What price do you pay when your personal integrity has left you?
Cheating and affairs are common. More common than you might think, and it has never been easier for a married man or woman to hook up for sex outside of their marriage.
This article might seem uncomfortable for some readers because it will resonate closely with their own personal reality.
While there is a lot to talk about when it comes to affairs, I am only going to focus on one specific area; the emotional impact on the person having the affair.
People make mistakes. We all make mistakes.
The particular mistake that I am referring to is when a person who believes themselves to be honest, trustworthy, and having integrity, violates their own beliefs.
You might say that the cheater broke a vow, or promise that was made to their partner, but what I am referring to is different. I often see the consequences of affairs in my private coaching practice. Not only do I help piece struggling marriages back together, I also help to restore self- confidence and self- worth in the process.
If you are having an affair, or thinking about having an affair, here’s what you need to know:
We all have certain beliefs about ourselves, and these beliefs become our personal identities. They are the foundation and cornerstones of who we think we are as individuals. This makes us different, unique and special. And we all deeply desire to remain consistent with how we see ourselves, because if we are not, then we have begun to shake that very core foundation of our identity. Not surprisingly, the outcomes of a fragile emotional foundation are not pleasant.
You see yourself as a good person. You believe that you are honest. You believe that you are trustworthy. You believe that you are a person of character and integrity…
Let’s say you are cheating, and might still believe that you are trustworthy, honest and have integrity. You superficially cling to this belief, and defend it within, rationalizing anything to yourself in order to keep yourself from this truth:
Part of you realizes that you are either trustworthy or not. You either have integrity or not.
And that part of you knows that you cannot be trustworthy in one area of your life, and cheat and lie in another, and call yourself a person of integrity.
This can open the door to a deeper, very personal pain, as you attempt to suppress and avoid thoughts around this fact.
You can rationalize your cheating all you want, and come up with reasons and a story to go with it, but part of your mind will recognize the internal conflict. It won’t be fun.
So you live the lie, but tell yourself that you are still the same person, and that somehow all of this hasn’t tarnished you, or lessened you in any way, to yourself.
When you add more lies to cover up that area of deceit, and the lies to perpetuate the lie, it eventually all begins to unravel your self-worth resulting in anger, guilt, sadness and emptiness. This is the aftermath that I see.
Often anger is misdirected towards the person that you cheated on, as a way to deflect being so disappointed and upset with yourself. While you might repeat any number of untruths to yourself, sooner or later you will be trying to deal with and cover up your own pain.
In my experience and observations, until you reconnect with, or re-build, who you really are, you will not find much happiness and inner peace. Until you accept what you have done to yourself and are able to forgive yourself, you will not feel free.
Are you living consistently with the values that truly matter to you?
Is your behavior congruent with the man or woman that you see yourself to be?
There is no sugarcoating your answer here. There is no gray area.
Only you know the truth. Do you have the courage to tell it to yourself? If you can, it can begin the process of recovering your self-worth.
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