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Infidelity | Elda M. Lopez

We have heard, know, or have personally been affected by the fallout from indiscretions. It is continually in the public eye and in our lives. People cheat, defeat, repeat, and leave a tattered trail behind them: broken marriages, devastated children, compromised finances, stressed mental health, jeopardized physical health, etc. And the cycle continues. Unfortunately, it seems infidelity has become normalized. Why? She found this puzzling and annoying: Bonds become fractured, lives are upended, and chaos ensues. What about prevention? What are we doing to encourage prevention? She went exploring and started writing.

When she first had the idea to write her book about infidelity prevention and healthy relationship-building, she received some interesting feedback. One friend asked, “Are you okay?” He obviously assumed she must be out of her mind to tackle such a complex subject. Another inquired, “What’s gotten into you?” Probably for the same reason as friend number one. Honestly, she was tired of reading yet another sensational headline about the latest scandal of fidelity gone awry.

Political figures, captains of industry, religious devotees, A-Z list actors, your Uncle Joe, the local grocer, and everyone else in between are susceptible to slipping away from fidelity while in a committed relationship. This issue encompasses every colour, creed, class, and intellect. Maserati or Turnip truck—infidelity proves to be a great equalizer. What are we not addressing? Contrary to popular belief, infidelity is not one size fits all. We each have a unique backstory that helps define how we conduct relationships. There is not one firm answer or quick fix that addresses betrayal. Every circumstance is a stand-alone experience.

Still, if relationship concerns remain ignored, the problems and patterns persist. If issues aren’t recognized, recurrent external reactions to unsettling behaviour serve as clues to examine cause and effect, an opportunity to take responsibility and move in a positive direction. If a partner suggests specific conduct is creating conflicts–listen, have a conversation, and listen some more. Thankfully, there are many resources to assist with unproductive actions and further growth. Professional support is available to those who seek and ask.

The process may prove challenging, but if a sustained, fruitful partnership is the goal, the end rewards far outweigh the effort. Love (of self and others), patience, consistency, and compassion are vital to effecting change. Of course, there are also rooted personal histories not easily overcome: religious doctrine, ingrained culture, societal conditioning, family expectations, medical conditions, and deep-seated trauma, to name a few. These require intense reflection, consideration, and specialized professional recommendation.

The advantages of self-awareness, personal accountability, education, and growth are fundamental stepping stones toward making progressive choices. Prevention is key. The benefit extends to family, friends, significant others, children, and colleagues--any interpersonal relationship. Healthy individuals help create healthy relationships. Why not you? Evidence suggests we could all gain from doses of guidance, education, and tools to enhance our lives. Learning new skills that lead to productive relations–with ourselves–and others is instrumental to acquiring an overall quality of life. We are each worth it.

She has her fair share of experiences with infidelity. She is not proud of some situations, but ahead of the game in others. Her ex-husband cheated on her, and she has been "the other woman." Fortunately, she has learned lessons that she continues to acknowledge and value. She chose to look at her behaviour and understand how it may have contributed to disconnects in her life. This examination, coupled with therapy, provided deeper, much-needed insights. Yet she knew she was not responsible for her ex's betrayal. He chose to have an affair. Infidelity is a choice. Healthy is a choice. Choose wisely.

Writing her book led her to many stories and a closer look at her own. She was surprised at her response when revisiting her situation after so many years. A by-product of infidelity is the emotional seed that remains long after the event has subsided. It never leaves. Even so, she looks forward to hearing more narratives. As astonishing as some are, it challenges her to pause and expand. People need a safe place to share without judgment. She wants to encourage awareness and aha moments. Because, in those moments, she realizes uncharted parts of herself that are waiting and willing to be explored.

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