Infidelity: Julia Keys wants us to spy on each other
The wife of former Sky Sports presenter Richards Keys has claimed she spotted ‘telltale’ signs that he may be seducing another woman – as she wrote a book on infidelity. A trained counsellor, she has now written a book called The Manscript, which helps readers to identify when their partner is cheating on them.
I hope that as a trained counsellor, Julia Keys will offer more in her book than how to increase the level of paranoia and fear in every couple who reads the book, where one of them has a nagging doubt about their spouse’s fidelity. Next I imagine we will see ‘How To Spot An Adulterer’ as a TV series, and then maybe we’ll end up with a whole nation of both spouses each secretly spying on each other, searching for the ‘tell-tale signs’ that their beloved ‘until death us do part’ husband or wife, is shagging someone else.
But what good will it do?
From my own experience, I learned two big lessons from being on the sharp end of infidelity.
The first was that although the agony of rejection was worse that being physically beaten up – no-one could see the depth and scarring of the wounds of betrayal on the outside, which makes it a deeply lonely experience – the fact dawned on me after a few months of intense suffering that actually, I was still alive and functioning, no-one was dead, and maybe it was my attachment to the importance of fidelity that was the problem, and not the action itself?
When you are whole and sure of who you are, then infidelity does not have quite the same impact and so will not hurt as much.Everything hurts more if it touches on your insecurities. If you are secure in yourself then you are not so easily destroyed.
Personally, I don’t choose to be in an intimate relationship with someone who is having other intimate relationships elsewhere, not because it’s ‘wrong’ or means I’m ‘not enough’ – but because the quality of that relationship will be pants. It’s hard enough to have a meaningful honest loving intimate relationship with one person – never mind having another one on the side. I want grown up relationships – not ones that I use to make myself feel special and loved. I’ve learned that this is my job – not a partner’s job. I’m responsible for how good I feel about myself, not them.
And that leads me to my second learning. What really began to cause me emotional pain wasn’t that we couldn’t trust each other anymore. It was that he had not been brave enough to tell me that he wanted to have a relationship with someone else. It was that horrible realisation that our ‘relationship’ was a mirage, an illusion, and perhaps it had never had any depth and strength to it at all. We had just assumed love made strong relationships. It doesn’t. You have to put some work in.
The ‘work’ needed for relationships is not about sacrifice nor bullying your partner into behaving in socially acceptable ways (because insisting someone behaves a certain way ‘or you’ll leave them’ is actually a form of bullying) – it is about learning how to trust each another enough to tell the truth, even when that truth is painful to the person you love.
I feel sad that someone can be so low in self-esteem as to keep ‘searching’ for proof of a possible infidelity; a punishing exercise….However I did have to find my proof; I knew that something was way wrong in our long marriage, sadly I was correct… learning to know ‘You’, is key; learning to trust can follow. Old habits can change and love, companionship and fun can be the result. Susan Cowe-Miller: Hampshire EFT
Making a different choice
Wouldn’t it be amazing if instead of sneaking around making secret texts, your partner was able to sit down and talk about what’s going on for them, in a space of non-judgement and unconditional love? And if the idea of that makes you laugh – just think about it. We get the relationships we choose. So what choices have you been making lately?
If your partner is using relationships to feel loved and special, then the problem isn’t that you have ‘failed’ to provide that sense of love and specialness. Because it’s impossible. They will seek forever to find it and never reach that place of peace. Because it isn’t outside – they already have it inside them if only they could see it. So instead, why not choose relationships where your spouse is emotionally mature and secure enough to realise this, and build a strong and honest communication without fear or judgment, so spying on each other would become utterly redundant. You’d just ask a question, and receive an honest answer. Surely it can be that simple – can’t it?
Well…. not simple. It takes some training. Which is why Counsellors and Relationship Coaches have so much to offer. These skills are rarely learned from our parents and so we need to find good teachers. The Relationship Experts on the Alternative Divorce Directory spend time helping couples stay together, as well as to part in ways that build a strong and trusting relationship.
“In my experience once the impenetrable boundary has actually been broken, shame can lead to further betrayals of trust. We might feel ashamed because we don’t see ourselves as somebody who would betray another’s trust so we lie to cover the original behaviour. Other ways of dealing with deceiving someone is to minimise what’s happening or to make ourselves believe but the other person in the main relationship doesn’t care anyway, so it doesn’t matter. All of these ways of distancing emotional discomfort or pain provide alternatives so we don’t have to recognise the once impenetrable boundary is broken. So the ’emotional dance’ between the main couple changes the moment that someone else comes into the couple relationship, a change in the dance is usually enough to signal problems within the relationship, courage by both adults is needed to be able to acknowledge the change.” Adriana Galimberti-Rennie Associate Fellow British Psychological Society and owner at www.painlessdivorce.co.uk
How can you ever trust them again?
I remember thinking “I’ll never trust him (or any man) ever again.” That’s a shit place to be. But if you focus on how you’ve been wronged, and paranoiacally search for evidence (possibly bringing in the kids to help you search on Facebook to spy on ‘that adulterer’ – I’ve seen it happen) – then what kind of world are you creating for yourself? If someone lies to you they deserve your compassion, not your hatred. Be glad you are not them. If you want greater honesty in your relationship, you can’t use the truth as a weapon – making it your reason to leave.
If a partner knows that by confessing their infidelity, you are going to end the relationship – of course they’re not going to tell you the truth based on those rules. Sneaking about trying to prove them a liar (having set up the situation so that lying is going to be the most obvious choice if they want to remain in a relationship with you) – is never going to help relieve the pain of the truth, nor create solid foundations for a strong co-parenting relationship if you decide to split.
I learned through my co-parenting relationship – a totally new relationship, that slowly grew out of the ashes of the old one – that you can actually learn to trust again. Not as a romantic partner, but as a father to my children, and someone who cares for his family deeply. I learned that I could respect someone again whom I once despised, and that the level of honesty is founded on not only his level of emotional maturity, but also mine.