), trust issues, like the smaller shards of glass, will begin to surface quite naturally. Most people earnestly believe that they can live with the facts and put the past behind them (forgive and forget), but every now and then a little piece of glass called mistrust pricks their foot unexpectedly. Before they know it, they’re an insecure mess. They begin to question their lover’s every move: (Where have you been? Why didn’t you answer your cell phone? “Who is Kisha, did I ever meet her, why is she calling you all of a sudden?, etc.) . They don’t mean to be insecure, but they are. Their feelings of insecurity are totally warranted since they were thrust into this situation when their “boo” cheated—right?
On the other hand, the guilty party will have to endure these kinds of questions until the offended party feels as though they can trust them again. Sometimes, the guilty party grows weary of being constantly interrogated and decides to walk away from the relationship or return to their cheating ways (usually because that chick on the side doesn’t question them- the vicious cycle continues).
Unfortunately, if one is pricked enough times, trust issues can ultimately destroy the relationship completely. Worst of all, if not careful, one will carry these trust issues into their new relationship. How many times have you met someone who said: “You have to understand, I’ve been hurt in the past… I have major trust issues?”
We can never control what is done to us. We can only control how we react to situations and what we do to others. If you find yourself in this situation, weigh your options and decide if you can live with the past and trust your lover again. If not, you may have to move on. But most importantly, you can not allow your past experiences to limit your options in the future. A good person may come along who shouldn’t have to suffer for your ex’s past sins and neither should you. Find the courage to love and trust again. I dare you!
Remember, everything has beauty, including YOU. It just takes a true D.I.V.A to see it!
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