A cheater’s guilt – the 1st instalment

It’s time.  Time to share a slice of the sordid Teatart pie – details pertaining to a part of my life that I try to keep hidden as best as possible.

In four words:  “I am a cheater“.  A mask of shame and disgrace I don every day of my life.  It’s the ugly twin that I try to disown, yet without it I would not be the person I am today.  For that I can be grateful.

Before I actually cheated, I looked down in abject disdain at other people who had seemingly tossed their marriage vows to the wolves and committed adultery.  I simply couldn’t understand what would cause a person to act so selfishly.  I even went so far as to question their value system and morals.

Marriage Day

Then I fell into the trap so many others have fallen into. A lethal combination of low self-esteem and lack of emotional fulfilment in my marriage rendered me weak to the flattery of a younger man. He had a crush on me, and I loved the attention.  While my husband of eight years kept putting off my requests to start a family, this young man told me exactly what I needed to hear.  He helped to quell the feelings of inadequacy and rejection that I had kept in check under a thin veil of nonchalance and sarcastic humour.  But it was a lie – a good one – but a lie non-the-less.  I sacrificed my reputation and my marriage; worse, I hurt a good man who had only ever tried to love me.

Hindsight is a wonderful luxury that few of us can afford. If only I had paid heed to the warning signs.  If only I had not met him.  If only I had been stronger.  If only … The crux is that I chose to put my own needs before that of my marriage vows. I broke my promise to be faithful.

cheating

cheating (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

I know much has been said and written on the topic of infidelity. I subscribe to many blogs in which the core topic revolves around this very discussion point.   Over the years, I have read many a book and article on the topic.  Moreover, the point of infidelity has been key in several of my counselling sessions with two different therapists.

The marriage therapist my ex-husband and I sought out at the time described the situation to me in simple terms:  we all have a list of needs in a relationship and we attach different priorities to those needs.  My need for physical and emotional intimacy began to outweigh the other needs on my list, until finally it overpowered everything else.

Some people endeavour to alleviate their pain through drinking, gambling and pornography, amongst other distractions.  An affair was my exit.  Now I live with the regret of one really bad decision made in a moment of pure insecurity and weakness. 

Nothing can accurately describe the guilt of a cheater.  The partner we cheated on is not the only person who gets hurt.  We hurt ourselves too!  And sometimes that hurt can never truly be healed.

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7 thoughts on “A cheater’s guilt – the 1st instalment

  1. Carol November 26, 2012 at 13:01 Reply

    I also used to be very judgmental about cheating, until 3 wonderful, beautiful, dedicated women I know, all feeling lonely and rejected in their marriages, fell for someone who filled that gap. I don’t jump to conclusions as easily anymore. Any one of the three of you could have been me, had I been in your shoes.

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    • Teatart November 26, 2012 at 13:30 Reply

      When we learn to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes, that’s when we can discard the condemnation and be supportive and understanding. My experience has helped me to be less judgemental of other’s mistakes and weaknesses – after all, we’re all human and no one is perfect. Thanks for sharing your comments :)

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  2. […] A cheater’s guilt – the 1st instalment […]

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  3. JS November 28, 2012 at 20:54 Reply

    Wow – this post hit home. Exact same circumstances – husband of 8 years, younger guy gave me attention, low self-esteem, and yet never saw the warning signs and didn’t even think of what I would lose to that one night of weakness. It wasn’t just losing the man and the material things, but the social network, the comfort, the dreams, and the memories. I’m married again, and now I am so focused on making sure it doesn’t happen again, that it sometimes drives me crazy. I over-analyze my actions constantly and try to ensure I do not let myself get in that situation again. I haven’t seen a therapist about it, but I know I should. You are completely accurate about the guilt of a cheater. I know I should forgive myself and move on, but it could have been a perfect relationship if I had only tried harder. It’s truly sad. Low self-esteem is very dangerous.

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    • Teatart December 1, 2012 at 13:38 Reply

      I too have battled with the nagging fear that I could cheat again. Whether we acknowledge it fully or not, cheating is a complex symptom. My affair was all about me, my own needs and dealing with my own pain. I deeply regret the hurt I inflicted on my ex-husband and our families – but there has been some positive outcomes. I was forced to confront the hidden reasons behind my infidelity in therapy. To date I understand what went wrong and why, and while I can now better recognise those internal alarm bells, it is a daily challenge to change my reactions and to stop beating myself up for my past mistakes. I think you’ve already made the first positive steps to healing – a therapist will be able to advise you of the right tools to tackle the root of the problem and move on.

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  4. […] A cheater’s guilt – the 1st instalment (teatart.com) […]

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  5. […] A cheater’s guilt – the first instalment (teatart.com) […]

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