It’s an even harder blow for many when they find out that during the time the cheating took place they were going through difficult life events. For example: looking after an elderly parent, grieving the loss of a family member, unemployed, in hospital or unwell, pregnant or raising a newborn. In a way it’s a double betrayal because it is a double abandonment. You needed them and not only were they not there for you, they were focused on someone else or with someone else.
It’s not easier for people that find out their partner was cheating in happy times though. I have people cry their heart out when they discover their partner was celebrating family birthdays, wedding anniversaries or on fun family vacations when they were cheating.
Others are mortified when they feel that their sex life was the best it has been and wonder if it was any body else’s influence. It often makes people think well if they did this when things were so good, what do they do when it’s bad? Or they feel totally confused, I have given everything and I am not sure what they want from me. I don’t have anything more to give.
The hardest question for most is how could their partner lead two parallel lives at once? How could they go from me to them and not feel terrible, how could they keep the lies and deceit going?
It’s hard to answer that, many men and women who have cheated often reply
I don’t know, I didn’t think about the consequences, which offers little comfort.
I’ve been working with people the past 20 years almost and I have studied so many aspects about the mind, trauma and memory. My explanation is that just like the mind after a trauma or accident can blank out the memory, I believe that a person is able to compartmentalize and block out thinking about the two together or thinking through the consequences and damage it could cause. Often their ego encourages them, well you are not doing any harm if they don’t know, or you are good apart from this or I’ll stop next week or everybody cheats… Instead of really thinking about it the mind either blanks it out or minimizes it into nothing.