“To the next woman, I will be absolutely sincere and faithful. The next relationship will be the one that works.”
This I was once told by a man right after I discovered his betrayal of me with another woman. Ironically, it was that woman who advised him about the “next” relationship right after he told her about me. My first thought was, ‘how dare she say that!’ Then I realized it was more important to focus on the reason he believed her. And why would he say this to me?
Before I can address all the issues at hand, I must deal with the first one, betrayal. Why would anyone consider a relationship with someone that has betrayed them?
After breaking up, your biggest fear is that the person will move on, either too quickly or end up with someone seemingly better than you. When you left as a result of betrayal, your fear is rather or not your ex will also betray someone else. Why do we worry about these things? I don’t know.
However, if you’re insecure, these fears might be the reason you stay in a relationship that doesn’t work. Fear can be a tool that manipulates you into staying. You don’t want to miss out on a good thing. People change, sometimes.
I thought, ‘if I don’t give him another chance, someone else will benefit from my loss.’ Beyonce has a whole song dedicated to this experience. It’s called “Ring the Alarm.” Click here for lyrics!
In this particular relationship, I had to consider a very important question. Am I insecure? According to my shrink who has mulled over my issues at least monthly if not weekly sometimes, I’m not. Rather, I’m a rational person who likes to consider all the odds before making a drastic decision. This is true even when betrayal is involved.
There is a Biblical verse (though I am not religious), “let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” With the help of a professional, I learned to consider my own transgressions before judging anyone else. Nobody is perfect. Unfortunately that includes me.
Next I considered how the betrayal affected me. Was my mental, emotional, or physical safety compromised in any way? Did I lose anything—money, time, possessions? What kind of discretion did he use in hiding the betrayal from me? Believe it or not, the way a person hides things can tell you a lot about their character if you’re open to understanding it. How did handle my discovery of the truth?
In this case, the answer to all the questions was no. He wasn’t too careful about hiding the other woman at first which means he his intention was good. When things got too heavy and I found out, he came clean. Then he made the statement in question.
At the end, I realized it didn’t matter. The possibility of him changing, treating someone better than he was to me, finding a woman with greater qualities than I have is just as good as my chance of finding a man who won’t betray me.
Instead of being afraid to leave, I started taking my options more seriously. I gave myself permission to be selfish. That literally means putting me first when dealing with compromise. It doesn’t matter what people do to me because in reality; they are doing it to themselves. By betraying me, they are losing my trust. What is more valuable than that? It’s one of the greatest gifts a person can give.
This experience also gave me a choice. Choices mean decisions, which means power to be in control. I was able to choose how this relationship would benefit me (again very selfish). When I weighed the odds against good and bad experiences, I decided. When it was no longer beneficial, I could leave knowing I gained much more than I lost.