More than half of all men and women cheat in their relationships. So, who do you blame when it happens to you?
According to these recent infidelity statistics (http://www.statisticbrain.com/infidelity-statistics/), cheating is rampant! A whopping 57% of men and 54% of women admit to having had an affair. And 74% of men and 68% of women would cheat if they knew they would never get caught. 31% of these marriages actually survive this infidelity, but the remaining 69% are contributing to the high divorce rate in this country.
In my divorce coaching practice, I hear stories of betrayal all the time. And I’ve experienced it myself. The truth will always find a way to rise to the surface in a relationship. And when it does, it’s a punch to the gut that forces all the air out of your system. Everything turns upside down. And as soon as there is one lie in a relationship, then you question -- was anything really true? All of a sudden, there is rejection, self-doubt and deep, deep hurt in the space where there was once love and trust. And that is a fall that is difficult to recover from. I applaud that 31% who were able to do it. The rest of us are just left with trying to make sense of what the hell just happened.
So, Who Do We Blame?
Some of us internalize it. As girls, we are taught to absorb. We are taught to keep the unpleasant inside. We are taught that our role is to please others. We listen to our deepest inner critics telling us it was our fault. We deal with inner guilt around all the things we think we should have done in the relationship. We blame ourselves convinced that there was something that pushed him away. We listen to our inner critics telling us that we aren’t attractive or young enough; that we aren’t sexy, that we are unloveable.
Some of us blame the other woman. She was the cause of all this. She broke up your relationship. If only she hadn’t come on the scene, with her irresistible siren call and temptation, then the marriage would have been just fine. And we build her up in our minds. We attribute to her all the qualities we think we lack. She becomes everything we wish we were in our minds … but with conniving, evil intentions.
I’m here to tell you that you can’t blame yourself … or her. There is no blame here. Your inner critics are distracting you from the truth. There were cracks in the relationship all along, whether you acknowledged them or not. And those cracks only get wider and wider when two people aren’t open and honest with one another. Two people create a relationship and both are responsible for it. And when it falters and fails, that responsibility is equally distributed between those two people. It could never be solely your fault or his. Pointing fingers or internalizing blame just opens the doors to your saboteurs, making the passing of this relationship that much more difficult to get over. The blame saboteur keeps you stuck in that hurting place where you can’t move forward. So, leave blame behind. Choose accountability instead.
What About Him?
I hear so many women in my divorce coaching practice who make excuses for their ex. I don’t even think they realize it. And when they blame themselves or the other woman, they are forgetting that this was his choice. Ever the caregivers, they are still trying to shield and protect their ex, even during the divorce process – at their own expense. When are we going to stop sacrificing ourselves to keep things going when clearly things are falling apart? When are we going to stop trying to hold up both sides of the relationship when he clearly isn’t doing his part? When are we going to stop making excuses for him?
Choose accountability instead. Your ex is an adult, responsible for his own actions. You are not responsible for him. He made the choice to cheat, without any influence from ANYONE. I know. I was accidentally the other woman. I didn’t know I was being lied to either. And by blaming yourself or the other woman, you are letting him off the hook. Why? He needs to be accountable for his choices and actions. Infidelity is a sign that the relationship isn’t as healthy as it used to be. And it is typically a sign that he doesn’t believe the relationship will get any better. There are other choices here though that go overlooked – communication, honesty, trust. Choices he didn’t make.
So, choose yourself instead – without blame. Realize that you are now free from a relationship that wasn’t serving you – that would never serve you. You deserve communication, honesty and trust. You deserve someone who will give you those things in a relationship, even when the going gets rough. There will always be bumps in the road, but the person you are meant to be with will trust in you, and the relationship, enough to give you honesty – no matter what. You deserve someone who sees all the choices and makes the right ones for both of you. So, remember who’s accountable here. Stop blaming yourself. Stop blaming her. Move on. Focus on yourself. And remember, happiness is the best revenge!