Infidelity is a tremendously painful thing, both for the person who was betrayed, and also for the person who cheated. Understandably, infidelity can be a catalyst for one or both partners to end the relationship, though sometimes it can be a catalyst for them to grow and embrace a more authentic relationship. Either way, it's important to be honest and present with any pain that arises when one or both partners cheat, as it presents an invitation for transparency, introspection and profound self-healing.
So whether you cheated or were cheated on, and whether you are planning to stay in the relationship or leave, here are three steps to support you in your process of healing.
1. Practice radical honesty.
Ask yourself, How honest am I about expressing my true feelings? Do I listen and honor what I feel? Commit to being as honest as humanly possible with yourself. When we are betrayed or betray, it is a sign we are not being honest with ourselves and others. Ask yourself if you are willing and able to forgive yourself and your partner for the past.
This step is tough, as there are so many assumptions around cheating that may feel impossible to ignore, and likely to dictate our reactions. But the more we ignore our internal truth, the more we "cheat ourselves."
2. Listen to your bodily sensations and align with your intuitive guidance.
Honor what you feel, because this is your Truth, not an invitation to second-guess yourself. When we try to get the answers from our intellect, we often feel confused and unsure. When we trust our heart and gut feelings, we gain a more accurate assessment of what is aligned with our soul’s purpose and intuition.
One way to connect is to place our hands over our heart and gut areas and notice the sensations. We can literally ask our bodies to answer a given question and wait to notice the feeling of a “yes or no” answer. For example, Do I wish to say "yes" to staying with my my boyfriend even though he cheated on me in this particular situation? Wait and notice what feeling overtakes you. Is it an intuitive feeling of “yes," or a feeling of “no” for that particular question?
When we say “yes” to things that we truly wish to take part in, we feel more powerful, uplifted, lighter, passionate, joyful, happy and energized. When we do things that we don't truly desire, we feel disempowered, weak, resentful, tired, heavy. The list of negative feelings goes on. But don't let it.
3. Accept and forgive the past.
Looking at the instance of betrayal as an opportunity for learning is a game-changer. This attitude will support transformation and growth in your process of healing, rather than allowing you to play a victim’s role. And regardless of whether you stay together or separate from the person who betrays you, self-forgiveness is the priority.
Forgiveness plays a key role in healing from betrayal and learning to trust again. We may wonder, How did I not see this coming? What is wrong with me? How could she or he do such a thing? How could I do such a thing? But ultimately, these questions instill self-blame, and don't support growth. Instead, in the vein of getting radically honest, ask yourself what you can learn from the pain.
You did not do anything wrong to "deserve" the pain you may be feeling, no matter what position you are in. So take this opportunity as a real gift to begin or continue cultivating the art of being loyal to yourself. Because if you learn never to betray yourself, you will never attract and allow others to betray you.