Thursday, February 20, 2014

Lessons from a Cheater

I’ve been a cheater. It’s not something I’m proud of. I’m not going to try to justify it. I’m not going to give you my back story or blame my exes or tell you why.  But listening to a friend’s story today, I thought of a few things I could share with those who believe that they've met their soulmate as a result of an affair...
  • I seriously doubt that the person you’ve never spent more than a few hours at a time with is your soulmate. Let’s see how that holds up when you spend day after day and night after night together, when one of you is sick or mad, when you’re arguing about how to best deal with the ex or each other’s kids.  You know, that stuff you’re avoiding with your current partner…
  • You know that butterflies-in-the-stomach, giddy, can’t stand to be away from each other feeling you have right now that makes you THINK your soulmates? What are you going to do when that ends? Because even if it doesn’t completely stop, it’s going to diminish.  Remember when you had it with your current significant other? And you thought it would last forever? Obviously you were wrong then, what makes you so sure you’re right now?
  •  Remember that part of the excitement comes from the thrill of secrecy, the clandestine nature of an affair. Will there be something left when that subsides?
  • Of course there’s a chance that this person really is your soulmate – but after a few months of secret meetings and a few hours snatched here and there, how likely is that? Imagine your current life with this person instead of the one you’re with. Would  you still think he/she is the one you're meant to be with forever?
  • Going to marriage counseling with your spouse one day and out with your new flame the next day doesn't qualify as working on your marriage. You don't get the best of both worlds, you have to choose. You think choosing is hard? Imagine what your partner is going through. S/He chose you, still chooses you, and they are in pain knowing you're struggling to choose between her/him and someone else. 
I didn't meet my soulmate. I didn't leave my marriages to be with a specific person (although that didn't mean I wasn't seeing someone) but rather because I knew I couldn't be with this person any longer, for a variety of reasons. Unfortunately, the way I went about that wasn't great. I'm not an expert on anything - but I know that initial excitement wears off pretty quickly once you're free to spend all the time you want together. I've seen more than a few marriages fail as the result of someone meeting their soulmate only to discover that once the dust settled, the new relationship wasn't really any better than the last. 

So those are my lessons - take 'em or leave 'em. Just more of my random thoughts.