I think I’ve only been naive a few times in my life. One occasion was ten years ago when I learned that a number of people in my social circle were having affairs. I commented to a friend that it seemed “everyone was cheating”, for which she chastised me for not realizing that actually, most were. She then suggested that I take a specific route home that night and to pay special attention to a parking lot at a small, secluded park by the lake.
I really had no idea of what to expect. I assumed it would be self explanatory, otherwise she would have given me more detail.
It turned out that it was self explanatory.
As I drove by I could see that the parking lot was full of cars parked two by two closely together. This was a meeting spot for men and women to do whatever they do in one of the two cars, on their separate ways home from work to their partner or families.
I was shocked, saddened, and was no longer naive.
I want to be clear here. I am not judging in any way, or pretending to be perfect. I am not. But no one, even habitual cheaters could claim that it is a good thing, or the right thing to do.
In a recent interview with sexologist Dr. Stephen de Wit, we discussed the topic of cheating. Apparently, men an women cheat on an equal basis. I didn’t know that either.
What struck me more was a comment he made regarding the worst aspect about cheating. I always presumed that it was the thought of your loved one engaged sexually with another, but no. Dr. de Wit stated that the real anguish, hurt and damage comes from the many acts of deceit that have to accompany the sexual betrayal.
Hearing that, my heart sank a little.
I thought of the pain of deceit. It’s when your lover presents to you a certain face and lives with an altogether different face. It’s the lies that you trustingly accepted as truth, until one day you are made a fool of.
No relationship pain is worse than that. Perhaps not even a death because with infidelity, in most cases you have lost them for good, but temporarily lose your own dignity as well.
Strangely, when we cheat and are not true to our partner, we hurt ourselves more than the other person. It’s because we have to deceive ourselves at the same time. The lies we tell ourselves and then fool ourselves to believe, are the biggest and most damaging lies of all.