What it means to be unfaithful is different for each of us. We don’t all have the same beliefs, ways of thinking, and experiences – which play a big role in how we feel about this issue. For example, to one person a simple kiss may mean nothing, while to another a simple quick glance or flirtation can create a great deal of panic. Each relationship has its own ‘rules’ and conditions. Unfortunately or fortunately, temptation is all around us and the line between ‘wrong’ and ‘right’ is very thin. When you’re with the same person all the time, it’s no wonder it gets boring at some point. You start to take some things for granted and get lost in the routine. Some of the excitement has died down, and you’re starting to notice some things you didn’t pay attention to before.  Flirts, glances and other little ‘innocent’ infidelities can make one remember what it’s like to be back in the ‘game’ and single. He feels attractive and sexy and likes the importance and attention he gets. He discovers that he has been feeling this way for a while and although he likes it, on the other hand he remembers that he is in a permanent relationship and gets confused. 

Very easily we can get involved in situations creating problems where there is no reason. Why this happens is not so simple. There are some who are excited by spontaneous love affairs. Others who chase what they can’t have because they find it more exciting (even though they may know they have nothing in common with that person). On the other hand, someone may want to ‘revenge’ their partner for some issue that exists between them. But there are also times when just as we ourselves change, so do our feelings and needs, and we may be confused about what we want. We are missing something… A gap that the partner does not cover, so one begins and “looks”…Each case is different. Questions like 

‘why did this happen’, ‘how did we get to this point?’, ‘how do I feel?’ come to mind, we worry, we distance ourselves from our partner, we feel remorse, anxiety, sadness and anger (maybe even indifference), and we look for logical explanations. What is certain is – especially if there are feelings in the middle – that we should discuss, think about what is wrong in our relationship, take responsibility (for our part) and if we decide to still stay together, then maybe some changes will must take part. If we were to look at it from the positive side, maybe this should happen to mobilize us into action: to work on our relationship because we don’t want to lose what we have. 

The ‘culprit’
Ask yourself:
•    What stage is your relationship at? How do you feel about that? Do you want more or are things moving too fast for you? Did anything happen with your partner before? Do you see yourself together with your partner in the future? Are you happy with your relationship? If you were missing something, what would it be?

If you are sure that you have real feelings for your partner, then maybe there is some disturbance inside you and you don’t know how to interpret what happened. To what extent you feel remorse depends on what exactly has happened, if you caused it or if it was a spontaneous trivial moment, if there are any feelings, if there is a desire for it to happen again. You try to find time for yourself to understand what is going on with you, what your wants and needs are at this stage and how or if your relationship and partner are providing these for you. Many times we take things for granted and stop trying. There may be some difficulties and problems in your relationship that you don’t want to admit and turn a blind eye to (e.g. sex life not satisfying you). Maybe out of fear, maybe out of denial, maybe out of selfishness. Use what happened as an occasion to deal with yourself and your relationship, and deal with what is really bothering you. By recognizing what your fears might be and what it was that drove you to do what you did, it will help you not only to understand yourself better,  If, on the other hand, your feelings for him are not that strong, you are bored, or you are simply staying together for the sake of others (children, parents/in-laws, or your social status), then do him a favor and break up. It is a shame to hurt the other in such a way simply because we do not find the courage or time to put an end to a situation that is going no further. And at the end of the day this double life makes you unhappy and stressed too. 

The ‘wounded’
A mixture of emotions prevails in this position. He experiences anger, sadness, frustration, thinks negative thoughts and creates various scenarios in his mind. It depends on what happened and how he found out – he caught them himself, through third parties. Most of the time, however, the “wounded” person feels as if his world has collapsed, he is in shock and wonders what is real and genuine in his relationship anymore. It is filled with questions like “why did he do this, how was he able to ‘betray’ me, what does the other person have that I don’t have, why didn’t he come to talk to me if he has a problem” etc.

What can I do?
-A normal first reaction is to start blaming yourself. Don’t get stuck thinking that you’re not attractive enough, smart enough, etc. There’s nothing to be gained by starting to think negatively about yourself like that, it’s only going to make you feel worse. The sooner you deal with it and resolve your questions, the sooner you can move forward before you start getting ideas and creating scenarios.Note: sometimes we have to accept that we won’t get the answers we’re looking for. Don’t forget that responsibility is always shared. Don’t take all the blame for what happened, and don’t give him all the blame. See it as a wake-up call, how this tells you something about yourself – what you need to work on/improve (eg communication, sex) but also about your partner’s needs (eg importance, one-on-one time with the other).

-Try to understand what you want: to continue or break up. If you are sure that you don’t want to break up, then you should first of all forgive him. Can you put it behind you? 
If the answer is YES, then you have to promise yourself that you won’t bring it up again in a future fight, because it wouldn’t be fair. Obviously you haven’t forgotten, you haven’t forgiven him, and you haven’t turned the page. In this you will need to talk openly and honestly with your partner. How you see things, what the relationship issues are, what you BOTH need to do to be happier. It will certainly take some time before the balance comes again. It is not an easy thing to earn your trust again. However, don’t forget to give chances until he proves otherwise. 

Are you worried your partner is having a physical or emotional affair? Consider Couples Counselling or Infidelity Counselling at Counselling Kenya. Our experienced, licensed counsellors use proven strategies to help motivated couples rebuild their relationship.

Call us today on 0741123944 for an appointment or more information.

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