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The Business of Betrayal

May 22, 2011

By Lori Hanson

It’s becoming almost hip to be caught in a betrayal of marriage.  Have you noticed? And while I think it’s happened because of all the 24×7 ways to share information via the internet. It doesn’t change what’s behind all the media feeding frenzy and over-dramatization of these events.

Why is it so fascinating to people to watch a celebrity fall from grace? It’s bad enough when celebrities divorce and their personal pain and heartache are splashed all over the news. But infidelity dare I say has become big business. But that’s not really what I want to talk about in this post. I just find it interesting and sad that this happens.

Whether Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren, Jesse James and Sandra Bullock or now Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver. There are painful stories and events attached to these situations. Why then is it happening so much? Or has it always happened this much and we’re just more aware of it because of how the media coverage has changed with the internet? Somehow we’re kind of used to hearing about infidelity with political figures…and even church pastors from days gone by. But it happens to Joe and Sally next door too. Why?

“There are two sides to every story.”
“It’s takes two to Tango. ”
“Once a cheater always a cheater. “

You’ve no doubt heard these clichés and have strong opinions about them. The most unfortunate thing about the media blitz is all the judgment that is passed from the interviewers and interviewees and everyone watching. Hey – non of us is perfect so who are these people to sit in judgement of others when we only know the part of the story that is exposed?

What I do know is there are always two sides to a story. Two perspectives. Ever talk to someone who is having a big fight with their lover? Your got his side and her side ( or his side and his side or her side and her side). You and I can both go to the same event or seminar and come away with two completely different experiences. And it’s the same with love and relationships. You see your side of the story and have difficulty seeing the other person’s. It’s communication difficulty 101. I’ve said for many years, if we didn’t have to communicate, life would be so much easier!

Let’s review the basics. If you’ve just started dating someone and they cheat on you…big red flag! If you let it slide when you’re dating my sense is it WILL happen again. In my own personal experience I put up with many things I shouldn’t have back in the day, simply because I had very low self-esteem and didn’t understand that I deserved better. If you’ve read my first book, “It Started with Pop-Tarts” you know that I had affairs with married men when I was younger. But when I was in a relationship I was loyal and never even thought of cheating. Why did I do it? Looking back, my self-esteem was so low and I always looked for validation from men. So if I got attention from someone who made me feel good I fell and sometimes fell hard. And being the other women does not make you feel good or build up your self-esteem and self-worth…far from it. Not something I would even remotely consider today!

I had interesting discussions with the few men I had longer relationships with in my life. I asked for a level of understanding that if he (or I) ever felt like we wanted to go sleep with someone else we should talk about it, because there was something misfiring in the relationship. And in my opinion, if it gets to that point, it’s likely too late. But that’s just my opinion and what has worked for me. If he wanted to go sleep with someone else, I wasn’t going to stop in his way. He was free to leave…end of us.

Relationships change over time. Complacency enters the picture for many people as time passes. One or both partners get wrapped up in work, children, career, hobbies, addictions or whatever else may happen along the path and the intimacy, friendship and sex life diminishes. (Some people never had the friendship to begin with which is a big uphill climb.) Without compassionate communication, fun conversation and friendship, intimacy and a great sex life, what do you have? Not much. Likely disappointment, disinterest, resentment, frustration, fatigue and even hatred. Some couples stay together for years living separate lives which is something I see as incredibly sad. Life is too short to be unhappy. Fix it or move on.

These are some of the common reasons people cheat. There are people who are sex addicts and need to get their fix just like alcohol or cigarettes. But are these celebrities different than Joe and Sally next door? How much does ego play into it and because women are throwing themselves at you – must you partake. Ah, the old rock star, professional athlete syndrome. Not something I could live with, but many women do in exchange for money. An empty life in my opinion. But I digress.

Both men and women cheat. There are plenty of statistics that show it’s not just a man thing. I’ve had many conversations with men who use the “Men aren’t meant to be monogamous” argument with me. Men are hunters, women are the hunted. We are different that’s for sure, whether from Mars or Venus. It can be frustrating having a conversation with a man about cheating because of the “It didn’t mean anything,” response. The women’s point of view is typically “If you’re committed and happy you don’t need to “do” somebody else. “

But one perspective I got a long time ago from a man did bring interesting light to this argument. Consider this: From the  woman’s perspective we are letting a man in. Accepting him..into our body and it is emotionally attached like it or not. But for men, it’s not an emotional experience because they aren’t letting us in. They aren’t accepting us into their world. They are just using their dipstick to have an experience that is purely physical and get their rocks off. Two completely different perspectives. (Granted many women are capable of just having sex without an attachment…right?)

What would you do if you were in a committed relationship and your lover cheated on you? Would you, could you forgive? And forget?

How does the thought of being lied to over a long period of time like Tiger, like Arnold with a love child who was accepted as a friend of the family, whose mother was a trusted employee, and Sandra Bullock who in her Oscar acceptance speech said no one ever had her back before until Jesse. And the news broke within a day or two of his affair. How would you deal with that?

The biggest issue I have with lying is that it isn’t authentic, it’s not coming from the real you. It’s ego taking control and communicating to keep up appearances and keep the drama low, etc. Being in sales for many years in the corporate world I heard a saying that is sadly true. “People think they can lie to salespeople and still get to heaven.” So the other question I have for you is when is it okay to lie — if ever? Are little white lies okay? Do you spare someone’s feelings by not being honest with them? And if you do, where does it stop and where do you draw the line?

If you’re reading this post I’m sure you have strong opinions about it. Send me your comments and tell me how betrayal makes you feel:

  • How would you handle it?
  • Would you forgive?
  • Could you forget?
  • Would you leave and carry the baggage to the next relationship?
  • Do you lie , to spare someone else’s feelings?
  • Where do you draw the line between little white lies/outright lying…or embellinshing the truth?

Let’s have a conversation about this and see what we can discover. It’s a hot topic and one we can learn a lot about ourselves in exploring. My goal is to help each of you become more authentic. To learn how to live in the present and make decisions you feel good about. Decisions that empower you and bring you closer to who you really are.

In the end, regardless of our life’s experiences, they all provide us with opportunities to grow. You have a choice to process the experience and see what lesson it brings to you, or to ignore it and repeat the experience again in the next relationship because you didn’t learn the lesson the first time.

Learn more about author, Lori Hanson,


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