A recent email got to me.... She unleashed the dreaded "I love you but I'm not in love with you" speech on him and he knew enough to know that things were bad. He scrambled around the Internet for a bit and eventually found his way here. Within a day or so he's getting up to speed on the Alpha Beta thing and orders the book.It's very difficult to immerse oneself in other people's pain. It's a rare skill to be able to do so and come out unscathed, so I admire Athol's determination to subject himself to it while wanting no part in it myself.
Within two weeks he's getting results and she's starting to respond to him better. It's working. But she started cheating on him three days after the "I love you but I'm not in love with you" speech anyway.
Eleven years together, double virgin relationship start. I had to be the one to tell him that "I gave him a blowjob and he fingered me while I was naked" was very likely not the entire truth.
But on the subject of betrayal, the harsh truth is that while you can improve your odds of relationship success with your behavior, the behavior of other people will always be beyond your control. If a man wants to cheat, he will. If a woman wants to cheat, she will. It may be bitterly disappointing, it may be tremendously hurtful, or it may be a lifetime pass to nailing hot 18-year old Lithuanian professionals, no matter how you react to the actions of another, the choice was never yours. And their choice does not need to define the rest of your life.
The important thing, I think, is to realize that an individual who is willing to betray you is an individual who never merited your trust from the start. They are not the person you thought they were, that person never existed. That doesn't make them an intrinsically awful or evil person, it simply means that your faith in them was built on a false foundation. Whether you forgive and forget or whether you move on without looking back, it is necessary to deal with the reality of the individual, not the fictional notion of who you thought they were.