Have you ever been cheated on by someone you loved and trusted? Have you ever cheated on someone you say you love and trust? Are you unsure of how cheating is defined? Well, keep reading because I have some realizations to share with you.
Most of you who read my blogs can expect to see career advice, health and fitness tips, or to join the 131 Movement. I am by no means an expert on relationships, but I'm the expert in what has happened in my life. As someone who studies communication, connection, and influence I know that whether you are struggling in a romantic relationship, business relationship, or even a friendship, all relationships thrive on effective communication. Most of my articles are focused on careers and health, but I have recently learned a few lessons from relationships in my life that I feel compelled to share.
For many of you reading this who know me personally, I'm sure that you'll learn some things that you've never known. We have all been hurt by people in our lives and some of us choose to be malicious and seek revenge. Some of us choose to be silent (me, then). Some of us choose to hurt other people unintentionally. And some of us choose to share our lessons learned (me, now).
Cheating Isn't Just Physical...
I've had my fair share of failed relationships and I'm pretty sure that cheating was involved in many, if not all of them in some form. Hence, ya girl isn't married and isn't even close to being married. I've realized that cheating isn’t just physical. As Bridgett Michele Lawrence stated in her article on Match.com, cheating is a common problem in many relationships. When one partner discovers that the other is cheating, there are heart-wrenching emotional effects. Unfortunately, cheating cannot always simply be defined as having sex with someone outside of your relationship.
That Time I Got Caught Being Messy...
In one of my first 'serious' relationships, I was with a man who adored me, loved me, and did so much to show how much he appreciated me. The problem- I was not sexually satisfied. Rather than talking to him about it, I began talking to a man that I was friends with for years before and had inappropriate conversations with him. We never actually had a physical encounter, but you would have cringed at some of the explicit messages we were exchanging with one another. I'll never forget the day that my boyfriend woke me up with my phone in my face, showing me the messages he read, asking me who this person was, and why I was talking to him. I was mortified and immediately broke down. I apologized over and over for what I did because I knew it was wrong, but I wasn't mature in how I handled my unhappiness. I told him that it didn't mean anything, but I knew that if I flipped the coin, I wouldn't have been OK with him doing those things behind my back. In his eyes- I cheated on him. And, I did. I had inappropriate conversations with someone that I shouldn't have ever had since I was in a committed relationship. From that day forward, I swore to myself that I wouldn't ever make that mistake again. I vowed to have the uncomfortable conversations because the pain I caused him was completely unnecessary and heartbreaking because of my selfish behavior.
That Time I Was Pursued By a Married Man...
Years ago, I met a man who lied to me about his situation and I later found out that he was married and had not even begun the divorce process. When we met, he never once mentioned that he was married and he was living a double life. When I found out, I felt sick. I asked this man "why didn't you ever tell me you were married?", aside from the obvious fact that he just wanted someone else, the excuses started to pour out. He began telling me things like, "we are pretty much over, we haven't had sex in years, she's a bitch, she doesn't respect me, she doesn't appreciate me, we aren't happy, she doesn't care about me, I deserve better." I am willing to bet that what he told me were things he hadn't ever expressed to his wife. Things didn't end well, and he eventually tried to blame me for his divorce. Yes. I somehow became part of his reason for his divorce. Maybe I motivated him to get a divorce because he realized that he could be happy without her, but I'm in no way taking ownership for that. I wouldn't have ever begun a serious relationship with someone married because if he was willing to do that to her, imagine what he would do to me. If it doesn't start well, it will likely not end well. The audacity cheaters have to blame others for their poor behavior just blows my mind.
Cheating Begins with A Conversation (including ones that aren't happening)...
In recent years, I've had my fair share of married men, and men in committed relationships, reaching out to me trying to pursue me. So many of my girlfriends have also shared their experience with this and I feel that it's happening now more than ever because of social media. It's easy to ignore our issues and distract ourselves with other people who may be able to fill a void we are unwilling to share with the person we are with because we just don't want to have that uncomfortable conversation. When a married or "committed" man reaches out to me to initiate inappropriate conversations, I get sick to my stomach because I know what their motive is. I've been there! They are distracting themselves and avoiding that uncomfortable conversation with their woman.
Why are people so afraid to have that conversation with their partner? Why is it easier to distract themselves by engaging with others outside of the relationship? My opinion- they're immature, insecure, and not fully ready to commit to a relationship in the way they should. The man who divulged all of his unhappiness to me was not playing fair. It never is when someone isn't 100% single. It's unfair to involve others who aren't in the relationship because they are only getting one side of the story, and in some cases - they become the scapegoat.
The Way to Move Forward...
Don't engage! Don't engage! Don't engage! Did you hear me? Cheaters tell us all kinds of things to make us feel sorry for them, to justify their behavior, and because I've done this in the past- I don't buy it for a second. Sadly, there are people who enable this behavior and begin to entertain and engage in inappropriate conversations, rather than shut them down. To me, these exchanges are worse than a physical encounter because the man has actually taken time to emotionally and mentally connect. It all begins with a conversation.
If you're someone whose cheated, currently cheating, or considering it- I sure hope that I struck a chord here. No one deserves to be cheated on because of selfish decisions their partner makes. If you've been cheated on, I am really sorry that you've had to go through it and I want you to know that despite whatever your cheating partner says, it is NOT your fault. They're just not emotionally mature enough to do what's right and have the conversation.
Now, I'd love to hear from you. Please feel free to share your thoughts below directly in the comments. I'm always open to a good conversation.
Brittanni Below, MBA is a coach, speaker, and trainer based in Houston, TX that provides services to help fierce and self-driven women to live a more balanced, healthy, and more fulfilling life. By fully understanding your unique talents and gifts and what is distracting you from being successful, Brittanni helps you transform fear, lack of confidence, and life challenges, into lessons that push you to crush the goals that you've set for yourself. If you're interested in business or career coaching, book your FREE coaching session with Brittanni here.