When you trust your spouse and your spouse violates your trust by cheating, it can feel like having all your insides ripped out through your gut. It hurts like all hell. When you discover that you have yourself a lying cheating spouse while all along you thought you had a loyal spouse who was committed to you and to your marriage, the shock knocks you out like a blow from an iron fist. It’s wicked and it’s painful and it damages you often for the rest of your life.
I’ve been through a lot in my marriage. And for my experiences I have gained a clearer perspective that enables me to suffer significantly less pain in my life on account of my husband and my marriage. I won’t pretend I don’t still suffer some pain depending on the severity of a problem that might arise in my marriage; but those days of curling up into a ball crying my eyes out, suffering such excruciating pain you’d think someone I loved had died — those days are long behind me. And I can now look back and see more clearly that the pain had more to do with how I perceived and reacted to the situations than to the actions taken by my husband that created the situations.
Don’t take other people’s stuff personally
I keep saying this every opportunity I get because it’s some of the most powerful advice I’ve ever been given myself. It wasn’t advice given to me directly. It was something I read in a book many years ago when I was suffering such pain on account of my marriage that I was all over the place crying my eyes out to anyone who would indulge me. A former friend recommended a book for me to read (The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (A Toltec Wisdom Book) by ). It was in that book that I came across that bit of advice and I have since used it to guide me as I have dealt with adversity in my marriage and in my life.
I realize that when you’re in the midst of your suffering you want to be allowed your right to feel your pain. You don’t necessarily want preachy advice. But when I think of the pain I would have been spared had I understood that my husband’s choices had nothing to do with me at the end of the day, I wish I had known then what I know now. Because I was so much younger and I might have made smarter choices. But I took it personally. I saw it as betrayal and rejection and I reacted to the feeling of being betrayed and rejected. I made it all about me when it was not about me in the least. It was entirely about my husband and the choices he made for himself in his life. It just so happened I was married to him and I had these expectations of him. But he was and is under no legal obligation (or moral for that matter) to meet my expectations. Morality is an individual matter. I can’t impose my moral values on someone else. And I can’t hold them to my moral standards.
Is any of that to say you should just look the other way and let your lying cheating spouse continue to lie and cheat while you just tolerate it? By no means is that the point. The point is, if someone chooses to cheat and then lie to cover it up, those are choices they are making for themselves. We can’t control the choices people make. We might try. But someone who is compelled to cheat and lie is going to cheat and lie. They are going to be who they are. They are going to do as they are compelled to do. It’s got nothing to do with you. You just happen to be a character in the show that is their life; but you’re only relevant in the scenes in which you directly participate. And you have no power or control over what happens in scenes that don’t involve you.
If you’re married to a lying cheating spouse…
Your best protection against having to suffer at the hands of a spouse who cheats and lies is to leave the relationship. That’s the only real control that you have. If you don’t leave, you’re going to have to come to terms with the reality that you’re married to a liar and a cheat. Being married to a liar and a cheat doesn’t necessarily mean you’re constantly dealing with issues of them lying and cheating. But it does mean there is always going to be the potential for these issues to arise. It’s probably always going to hurt in some way, but it hurts less when don’t take it on as if it’s a personal assault against you. It’s your spouse selfishly doing whatever he/she wants without regard for the impact his/her actions will have on your life. The liar and cheat is 100% responsible for his/her action. You are 100% responsible for your reaction.