There are many things our partners can do that can cause us to question ourselves. However, few things cause this to happen more than cheating. Dealing with a cheating spouse is difficult enough, but the almost automatic response to question ourselves just makes it even harder.
When dealing with a cheating spouse it's normal to ask how and why this happened, and in trying to answer those questions to assume that it has something to do with us. This line of thought, asking what we did wrong to cause the cheating happen, can take us down a bad path if we're not very careful.
When our partner chooses to be with another person, feelings about our own inadequacy are understandably triggered. Unfortunately, most of us already have insecurities about our self-worth that when we're cheated on only becomes worse.
Take a look at the following Google+ post I wrote about how to deal with cheating and one woman's reaction to her cheating boyfriend. Be sure to click the Read More button after the first 2 lines so you can see and read the full post.
If you've been cheated on, you can probably relate in some way to the above woman's repeated questioning of her self-worth by her asking over and over, "What's wrong with me, what's wrong with me?"
The feelings of rejection that come with being cheated on are horribly hurtful. No question. And they are for nearly everyone but the most hardened of hearts. But when this pain gets mixed-up with our self-worth it multiplies how hard it is to deal with a cheating spouse.
As I wrote in this Google+ post, when someone cheats on us, it's more about what's wrong with them than it is about what's wrong with us. This doesn't mean we haven't have played a part in the cheating happening. Typically cheating happens in relationships that are already hurting, dysfunctional or disconnected, and oftentimes partners don't even recognize their relationship. In such relationships, both partners share responsibility for the relationship being in a less than healthy state. Being responsible for the health of the relationship doesn't mean you're responsible for your partner choosing to cheat though.
A crucial key to properly dealing with a cheating partner is recognizing and accepting the truth that your partner having cheating on you has nothing to do with your value. There is nothing wrong with a person that causes their partner to cheat. There may be things you can improve about yourself and your relationship. That's true of every one, including me. But cheating doesn't happen because there's something wrong with us.
Asking the question, "What's wrong with me?" when you've been cheated on is the wrong question to be asking. The correct question is, "What's wrong with my partner?" that led them to cheat (especially if married). Another important question to ask is, "What's wrong with my relationship?" that caused this to happen.
Don't confuse being cheated on with your self-worth. Partners cheat because they choose to go outside the relationship to get their needs met rather than figure out how to get them met within. There are many possible reasons why your partner chose to do this, and some of them could have to do with you, but it's not because you aren't good enough, adequate enough, lovable enough, or whatever other value-related negative belief you have about yourself.
Dealing with a cheating spouse in a healthy way requires asking and answering some very tough questions, but we must ask the right questions. And if we want to rebuild the relationship we have to answer these questions honestly -- there's no place for our insecurities about our worth to enter in the discussion. So don't let your self-doubts in.
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