Infidelity is best handled by prevention, not intervention. Many of us never think of discussing boundaries with our partner before they are broken. We may believe by discussing it we will be more likely to experience infidelity in our relationship.
A discussion on infidelity can also be emotionally charged. We may never make it past the threats of, “If you ever cheat on me I’m gone.” Though this may be true, your partner may translate it to mean if they experience attraction to another they should keep it secret out of fear of losing you. This serves only to increase the strength of the coalition between you partner and the third person.
Focus on Emotions not Consequences
Infidelity is a betrayal. We may feel a rollercoaster of anger, fear, disgust, hatred, jealousy, sadness, loss, and any more. It is this desire to protect ourselves from the pain that can contribute to hostility filled conversations on infidelity full of threats and consequences. These can create a dynamic of opposition between you and your partner. This is not where you want to be.
We want to cultivate connection and empathy in our conversations. We accomplish this by discussing how we might feel if infidelity ever occurred.
- “I don’t know if I could ever trust you again.”
- “I would probably feel like I failed as a partner. If I was only sexier, more attractive, in better shape,… this may not have happened.”
- “I would second guess whether or not you love me at all.”
- “I would feel stuck in the middle between leaving you to escape the hurt and hurting our children by not having their father/mother around.”
- “I may even question everything that happened in our entire relationship.”
By cultivating empathy and understanding we create a partnership with our significant other. We can then view infidelity as something to confront together.