I know that sounds harsh to blame you for the heartache that has been inflicted upon you by your lover, but it's the truth! Sometimes the truth is hard to embrace, but if your partner is a perpetual cheater, you must embrace the blame. It is not as if you lined women up in front of him and forced him to choose, but you are at fault because you have not taught him that cheating is unacceptable. You see, the most important lesson you can ever teach your lover is how to treat you!
You teach people in general and your lover specifically how to treat you by what you allow, accept, tolerate, communicate and demand. By not teaching these lessons effectively, you set yourself up for heartbreak and disrespect. Therefore, you have to accept your role as the teacher and realize that you are responsible to set the parameters for what is acceptable and preferred treatment by your partner. When bad behavior first presents itself in a relationship, it is up to you to address it, correct it, embrace it or leave the relationship.
Hoping that he will change is always a bad strategy. You do not give anyone multiple opportunities to hurt you. If you have allowed and accepted cheating or any bad behavior from your partner for six months, six years or sixteen years, and then decide after all of that time that you want it to change, IT'S YOUR FAULT. The first time it is shame on your partner; the second, third or fourth time it is shame on you. I know he promises it won't happen again or that it didn't mean anything, but how many times does he have to lie to you before you figure out he is a liar and can't be trusted with your heart?
By accepting cheating or any bad behavior, you teach your partner that hurting you and keeping you in pain is acceptable. The time to correct bad behavior is IMMEDIATELY. away. You have to set the standard and establish the consequences for cheating, or you can simply put a bandage on it and wait for the next time. When you see the first glimmer of a potentially negative behavior, ask yourself if you can live with it for the next forty years. If you cannot live with it, you have three choices: correct it, train yourself to live with it or walk To stay, pray and hope it will change after the pattern is embedded is INSANE.
It's like raising a child - when that child exhibits behavior that is not positive, you lovingly correct them, teach them the right way and set some consequences in place that will teach the child that their behavior will not be tolerated. You reinforce the lesson until it is learned and if they resist the lessons, you reinforce the consequence. You don't wait until your child is thirteen or fourteen to try to correct bad behavior that should have been corrected when they were two. By the time they are teenagers, the behavior is embedded and will be almost impossible to change.
Accept the responsibility of the teacher and decide how you want to be treated. You decide what is acceptable and what is not. Any behavior that does not coincide with how you want to be treated needs to be examined, addressed and rectified.
Stop blaming him and instead look at all the ways that you have taught him that it was okay. By your actions you taught him that you would be mad or sad for a while, but it was okay - you would get over it and he could continue to be disrespectful and hurtful because you would accept it. Sure you would be angry and maybe even turn your negative attention toward the other woman, believing that she was the problem instead of him or you, even though he is the one who you are in a relationship with and the one that needs to be instructed on how to treat you. I am always amazed at the men some women fight to hold on to and what they will endure to keep them. It is as if they crave the pain and cannot let go; even though they are embarrassed, hurting, minimized, and disrespected, they remain in the relationship too afraid to stop their own pain.
It is extremely important for you to look very carefully at your actions and how those actions signal to others how to treat you. If you neglect yourself, others will neglect you. If you don't make you a priority in your own life, then no one else will make you a priority in theirs. Demand to be treated well and treat others well; set the standard and advocate for yourself. Start by acknowledging your truth and learning to love what you see in the mirror and not comparing yourself to some ideal of beauty that the magazines tell you is worthy of love. Regardless of what some partners may tell you, someone else will want you, and regardless of what your background and life experiences may have taught you, you are worthy of love, support and respect. You are a one-in-a-trillion miracle, unique in all your ways, and you deserve to be treated with the dignity and respect due a rare jewel.
Set a new agenda and demand to be supported and appreciated as a part of the relationship foundation. Set the standard for what you will and will not accept. Let your partner know that you have no tolerance for cheating and make it clear what the consequences are if he does. Don't be so desperate that you will take anything and everything. If you plan to be minimized, neglected, and starved for attention and affection, then accept that kind of treatment from the beginning and train your partner from the start that you will accept being treated poorly and taken for granted.
If you recognize your value, you can teach others to recognize your value as well. It starts by knowing you, knowing what you need to be happy and how to communicate it to your partner. You are your lover's first teacher - a person interested in you watches you, sees how you treat yourself and allow others to treat you. He gathers the information, takes copious notes and then gages his actions and responses accordingly. Create a new normal for your life. Start off being completely you and treating yourself well. If you start a new relationship off by not speaking the truth, giving everything and expecting nothing, then most likely that is the way it will end.
It's time to establish new relationship habits that will nourish you. Habits that you can live with and rely on for the next twenty, thirty or forty years. Carefully craft your lessons and teach your partner what you expect, what will be a deal breaker and most importantly how to love you in a way that is meaningful to you.
When it comes to relationships, choosing whether to go or to stay is a hard decision for most. The decision is coupled with love and pain and is agonizingly difficult to make. Each person must do what is best for them, regardless of the opinions of the people around them. The decisions that you have to make are yours and yours alone and so is the blame, fault and the resolution.
If you are tired of hurting and want a different type of relationship, visit www.JaniceMoss.com for books, articles, blogs and resources that can help you stop hurting.
Until then, love yourself totally and completely.