For the first time in months my boyfriend and I were at the same place, at the same time, on the same dance floor. Together with the other participants of the workshop we just finished an intense exercise. I had found myself screaming back and forth with a man, releasing a lot of energy that felt stuck in my throat. How liberating! When I ecstatically turned around, one meter away from me, my boyfriend was passionately kissing a beautiful woman.
Statistics1 tell us that over 50% of the people in a relationship cheat at least once. That means the chance that your partner did cheat on you is larger than the chance s/he didn’t. An average affair lasts 2 years. More than 70% of all people admit they would have an affair if they would know for certain they would never get caught.
Why do we cheat?
Cheating seems to be a socially accepted secret. Something you can do as long as nobody finds out. But if the cheating becomes public, you are the bad person and your spouse is the poor victim.
The main reason for cheating is the longing to fill a void we find in ourselves. We all have voids and dark corners in our souls that we long to fill with love. Society has taught us that we need to look outside for fulfillment. Listen to commercials or read any magazine. If we want to feel complete, we need to add stuff from outside; whether it is food, clothing, make-up or another human body.
No external remedy will ever fill any void in us. No other person will supply us with enough love.
Why not? Because the only real fulfillment comes from within. Most of us grow up with the limiting beliefs of being not good enough and unworthy of love. Just dig a little in your brain. Ever felt surprised that someone expressed an interest in you? Ever felt too ugly/stupid/shy/simple/emotional/fat/skinny to be loved by someone special? There you go. That’s your limiting belief.
Cheating might be exciting. Cheating might bring amazing sex. Cheating might make you feel good at some level. But deep down, is it fulfilling? How comfortable does it feel to have a secret for the person you’re in a relationship with? Or did you create a story that you have ‘the right’ to have this affair?
How could he do this to me? I’m feeling very vulnerable after an exercise and he’s kissing someone else! He’s cheating on me! Can’t he see he’s hurting me? Am I not good enough for him? Is my love not enough for him? Doesn’t he love me anymore?
The myth of Mr/s Perfect
When you meet the right person, you will know it from the moment your eyes meet. Just like the prince and the princess in the fairytales you marry and live happily ever after. Oh, that BS. I love to read The Grimm Brothers and other love stories to my girls, but I always change the words of the last sentences. I don’t like the indoctrination of generation after generation and make them believe that at one moment in your life, you will find a single person that will fulfill all the needs you will ever have.
Doesn’t that sound like a crazy, impossible burden to carry? How does it feel to you, when you think honestly about it, that you – and you alone – are responsible for ALL the needs of another person. The physical, emotional, mental and spiritual needs. All of them. Of another person. I mean, it’s a challenge to take good care of yourself, let alone to take full care of another person?
We are programmed that true fulfillment can only come from outside we have come to a system where we make the person we have a relationship with responsible for all our needs, at the same time our partner makes us responsible for his or her needs.
Now isn’t this funny. Nobody takes care of their own needs and we all make compromise after self-disregard to stay out of trouble. We still want to get laid tonight, no?
I can only love one person
Maybe the strongest false belief on this planet I find the ‘I can only love one person’. Just listen to pop-songs. The “I only love you”-s are numerous. “I can’t live without your love.” “There’s only you.”
Ask any parent with more than one child. Do they only love their firstborn? Most parents wondered about it during the second pregnancy. Would they love this child as much as the first? And you know what? They do. They even love their third, fourth and fifth child as much as the first one. Love isn’t a cake of which the pieces get smaller when you love more people. Love is a magical cake: the cake itself gets larger and larger while you are sharing it. Jesus made a beautiful statement when he shared bread and wine with his disciples. The bread and the wine symbolize love. There’s enough for everyone.
In the same way it is simply not true that we can only love one person. When you fall in love with someone outside your relationship, this doesn’t mean you don’t love your partner. It also means that when your partner likes someone else or is with another person, it doesn’t imply s/he no longer loves you. The idea that your partner is no longer loving you when he expresses sincere feelings to another person is a common misunderstanding.
The only real love is self-love
Do you recognize that feeling that no matter how crazy someone is about you, as long as you don’t deeply like and love yourself, you will never really feel it?
No matter how much we try to find love outside ourselves, the only fulfilling love is self-love. The love from within, embracing the person that we are. You can try to make a single person responsible for your wellbeing. You can have secret romances on the side to try to fill the void still being present. There’s a big chance you feel unfulfilled or even unhappy.
Changing the story
Society knows a lot of stories about cheating, love and relationships. We make our partner responsible for all our needs, and when we don’t see them fulfilled we seek to fill our voids with love elsewhere – or we complain and feel unhappy.
We can also start with completely accepting who we are, including all voids and paradigms that we were taught. By appreciating who we are we can start to love who we are deeply. We can stop making others responsible for our happiness.
What would happen if we change the story? This is what happened in reality:
As I saw them kissing I felt myself filling with happiness and joy. Two people were sharing and intimate moment of deep respect and love. But then my mind started creating stories: “I feel excluded. Does he still love me? Did he forget about me? Doesn’t he care?” Tears filled my eyes as I stood there, feeling the emotions that entered my body.
When I opened my eyes again they parted. I walked over to my boyfriend and started expressing my emotions. There was anger, fear and rage. I spoke out all the sentences in my mind. “Why did you do this? Why do you hurt me?” Suddenly I started laughing. With the anger still expressing in my voice I shouted to him that he didn’t do anything wrong, that I was thankful for witnessing that beautiful moment and that I felt grateful for him touching old fears in me. I knew the stories in my mind weren’t true. As he held me close I felt his love for me as a warm shower.
I decided to walk over to her, to express my gratitude to her. As I looked into her eyes I could only feel love. She didn’t do anything to hurt me. The moments with my boyfriend, and now the moments with me felt deeply healing for her. They felt deeply healing for me. And they felt deeply healing for my boyfriend.
With a deep breath I could let go of the stories in my mind, the old fears of being unworthy of love and the proof of this theory I tried to find in the actions of others. They were not true. The only truth that I found here was love. Pure love.
Who do you hold responsible for your wellbeing? How would you react when your partner is kissing someone else?
Do you (and your partner/s) want personal guidance on your path in non-monogamy or other aspects of your life? I am worldwide available for coaching sessions, talking e.g. about challenges, what to do when your needs and desires differ, or how to deal with jealousy and fear. Contact me for more information and booking your session.