She Takes A Peep: Infidelity and Trauma
This week, Chiamaka discusses the complexities that sometimes accompany cheating, the trauma unfaithful partners can cause and more.
Coming to terms with the fact that you have been cheated on is oftentimes a very hard pill to swallow. It brings a lot of things into question: your wit, confidence, desirability amongst several other things. Most importantly, you want to know who exactly is responsible. Naturally, we might tend to blame ourselves, battling intense feelings of insecurity and inadequacy. We can also blame the unfaithful partner, but in my experience, I’ve found that many people find it much easier to pin the blame on the person who your partner has cheated with. If the said person is not one of those funny or weird people who feel special when someone cheats with them (trust me there are people like that out there), they are most likely blaming themselves too. Unfortunately, everybody else does even more contemplating than the, permit me to use the word, ‘culprit’ (the unfaithful partner in this case).
I have been cheated with and every time it has happened, it was largely prompted by the culprit. I know you’re probably rolling your eyes or judging me but hear me out. People who have committed partners have severally pursued me, knowing full well they are in exclusive relationships, and then after building a solid rapport, will reveal that they are in relationships as some sort of checkmate to ensure that I keep my feelings at bay and mentally compute that they see me as nothing more than a ‘jump-off’. Unfortunately, emotions do not work like that. Usually, by the time I am made aware that they are in relationships, I am already too far gone and unwilling to put an end to the freight train fast heading south.
Personally, I think we all need to agree that people who cheat are simply too cowardly to admit what their innermost desires actually are. Whether they are cheating with one or multiple people, their partners tend to believe they are unhappy in their current relationships and are trying to seek some escape outside. However, this does not tally with the many experiences I’ve had. More often than not, unfaithful partners are not willing to leave their relationships. They cling on to their relationships while feeding their ‘side-dishes’ the lie that they have mentally checked out from their other relationship. In most cases, when there are caught, they tend to beg their partners for forgiveness. This is because, at the end of the day, they are comfortable in the familiarity of their relationships and want someone to fall back on when things inevitably become sour outside of their relationship.
Asides from comfort in the familiar, many cheats gain way too much from having multiple relationships and forming several bonds. They gain the ego trip from knowing that they have a secret fling, are able to hide it successfully from their partners and all the other perks (emotional bonding, sexual connection) etc. Then, they also gain the love, devotion and emotional support of their solid relationships. All in all, there is almost no downside to this setup for the culprits, which is why they make no hesitancy to enter into relationships and then cheat continuously.
These ‘gains’, whether you chose to view them that way or not, are why I believe cheats, in most cases, deserve no sympathy. Since they are trying to eat their cake and have it, affected parties should also ensure that they are constantly seeking their best interest. Disregard all thoughts of the person leaving their current partner for you, it mostly never happens. If they hated their relationship so badly, they would leave, just how easily they would move on from you if their partner found out about their philandering ways.
My advice: make sure to get all you need as well, be it in money, sexual pleasure or whatever you're in the relationship for. Ask them to quit discussing their relationships and making themselves emotionally dependent on you. This only applies if the person in the relationship is the initiator and pursuer. As for those of you chasing after them, that’s a different conversation entirely. Speaking from a personal experience, nothing good will come out of it and you will only look incredibly stupid in the end.
On the other hand, the person being cheated on should absolutely protect their self to the best of their ability. Unfortunately, they are very much out of the loop until they eventually catch their philandering partner. It is safe to say that they now have the most to lose in the entire situation. While it may be easy to go ahead hating the person who your partner cheated with, try to redirect such energy to your partner instead. This only applies as long as the person is not a close friend or sibling nor did they smile in your face during your relationship. As for the infidelity lovers who make several people question their worth and cause confusion everywhere they step their leg in, what’s that adage again about ripping what you sow?