Too much trust: Being cheated on makes us stronger
OPINION: Being cheated on makes us stronger.
Everybody needs to be the victim of infidelity. It's a harsh realisation to come to, given that being cheated on is one of the most emotionally painful experiences a person can go through.
But it's essential. As a life lesson, it teaches you not to be naive.
Here's the thing. Before you've been cheated on, you're too darn trusting. Not just in relationships, but in the big, wide world. You probably believe everybody is intrinsically good, and they're all unselfish and not purposefully able to hurt others.
Over the course of any relationship, according to some psychologists, there's up to a 25 per cent chance of experiencing infidelity. If you have four major relationships in your life, that means you're basically guaranteed to be cheated sometime (unless you, naturally, are the cheater).
Being cheated on reminds you that the world isn't in your control. Bad stuff happens. You're dealt a set of cards – you can't choose those cards, but you can choose how to play them.
Cheating serves the victim as a real eye opener. Before you have been betrayed, it's easy to only see the good in people. You're taught not to doubt, and to ignore problems and trends. You make yourself a prime target for being taken advantage of; not just romantically, but in all aspects of your life – friends, professional relationships, the lot.
One of the most hurtful part of being cheated on is the feeling that you'll never trust anybody again. As if somebody has stolen your ability to trust, without your consent.
This, too, can be seen as a positive. Anybody who has been the victim of infidelity knows you do eventually regain your ability to trust others. However, the kind of trust you give is forever changed. It's not blind trust. You don't give it out willy-nilly, your tolerance level for "alternative facts" and all-out fibs is minimal, and you make others really prove themselves to actually earn your faith.
When you're feeling at your worst after being cheated on, that level of despair is what pushes you closer to the good things in life. It forces you to reevaluate your city, your job, your friends, your exercise regime, your, er, hair... literally everything will come into question. As you emerge from the dark hole you'll see opportunities to solidify what is good, and change what is bad, about every aspect of your world.
Even though it can feel like it initially, when you get cheated on you're reminded that you're not alone in this world. This is a communal human experience that most other people have experienced too. This is part of life. It's not unique to you, nor are you unlucky. Everybody has to deal with this.
When we think about infidelity as society, we tend to think it's the end of a relationship. Relationships can and do survive through cheating however, and if yours does it will be because of a heightened state of maturity and better communication. If you're one of the couples that can effectively discuss and wholeheartedly move on from cheating, both parties will be all the more strong for it.
What's more, you learn by being cheated on where you have the ability to forgive or not, and what is worthy of forgiveness. You'll make value assessments on mistakes – both others' and your own – and their intent. You'll begin to understand that logic isn't always easy to come by and the "human factor" means we make poor judgement.
According to research from New York's Binghamton University and University College London, there are two definable "positive repercussions" to being on the receiving end of an adulterous relationship.
Women are most likely to develop stronger emotional intelligence after being cheated on.
The study's authors say: "Most women who have lost a mate to another women report a 'silver lining' of higher mating intelligence. What this means, in their words, is that they are more attuned to cues of infidelity in a future mate, more aware of how other women interact with their mate, [have] more self confidence and more self-awareness, and independence in general."
For men who've been cheated on, it's a stronger personality you're more likely to develop. This can mean you come out the other end more sure of yourself (and your place in the world), and proud of who you are.
Quite the silver lining for both genders, don't you think?