If you betrayed your love, life, and self this video from Lisa Arends offers good insight into how many people impacted by infidelity perceive and judge our character, mental health, motives, and actions. In her video Arends asks, and tries to answer, “can people cheat on someone they love?“
I let you watch the video and you can decide for yourself her conclusion.
Frankly, I’ve been a fan of Arend for a long time.
I’ve learned a lot from her and I think anyone on our side of the dynamic will, if they make the time to listen to what she has to say, walk away with a better sense of the damage our behaviors create and how some people see us.
But, frankly, the men and woman that betrayed their Loves, lives, and selves are not her intended audience. Arends is offering support, hope, encouragement, and understanding to the men and women we injured through actions like ours.
If you choose to watch the video know that Arends will paint the identity, motivations, and intentions of those that cheated, kept secrets, and told an escalating series of lies with a broad brush. She isn’t wrong about everything of course, but from the perspective of someone that betrayed their Love, life, and self, some of Arends underlying assumptions about my motivations and intentions comes off as an overly simplistic caricatures of men and women that cheat.
Try to look past the language and recognize the compassion, heart, and love she is sharing with those we injured. She is offering them hope and help. Our experience isn’t her concern…and shouldn’t be.
As I said, we aren’t the intended audience. If she says something that causes you to bristle, ask yourself “why did I react that way?”
I’ve found it is far more constructive at this point to ask myself why am I reacting a certain way to a situation, as opposed to the why of someone else’s reactions. Nearly everything I think or feel about what someone else’s reactions is an imaginative guess.
I can only know what is true about myself. If it isn’t true to your situation, set it aside. If it is true, own it and decide if there is something you should do with that truth.
However, I do want to take a quick moment and answer the central question of her video: can people cheat on someone they love?
The simple answer is, yes: I loved my ex AND I cheated on her.
That is my Truth and anyone that says otherwise is imagining answers to questions they are projecting onto me. But if you cheated, kept secrets, and told an escalating series of lies you already know your truth.
For some people, their answer to the question is, “I wouldn’t, so therefore you wouldn’t. Therefore what is true for me must be true for you.”
That is their truth, not mine. I can only own what is true about me.
We’ll dig into this a bit more in my next post.