How do I look beyond the indignity of being cheated?

Raksha Bharadia
look beyond the indignity of being cheated

A few days back I received an email from a person I have known and interacted with for years. Here is what she wrote:

“Oh, the irony of it! I exchanged an email with Raksha on the ***** of March, telling her that I would write something for Bonobology – all the time wondering if there’s anything for me to really write about. My life was perfect.  I knew nothing of infidelity, of betrayal, of loss. Little did I know that life would teach me all about it. And the very next day too!

“On the ***** of March, my husband of 10 years came home early to tell me that he’s met someone. I asked him if she was an Indian woman. Later, this moment of truth would remind me of Emily Dickinson’s poem ‘I heard a fly buzz when I died’. At that moment, however, it seemed like an urgent bit of information!


He met someone Image Source

“I’d like to say that what transpired in the following weeks was different from what some of my close friends had faced under similar situations. Sadly, it was just the same. I was externalizing. I was looking outside of myself for answers to emotions happening within me. I was seeking out reasons why the affair happened. I wanted to know why he did what he did. I wanted to know if I will ever be able to trust again. I was doing this because I believed that finding the ‘reason’ might help me heal.

“It didn’t.

Related reading: My husband had an affair, but it’s me who can’t forget

“Partly because I stumbled upon the answers to some burning questions in spite of the repeated lies I was told. And partly because I needed to come to terms with my own emotions before I could / should have engaged him in conversations. I learned the hard way.

“On two separate occasions, with two separate friends, I had witnessed the trauma of betrayal and how it can tear one’s world apart. But what I was/am experiencing seems a little complicated when I see it first-hand. I am sad right now. Angry the next moment. Laughing the next. Vicious at times. Normal at others. I wish I could pick a mood and stick to it. But clearly, that has not been happening. But when I look closely enough during moments of lucidity, I find a common theme behind these emotions. A sense of deep and utter shame. It makes me feel so dirty inside. So unclean. I walk down the street and wonder who can sense my shame. Who can tell that I have been shunned. That I have been disgraced. That my love was not enough. And if I catch someone’s eye, I am unable to hold the gaze because I feel exposed.

girl on beach

My love was not enough Image Source

“Close friends call to ask me how I am doing at that instant. They know things flicker from one moment to another. I tell them that I can handle sadness. I can handle anger, or bitterness, or pain. But how do I heal from a sense of utter and complete shame? How I look beyond the indignity? How do I heal from the loss of self?”

Obviously she is under a great deal of stress and undergoing painful emotional trauma. There is certainly a loss of self-esteem, of self-confidence; she is afraid of not being able to trust in a relationship in the future. But what set me wondering was this feeling of shame, so natural for the person at the receiving end of this kind of a situation and yet so unfair. Moreover as she wrote to me, do we, as family, friends and society, even as we side with the ‘wronged’ one, still somehow add to this sense of shame?

What, dear readers, would you tell her? How can she heal herself?

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Karma August 13, 2019 - 11:46 am

Mam, dont feel guilty or shame etc for yourself. Cheaters never understand the pain they will be inflicting on the loyal spouse. It is their value system at fault but definitely not yours. Also take support of meditation/yoga and spirutuality.
If you see the world, there are many cases where wives /husbands involved in cheating either through onenight stands or affairs whatever you name. They do all these dirty things under secrecy and enjoy shamelessly without knowing the consequences of pain being inflicted on emotions of the partner. But in your case, pl. stop blaming yourself for the situation be strong and love yourself the way you are. Rest will fall in line and you are previleged to take call to continue the relationship by forgiving or walking out. Pl. take this call once u reach balanced state of mind.

RA July 11, 2019 - 3:06 pm

It is not your fault that you should feel shame. Your partner not able to maintain loyalty trust respect on his side. For him, may be these are like raw vegetable thrown at discretion. Never blame urself. Even if you forgive, u will never be able to trust him again. Every moment u see him, u will see a cheater behind his face. If can’t tolerate, move out of the relationship. May destiny provide you another opportunity to you so that you may find true love with new new person. Otherwise also you can be at mental peace.

Apurva November 28, 2017 - 12:11 pm

I can totally understand- while I did not feel any shame then, I accepted and understood my husband- but I had an undying faith in my love for him and a misplaced sense of loyalty and belief that he WILL come back to me. When it didn’t happen, I came to stay with my parents- mental abuse leaves worse scars than physical. I feel a sense of shame at times when people ask address my Mom as my kid’s Dadi and I have to correct them.
I am not sorry for what happened:I got over it, I healed and it made me who I am.
If someone’s cheating, it’s a reflection on the other person’s flawed beliefs and values-it’s got NOTHING to do with you. YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH.
Never doubt yourself.

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