Infidelity is a gut-wrenching betrayal. As common as infidelity is, those touched by it often feel alone in their struggle to survive the pain. Knowing what and whom to believe when trust has been shattered can seem all but impossible. Below are 4 surviving-infidelity quotes offered to share empathy and inspire self-trust and hope for the future.
1. Betrayal can only happen if you love. — John Le Carre
When you think about it, life’s mysteries dwell in the chasm between polarities. In this space, the energy of both sides gets absorbed, and we feel the tossing and tugging as we try to make a singular sense of them both. Human beings want certainty and often cling to the illusion of a black-and-white world as a metaphorical life raft.
The polarities include among others life/death, spirit/physical, male/female, joy/sorrow, and love/betrayal. Some, like life and death, we have no choice but to confront. Others, like love and betrayal, we consent to implicitly in our quest to experience life’s most generous offerings. In doing so we secretly hope to be spared from the pain love brings alongside the pleasure.
We learn, by accepting the invitation to love, that the value of what elevates us is anchored by potential devastation of equal magnitude. The choice, of course, is to risk the fall by rising or to stay on level ground and experience what eventually becomes the monotony of nothingness. Only by accepting and living in the “tension of the opposites” do we stop trying to cling to one side or the other.
More food for thought on the duality of love and betrayal.
Often inspiring surviving-infidelity quotes can’t be reduced to a short sentence. The great Lebanese-American poet and philosopher, Kahlil Gibran, breathes poetic life into this duality of love and betrayal in his masterpiece The Prophet. His chapter On Love, quoted here in part, presents a sobering challenge to anyone who would seek only the pleasures of love.
For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you.
Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning….
But if in your fear you would seek only love’s peace and love’s pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love’s threshing-floor,
Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.
Yes, betrayal will shatter the heart that has loved fully. But that heart has known fullness…and can again.
2. You never know how strong you are until strong is the only choice you have. –-Unknown
One reason it is so easy to come unraveled in a crisis is that we rarely prepare for the specific crisis in which we find ourselves. We have to figure things out from within the crisis itself, drawing on life experience and knowledge gained along the way.
Think about the conditioning athletes go through to prepare for competition. All those squats, bench presses, sprints, and miles get the athlete ready for the day of competition. They can’t always predict how that training will come into play, but they know it will.
You can always work to develop and condition your mental strength. And you can draw inspiration from people who have done the impossible in order to save their own lives against all odds. You can build emotional resilience as a kind of insurance policy to help you bounce back more quickly from the inevitable blows life serves.
3. Sometimes your heart needs more time to accept what your mind already knows. —Unknown
Emotions play a powerful role in decision-making. Because they are a subjective experience of the world, unique to each person, they can often seem at odds with the voice of reason.
If you are trying to survive infidelity, you know that every facet of your life — emotional, physical, financial, practical — is having its say. And what one area wants or needs, the others may not be ready or able to give.
Surviving-infidelity quotes can seem kitschy, even cheesy when life feels so heavy and hopeless. But they can offer you a quick hold on a more hopeful reality when your mind has trouble focusing and resolving. A short mantra like this can be a quiet voice of both reason and emotional validation, whispering encouragement in the background of the chaos.
Be gentle with yourself during this time. Know that both your mind and your heart are pointed toward your highest good, despite the different timing and paths to getting there.
You don’t have to disregard one to indulge the other. Allow the messages from both sources to inform and guide you — even if the message is to wait before making a lasting decision.
4. Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don’t know how to replenish its source. It dies of blindness and errors and betrayals. It dies of illness and wounds; it dies of weariness, of withering, of tarnishing. — Anais Nin
This may be the most poignant of the surviving-infidelity quotes presented here.
Death, in all its forms, drags a ball and chain of sadness, regret, anger, and what-ifs in its wake. The fact that nothing will be the same again — or perhaps even be again — can be more painful than what a person can immediately embrace.
There is a call to accountability in Nin’s words. It’s not an assignment of blame, but a reminder of the role we play in the destiny of our own love relationships.
Nin also buries a promise of hope and a call-to-action in her message: It dies because we don’t know how to replenish its source.
We don’t know how. And when we know better, we (can at least choose to) do better.
Infidelity, for all its blindness, errors, betrayals, and wounds, doesn’t have to mark the death of a union. It does, however, require the couple to move beyond it, which is never easy, and learn how to replenish and nurture the source of their love.
You always have the choice to confront, individually and as a couple, the blindness and errors that led you to this place. Life is about learning. And marriage is about reflecting what we have learned…and inspiring what has yet to be harnessed.
There is no magic potion or quick fix for surviving infidelity. Surviving-infidelity quotes and inspiration are always within reach. And yet, like stepping stones to help a traveler across turbulent waters, they don’t solve the problem at hand. They don’t put marriages back together. It takes hard work and often objective help to do that herculean job. But for those starving for a seed of hope that things will get better, one little ray of enlightenment can be life-saving.