Thanks once again to everyone who has followed this series, ‘Real Issues with Oliseh’. The reactions and inquiries have being overwhelming. I want to first state that my approach on this platform is to see issues from a very practical and pragmatic point of view with little or no regard to any bias or emotions. I am aware that lives are involved whenever we talk about relationships as your relationship can make or mar your future. I usually say that I can’t conclude that someone is a success until I see who he/she get to marry.
Marriage can either be a leverage or pitfall with the capacity to destroy all of one’s happiness. It is one of (if not) the most important decisions one has to make in live. After marriage, ‘your life can never be the same again’. I need to also state that there is really nothing like a ‘marriage made in heaven’ like some people would want us to believe. Any healthy marriage you see is as a result of two people who decided to work on themselves, individually and collectively, so as to make the best of their situation. In some cases, one partner is playing the fool. Marriage is an assignment; we have to work it out.
In my last write up, I dwelt on how an individual can help him/herself to avoid cheating on a partner. One very important point that was established was that without caution, anyone can fail prey; not many people ever go out to plan to cheat. Most of the times infidelity is fuelled by opportunity, circumstance, temptation and other issues of live. I also pointed that there is never any reason to justify infidelity.
Back to the issues of cheating in relationship, it is always a source of rude shock even to the strongest of people. It makes one wonder what went wrong with the relationship. Every marriage is based on the foundation of trust and belief. And infidelity is a direct opposite to all that defines marriage. However, one needs to deal with marital infidelity with a renewed perspective keeping in mind that fretting and fuming about it won’t make any difference. Some (especially, women) make the mistake of taking actions that end up pushing the man further to the other woman.
There are many ways to look at the issues. There are basically two classes of cheaters; the repentant (normally hiding it from the partner) and the diehard/ bold (who sees nothing wrong in cheating). There is a hope for a victim of the former, while that of the later should be ready for the worst.
So what can a ‘victim’ of cheating do?
Take Stock of Your Situation
If you already know that your spouse is cheating on you then you need to think of the next step. You have to carefully evaluate your choices and see what is best for you first. We know, it might sound individualistic but you have to think about yourself. Marital infidelity is very hard to deal with even if you are someone with a very modern outlook. If you know that you cannot deal with it, (as in ever trust your partner) know that it’s time to step out. I know that most women find it difficult to act because of cultural and social orientations and expectations but I believe that staying in a marriage that causes you sadness is ‘a hell on earth’. But, this must be a last option if the cheater is unrepentant.
Try to Diagnose the Cause
There is no smoke without a fire. So surely, this marital infidelity has not surfaced out of thin air. You have to try and deal with marital infidelity by playing the ‘devil’s advocate’. Seek to know what must have triggered her/him to go outside the marriage to look for love or affection or even s*xual gratification? Did you have an active but indirect role in this trespass? How do they feel about it? Is your partner feeling guilty or is he/she determined to continue? The answers to these will help you understand the situation better. I am not advocating self pity but that you take a critical look so as to help you to see where to (if necessary) make amends.
If the trauma of marital infidelity has taken an emotional toll on you, seek help. Help can be in the form of a dear friend, sibling, or even qualified professionals. I usual recommend a counselor because he/she could give unbiased and even professional opinion. One of the major reasons why family members are not good crisis manager in relationships is that most times they ‘cry more than the bereaved’. Even when the victim has forgiven, relations most times neither forgive nor forget, thereby tampering with the reconciliation process.
Pouring your heart out to a third person will let the wound of marital infidelity heal. Talk it out with them. It will help you see a clearer picture of where you stand and where this marriage stands in your life.
Give Yourself a Break
Marital infidelity can wreck a person emotionally and psychologically. If you feel like rationality is slipping away from you and you are bordering on a breakdown, stop and rewind. Give yourself some ‘me time’. Take a short vacation to reconnect with yourself. It will help you deal with the issue better, because you will be able to look at the problem with some amount of objectivity. Being in constant touch with friends and family who know about this infidelity will only make you feel the pressure more. Whether to take it or not is a personal decision so never allow other decide for you.
The obvious reaction of infidelity victims most times is to confront the ‘guilty’ partner. However, this must be done with all facts because direct confrontation is like poking a hornet’s nest. There might be heated words exchanged that might end up scarring the marriage. Even if you are sure of your fact, communicate effectively; attack the act and not the person. Remember that your love.
If you have already confronted your spouse about marital infidelity and you have been proven right, you need to introspect. What should be your next step? Can you forgive this? If yes, then you need to work at bettering the marriage and try to mend the broken ties. If your answer is in the negative, then you will have to find a way to let your partner know and decide how to go about it.
Every individual has their own unique way of dealing with marital infidelity. However, the best approach remains the one where you don’t lose your cool and take it slow. Think your decisions through because they will have a lasting effect on your life, your spouse and the marriage.
Finally, PRAY & PRAY!
Marriage is God’s creation and He knows what you are passing through. God is the only one that can touch and change your partner for the better. Not many people think it wise to pray about their spouse’s s*xuality. I usual explain to ladies that every man is a potential candidate of marital infidelity because of their composition. If your love has already been betrayed and you are heartbroken, take out time and ask God for emotional and marital healing. He is the only one who can make all things beautiful again.
I wish you a blissful relationship.
Facebook: @ Olisemeka Obi
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