“Its our imagination that’s responsible for love, not the other person” Proust.
In the past, if someone was caught cheating and having an affair, the automatic assumption was that there must be something wrong with the relationship and the betrayed partner – after all it is the ultimate betrayal. According to leading relationship expert Esther Perel, that is now no longer the case. Today, in the digital age, the definition of betrayal takes on many guises, watching porn, sexting, the flirtatious “whats app”, suggestive photos and snap chats and the list goes on. Perel lists three components that define an affair:
– a secretive relationship
– emotional connection
– sexual alchemy.
Once an affair has been discovered the partner who has been betrayed becomes robbed of their sense of self.The affair informs them that they are not who they were and their partner is not the person who once was.The discovery of an affair becomes an identity crisis of two people, a relationship and the family involved.
Perel states that an affair is not necessarily the end of a relationship, it can be a new beginning. Perel argues that passion has a finite shelf life and the reason why many happy people cheat is that they are not turning away from their partner, but they are turning away from the person they have become.The need is not about sex but about re connecting with something they have lost within themselves. Many who cheat are propelled to cross a line because they are reassessing their lives and searching for something that they have lost from the past.
Infidelity is not necessarily the end of a relationship. In the past divorce was what carried shame, now the new shame is staying with the partner who committed the act of betrayal.The temptation is to tell the betrayed spouse to leave…
Therapy and open conversation can turn a trauma into a new opportunity where not only the partner who committed the act of betrayal has a voice but the betrayed can also state what was missing for them.
Betrayal takes on many forms such as learning that your partner is gay, neglect, violence,living a fraudulent life …..it is all the same manifestation of an identity crisis for the betrayed that leaves them asking the question “Who is the real you?”………