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Relationship: How to Overcome Lies and Cheating After an Affair
Negative feelings can be so intense that we prefer to push them aside. But that would be a mistake: in this way we do not learn to deal with what we have experienced. At some point the feelings catch up with us again. Anger and sadness then return at the slightest anger, and the situation escalates. Mindfulness meditation can be a valuable aid in becoming aware of your own feelings and in accepting them (see "This is how you learn to accept negative feelings").
Lies have many reasons
Then the lied to try to understand what happened. If someone lies, it can have a wide variety of reasons: for example, to avoid an uncomfortable feeling or an uncomfortable situation (such as a conflict or embarrassment); to get something (a reward, admiration, power); to protect privacy; to spare someone else grief or to hide weaknesses or a part of their personality. Usually several factors come together when lying.
Especially in the case of serious lies or infidelity, a deeper understanding of the causes can help to accept the past and to find a solid foundation for a new beginning. An exercise can sometimes help: Tell about your relationship and analyze what specific motives led to the lies and how they can be prevented (see "Getting to the bottom of insincerity").
Getting to the bottom of the roots of insincerity
Step 1: Write down the history of your relationship in as much detail as possible. Imagine you wanted to tell someone else about it. Start with your first meeting and the environment in which it took place. Then tell about the pleasant and unpleasant things that you went through. How has your partner behaved in the past? What are the characteristics of the person? How do you feel by your side? Then share how you exposed the lie and where you stand together today. For each phase, describe exactly how you felt and what you were thinking. Also imagine what your partner felt and thought. Do not read through what you have written down or come back to it. You don't have to put everything on paper at once. If you want to continue your narrative later, please only read the last sentence to see where you left off. When your text is ready, let it sit for three days.
Step 2: Ask someone you trust to read the text to you without comment. Then tell the other person how you felt when you heard your own story. If you want, the person can then tell you what they felt and thought while reading aloud. If you can't find someone to ask to read, make yourself comfortable and read your story aloud to yourself. Take the time to focus on what you are feeling and thinking and write it down.
Step 3: Now try to answer the following questions as honestly as you can:
- What criteria did you use to choose your partner?
- At what point did you start to be dissatisfied with your relationship? Why?
- What difficulties have you faced as a couple in the past few months or years? How did you deal with it yourself? Like your partner? Have you found solutions or are the problems continuing?
- How did you divide your time between your partner, family, and personal interests? Between work, social activities and leisure? Was the division balanced?
- Have you been able to communicate satisfactorily with your partner? Have you listened to his or her grief? Did he or she listen to your grief? Were there any important messages that you were unable to convey to one another?
- How did it go in bed? Did you experience your sexuality as satisfying? And your partner?
- Was money ever a problem? Was the expense split okay for the two of you?
- Did you both feel proud to be a couple and did you feel valued in your relationship? Did either of you accuse the other of indifference? Or constant criticism? Or even humiliating remarks or behavior?
In such a storytelling exercise, Sophia realized, for example, that Nicolas was under extreme stress, both privately and professionally, when he became unfaithful. She also recognized that she sometimes prevented her partner from relieving pressure by wishing them to spend more time in their relationship: “I asked him to play tennis less, even though it was his stress reliever outlet from an early age . ”The need to relieve stress could have been one of the reasons Nicolas gave in to another woman's advances one evening.
Of course, that doesn't mean that Nicolas had the right to betray his partner just because he couldn't play tennis. But it is important to know every little adjustment screw that has led the partner on the path of the lie.
Stress is a risk factor for any relationship. The work of the German psychologist Guy Bodenmann shows that a whole series of factors can put a strain on the partnership: too little time spent together, as with Sophia and Nicolas, but also the division of housework, the upbringing of the children, the relationship to the partner's family or the partner, sexuality and a lack of communication. If such conflict points get out of hand, the risk increases that a partner outside of the relationship will want to get some fresh air.
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