It’s almost impossible to get a totally clear picture of what’s going on it terms of fidelity in relationships today. Surveys over recent years show that men are more likely to have an affair than women, but this may just mean that men are more likely to admit to being unfaithful in surveys.
Thanks to the advent of social media, we’re also having to rethink what infidelity actually means. Are we talking about full blown sexual trysts, or just deep emotional connections created through emails and texts with old flames or new people we may never actually meet?
We’re also having to revise what affairs actually mean in terms of an existing relationship. Gone are the days when it was generally agreed that an affair was a clear sign that something is wrong in an existing relationship as many therapists and psychologists are now talking about it being possible for us to have a genuine bond with more than one person. Along with that, affairs don’t automatically spell the end of an existing relationship.
Overall, what we might say is that current research reveals that monogamy is not actually the norm, and many people in long term relationships will at some point find themselves either dealing with the discovery that their partner is being or has been unfaithful, or find themselves drawn into outside relationships or thinking of having an affair.
When people are in a relationship they form a sort of alchemy, a unique blend of both energies. When a third person is thrown into the mix it becomes a different alchemy and things will never be the same again. Sometimes it creates endings other times it can create deeper bonds. All relationships are different. If a partner has an affair it can be incredibly painful and only you can answer the question ‘can my relationship survive’?
From a spiritual perspective, here are some things to consider.
1/In terms of fidelity, we can only decide what’s right for us and share that honestly from our hearts. We might have very different ideas from our partner about what fidelity means. If that’s the case, we have to tackle very difficult decisions about how far we are truly able to meet them half way without compromising on what is important to us and where being with someone might cause us or them too much pain.
2/We can’t take what anyone else does personally. Sometimes if a partner strays it wakes us up to realising that we have allowed our unique selves to be lost in the roles that we play and the demands of our busy lives. That’s not something we should then punish ourselves for. Rather we can choose to step back into our power. And along with that, it’s really important that we don’t allow ourselves to fall into self hatred or negatively comparing ourselves to anyone else if we discover our partners have strayed. It isn’t a comment on our worth.
3/If we discover that our partners have been unfaithful and decide to carry on, we have to be able to truly forgive and forget. It can be difficult and painful, but suspicion or anger adds a huge psychic burden. Again, it’s something we have to be painfully honest about whether we are actually able to do it – for our own sake.
4/We have to create our own path through what can be a hugely traumatic discovery to our own psychic well being once more. No one can tell us exactly how to do it or how long it should take. We might be able to shake it off really easily. We might need months of talking things through (counselling can help) and being kind to ourselves as we go through all sorts of emotions, from grief to anger.
5/Relationships can survive and thrive after affairs. But only if there is a true and mutual commitment to the relationship itself, and an honest ability to embrace the spiritual lessons that the affair may have brought. What we should never allow an affair to do is feel forced to accept less than what we are worth; what effectively adds up to half a partner rather than no partner at all.
Loads of love,
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