The Pain Of Infidelity And The Great Illusion Of Happiness

Direct from the heart.

I'll get straight to the point. My girlfriend has just announced her infidelity to me. The infidelity would appear to be a very recent act and in the space of only days she has more or less completely switched off to me. Nothing I have said and no amount of pleading for her to not give up on us has made any difference. She is cold, indifferent, blind to my pain, now preaches she no longer believes in monogamy, picks holes in any weak point in our relationship, says that she cannot communicate with me and has never been allowed to be herself (and that this is my fault). All this no doubt in an attempt to justify her cheating. She has said that she is detaching herself from me. Predictably, any efforts on my part have only led to drive her further away. All the hopes and dreams I have invested in this woman and in our relationship appear to have been summarily put in the waste bin. The love nest we have built would now appear to have been built for this other man she has met. It cuts me like a knife. I must leave my job because she works in the same company as me. In short, I am in the process of losing my girlfriend, my job and my dreams. Needless to say I am devastated and destroyed. As I struggle through the days she seems to be thriving.

I have witnessed similar scenarios in the lives of many friends and acquaintances and it almost always results in broken lives and lonely people. This scenario is the woman who thinks she needs to give herself the chance to be happy by having an affair. This scenario is the woman who loses her mind to sexual aggression and callous selfishness. This scenario is the woman saying 'me, me, me' . This scenario is the woman obsessed with her newly found power and successfully and heartlessly abusing this power. This scenario is the woman who has lost herself.

I hope and pray that one day she will see the light of the true love that we had. I hope and pray that she will not be blinded by the flames of lust and deceitful passion, that one day she will realise just how much unconditional love I had for her. I hope and pray that one day she will turn and see how much our life paths were intertwined and how our purpose was meant to be. I get down on my knees and pray. As the tears flow I hope that they can burn a path of truth and forgiveness. I hope that my pain can result in some recompense because really, this pain is the greatest pain I have felt in my entire life. My life has been taken away from me and at times I lose the will to live.

I have a theory that we are all heavily conditioned by consumer society as young adults. Both young men and women just get busy consuming eachother based upon physical desire. As we do this we forget what the real values of human relationships are. Trust and committment are not fashionable any more. So we just go ahead and indulge ourselves believing in only "me, me, me" in some futile quest for happiness based upon the first high of when you meet someone and engage in some kind of physical connection. And mistaking this for love, we expect the feeling to last. It never does. It's a cheap high and it never lasts. The ******* are empty. Love is somewhere else.

When by some miracle we remain in a long-term relationship all your friends start talking about who is sleeping with who and how women should expect their man to be making them happy, how men should be getting more action and so on. If hubby is not making you 'happy' then you go and get 'happiness' elsewhere. Problem is going off and having an affair gives you a feeling that you have once again found love, but it's just a feeling, a chemical reaction based upon the high you get from having an illicit relationship. It's not love and it doesn't last. Many try to make it last and some actually leave their long-term partner for the new one only to find 6 months later they are back at square one... the new person doesn't make you happy either. In fact it's just the same, if not worse than the previous person you fell in love with. Or because of the infidelity your long-term partner just moves on and leaves you. And children get made amongst all this chaos. What a complete mess.

Life is full of illusions. We need to wake up and be aware of these illusions.

All this to suggest that the reason that there are so many lonely people around is actually that we have all lost sight of one very important thing - making the conscious decision to be committed to your partner and standing by that committment through thick and thin. Getting sex from anyone has simply become far too easy. You can be attracted to a vast number of potential partners. So what! Why does that mean that you have to sleep with all of them? What is more important is that once you recognise that you are a sexual being with desire and the potential to have pleasure, the actual trick is to make the conscious decision to remain faithful to the person you truly love, to know your own power and transcend it rather than abuse it. This is how you can become truly committed and once you have crossed this threshold it is a total relief.

So, I pray to you, the love of my life, I beg you with all my heart to understand, to understand, to understand and to see clearly... before you go and cheat on me your long-term partner, think again... you may just be signing the contract for your loneliness later in life. And before you leave that special long-term relationship behind in some quest for 'happiness', look again just to be sure that you have not completely overlooked who you are and who your partner is. Did you really give your partner the chance to give you what you need? Did you ever truly give unconditional love, committment and the key to your soul?

This is what I gave you. I gave you and I still give you unconditional love, 100% committment and the key to my soul. I don't really understand why you threw it all back in my face.

lightray lightray
46-50, M
14 Responses Feb 23, 2010

I'm in this situation at the moment. Its so hard because I left my family, friends, career for a man that doesn't seem to acknowledge the extent of my sacrifices to be able to be with him. I been eight years with him and he cheated the first years. Came back and forth and after many difficult years of heartbreak and trying to repair my relationship. He came around last night with a full blown fresh stories of the past, which leave me in shock, in pain and definitely doubting of his love for me all of these years. I came to your post unfortunately years ago when you wrote it, but it feels I'm living now what you lived 3 years ago. I hope everything came to place for you, and that now you are happier.

I'm just beginning the second book, lightray. Although I'm not on the same page with her Darwinistic moral relativism, I think Langley's writing is so insightful that most people would profit from it. Anybody On EP with influence on a library's procurement should see to it that the library acquires her books.<br />
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The quote you give above is excellent. As long as people have the childish idea that they are entitled to have first stage feelings all their lives, they will continue in a cycle of love-conquest, disillusionment, adultery, and divorce till they get too old to play the game and they're stuck with their cat and their battery-operated boyfriend.<br />
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I have long felt that pop music lyrics exacerbate the problem by encouraging people to believe that finding the right member of the opposite sex is the solution to all their problems.<br />
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If you're still aspiring to have your girlfriend back you've got two really difficult mountains to climb : the resolution of her unusual psychological problems you describe, and the rehabilitation of a female cheater, which you will understand from Langley can be exceptionally difficult with the man she cheated on because of her urge to engage in blame-shifting rather than facing up to the fact that she is not the "good girl" that she had built her self-esteem on believing that she was. The odds of success are not good even if she comes back to you.

Presence, Thank you for your encouragement. I don't like the intense pain I still feel but in some strange way I am seeing my life situation and my relationship with my girlfriend with more clarity than I ever could have done when I was close up to her.<br />
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On a more general note, I have just read something on another forum which I feel compelled to quote here since it is very relevant to my story. It puts in a nutshell the developmental cycle of what we call love in relationships. In my opinion, this stuff should be compulsory reading for every human on this planet. I wish this had been an essential part of my own education. It's so obvious and yet so many of us are missing the point. I quote:<br />
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"According to my professor, there are three stages in the cycle of love. The first stage is falling in love, that is the most wonderful feeling in the whole world. However, it is inevitable for this honeymoon stage to end. Why? Because falling in love is temporary. Feelings are temporary. Imagine if you are happy all the time, or sad all the time. What would that be like? Falling in love, in fact, is very misleading. It is a surge of emotions towards a person you are inclined to-- and you can fall in love with many people all at the same time. BUT, the thing is, although you may fall in love with someone you find interesting and attractive (i.e. your new [affair partner]), you can only actually CHOOSE to love one (i.e. your [long-term partner]). If you are feeling unhappy or bored with your [long-term partner], well, it's normal. That's the second stage of love called disillusionment. You have become too familiar with the person so there's nothing new or exciting in the relationship. However, this stage of disillusionment (or more commonly referred to as falling out of love) paves the way to genuine love. After falling out of love, after all the mushy feelings are gone, after things get uninteresting, your CHOICE to stay with your partner means that you are ready to experience genuine love.<br />
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I am sorry to say that those people who reach the stage of disillusionment and turn to infidelity, I believe, are very immature. Constantly seeking the feelings involved in falling in love is not the way to go."

Hi CC, I am understanding you but I should point out that I am not trying to aportion blame to my girlfriend, even if she has attempted to blame me for her own behaviour. I am not polarised on this issue but I do recognise that she needs to take responsibility for her own actions and be aware of the consequences. As I mentioned I think that there may be deeper psychological issues involved in her behaviour. These things have only come to light during my self administered period away from her.<br />
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I too have read Michelle Langley's book, but did you read part 2? In part 2, Michelle suggests that many women actually regret what they have done months or even years after they have left their long-term partner and some try desperately to get back together, but usually by then the long-term partner has moved on. She also suggests that when these women become truly conscious of what they have done and the pain they have caused they suffer enormous emotional pain themselves. And she says that there is usually enormous pain felt when their long-term partner definitively moves on with his life. At the very end of the book, Michelle writes that there are some lucky couples who manage to overcome the woman's infidelity and stay together. I believe she described this as a couple "jumping through the hoop" and I got the idea that she thought that these couples went on to experience a truly meaningful and mutually nurturing relationship. My overall image of Michelle's books is that whatever the causes, rights and wrongs of women's infidelity, the overriding results for the women concerned were enormous confusion, broken lives and massive emotional pain.

I agree, lightray, she was a ticking time-bomb. She's not only a cheater, she's a blame-shifter, and THAT is a pretty big problem of its own, something else that would have made you miserable. You are very lucky all this hit the fan before rather than after marriage and kids. For all the pain you're going through, that scenario would have been far, far more painful. Forget about her. Female cheaters tend to find it harder to go back to being faithful than male cheaters because they're so invested in the idea that they're "good girls" and when they find out they're really not, they run from that truth and put all the blame on the man. So it's always going to be his fault in their mind. When husbands cheat, eventually they're going to dump the mistress and try to hang on to the wife. When women cheat, the wife is most likely eventually going to reject her husband, although she may take forever to finalize it. My source on all this, Michelle Langley, author of the excellent book Women's Infidelity; she knows the subject. If a woman can't keep other guy's penises out of her vagina before marriage, no way she will after marriage.

That may be true. Maybe she has changed. It's just that weeks before her announcement we were very close and our relationship was still very healthy. <br />
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I now honestly believe that there may be other psychological factors in the mix which I had not realised. She had occasionally had great difficulty in expressing and talking about emotional issues, and she had cited me as the cause for this inability (I think wrongly so). Many factors which surround these issues have started to come back to me as flashbacks, now that I have had some time apart from her. These are flashbacks of certain behaviour and behavioural patterns which now seem to me to perhaps be unusual. After pursuing these issues with countless internet searches I have reason to believe that my girlfriend might be alexithymic. This is a psychological condition where a person is unable to express their emotions in words and is also detached, or does not understand, the emotions of others. This condition can apparently wreak havoc in interpersonal relationships.<br />
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Alexithymia can be diagnosed using a questionnaire. I may at some stage ask my girlfriend to try this questionnaire. I feel it my duty to try this and to let her know about this... regardless of my status with her.<br />
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And you thought I was already confused.......!!

Gia, Thanks. I take on board all of your very good points. I agree that the 'why' may be irrelevant once the deed is done, and most of us cannot really explain the why of this kind of thing anyway. I agree there is no rationale here. It's chaos. Sometimes people do make mistakes and regret it afterwards, which is only human. And perhaps sometimes infidelity might be more likely if a person is unbalanced in some way. But as you say, what is done is done and we are largely responsible only for ourselves. So I make no excuses for her. <br />
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Books have been written on this and I've seen it suggested that if a couple can get back together after infidelity they usually wind up in a better relationship, but the committment must be 100% from both partners... so I am still not against the idea. I'm just trying to get my life back. But I'm not trying to control her in any way. There will be no more pleading.

LostLeila - thanks for your wise comments. Right now I find it quite difficult to believe that there is someone else out there, and the fact that I am so very choosy does not help. But miracles do happen.<br />
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I think I probably already understand most of the things that really matter within a relationship but I am not sure my partner understands. Something tells me that she will never understand until she makes the mistakes herself. And I am convinced she is making a big mistake with all this, so perhaps she will indeed learn something.<br />
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My girlfriend said that she is still searching for something but she does not know what she is searching for. She is looking outward in this search but I think the search should be directed inward. I think she may be searching for herself. She suffers difficulty in communicating her thoughts and has claimed that her difficulties communicating with me on emotional and other issues is my fault. I am baffled by this and have never really understood why I got the blame. I am a good listener, I am patient and tolerant and always willing to see the other person's point of view. I can only imagine that she must have been heavily conditioned as a child to always say what was expected rather than what she really felt, so she is afraid to speak her mind or let anybody know who she really is for fear of rejection.<br />
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I do want to walk forward into the world but it just might be that my girlfriend needed to make this mistake and needed to cause all this pain, and perhaps somehow, after all the dust settles she will realise her mistake, learn from it, and then get back on the life path we had together. I can hardly believe I am writing this, but the path I saw was just so strong that it seems almost impossible that it should not come to pass. It just felt so right. Yeah, I know this is probably all just wishful thinking! The facts remain: my girlfriend cheated on me, has caused an awful mess and has said that she is detaching herself from me. Perhaps it is me who just cannot accept this.

Hi lightray. You are very insightful, and also coldcut wrote some hard truths there. Indeed, you are the kind of guy many women are looking for. Your willingness to forgive your girlfriend is great, but it sounds like her attitude differs from yours. Better you realize that now, before the big commitment was made, then later. Cause - sorry to say this- its sounds like within her there was a ticking timebomb of infidelity waiting to happen. If it didn't happen now, it would happen later, even after children. Best to give thanks for what you have learned from her, shared with her, then walk forward into the world. You are alone, yeah, but not totally. And if you can be at peace with yourself, alone, its probably one of the most attractive things a person can offer. Seriously. Find peace with what's happened here, and you won't regret this experience. It will make you stronger, wiser and help you realize what really matters in relationships. There's someone else out there who will greatly appreciate you, though you don't know who, she's waiting for you. Letting go now, accepting this tragedy is the greatest gift you can offer to *her*...

coldcut. Your encouragement and advice are greatly appreciated. Thank you so much. I'll probably take a look at those books.

I am glad you do not live with her and I thnk the time off is a good thing to help clear your head. I plead with you to please read those books I wrote about while you are taking the time off. You will be glad you did. You are the type of man real women want and appreciate! I can see by your writting that you are most likely in the UK, not USA. If you were in the USA I might have to have sought you out when you got yourself healed and back together again!! Look forward not back!! Please, Please read those books!! I promise you will be glad you did. You will have so much insight it will surprise you and you will be able to understand why you have allowed her to treat you so badly. It will also help you to choose better in the future. You will be a much wiser and stronger man!

Thanks to all for your encouragement.<br />
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Coldcut.<br />
Yes, I have already left the scene. We actually do not live in the same apartment but have always been very close. This year we were due to move to a house where we would live together. I went through a short period of attempting to make her change her mind about the other man she has met but quickly realised that this served no purpose. There will be no more pleading. <br />
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I firmly resolve to move my life forward even if I cannot move it as far forward as I would like. I have taken a month off work and have resolved to not be in contact at all for 60 days. I have actually left the country where I work and gone back to my home country for the month.<br />
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I would consider reconciliation. I can forgive. I had so much tied up in my life with this woman. The particular circumstances convince me that her behaviour may be based upon some inbalance in her mind, although this may be wishful thinking. But you are right, there are so many women out there looking for a good man and I shouldn't waste my efforts with someone who is not worthy of my time and love. <br />
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In my situation I am confused and weakened. I would hope that I still resemble a man. The deeper the pain the more profoundly I am cleansed.

Truly sorry for your pain. Instead fo being on your knees and begging this woman who obviously has no respect for you as a man, you need to stand up and be a man! You are weak and she sees that. I cannot believe you have not left yet! Pack some bags, find a place to stay with friends or whatever ASAP! Tell her you will be returning to get the rest of your things. Then do it. Do not entertain any conversation with her at all. She seeks to hurt and destroy you since she does not respect you. You should read the book by Dr. Laura...10 stupid things men do to mess up their lives..then read the "Proper care and feeding of husbands" authored by her also. This will give you insight into men, women and how men deserve to be treated. Also will help you to see why she feels the liberty to treat you this way. You will gain respect for yoursefl and then you will have no desire to have her back. There are so many women out there looking for a really good man, do not waste yourself and your time with someone who is not worthy of your time and love. You deserve so much better! The job thing. Do not allow her to run you off from your job! Stay strong and do your job. Ignore her. Treat her like she is just a co-worker. Do not be ugly to her, but be distant. She is going to be begging you for your attention, but do not give it to her. Move on, you will be glad you did in the long run. Time heals all things and each day will get better for you if you press forward. If you see other jobs that you are interested in then sure you can apply for those, but do not allow her to run you off!! You will be fine,, but you first you must find the strength to stand up and be a man, a real man! Keep us posted on your progress.

ATSF, Thank you for your sympathy and kindness.