Embracing Infidelity

Posted on in On Our Radar by Cleo Everest

How Today’s Epidemic
of Infidelity Can Lead
to Happily Ever After


There are two kinds of pocket calls—the one where someone accidentally dials your phone and you listen to a bunch of nothing, and the one where you listen in as your partner is on a date with their lover. I’ve experienced both. At least the latter comes with a Thanksgiving-dinner-sized helping of emotional and spiritual evolution.

But I had to eat it to reap the benefits.

My story is utterly pedestrian. Married, two children, spouse kicks off double life at a business conference while I’m at home catching pureed vegetables in midair. This tale is so played out you that could write it for me and nail every detail.

Except maybe this one: my former spouse’s affair was like the kiss of a prince—I finally woke up.

I have made a colossal evolutionary leap, emotionally and spiritually. As if a trapdoor opened beneath me the night I answered my phone and heard my husband order a bottle of wine to “take to our room,” and my life as I knew it became extinct. Wiped out. Vaporized by the comet otherwise known as infidelity.

I don’t have an explanation for this, except maybe that the Universe knew how unconscious I was and felt really bad for me, but three days after I discovered my husband had tossed me to the curb, I sat under a full moon, and some powerful magic happened.

I realized that I created infidelity in my marriage.

Which is not to say that I am in any way responsible for my former spouse’s affair. This is different. I, through a series of choices big and small, led myself right to the inciting incident in my life’s story. As if on a stage, a full moon the lone spotlight, I stood up from my chair and said, “I get it—I needed this. I am not a victim, I am a beneficiary. I’m going to figure out exactly why I created this in my life. This is about me, not him.”

And off I went on a nonlinear journey, spelunking my own inner caves. I spewed enough tears on Limantour Beach to raise the sea level. Mt. Tam braced herself for my arrival as I set out from Stinson to climb to the peak and back, over and over. On the way up, I left a trail of fear and anger and pain. On the way down, I made space for courage and compassion and love. And tequila.

I swore off any media that sniffed of help, self or otherwise, in favor of experiencing the fallout of infidelity and divorce organically. In other words, I called my mom four times a day. The Chump Lady Survival Guide to Infidelity had to be shelved, sadly. I didn’t need to hear, “Mama? What’s Narcissist Ego Chow? Does it have high-fructose corn syrup?”

Instead, I nurtured a relationship with my soul, on my own. I dated myself and listened as she talked about needs and boundaries, and how important it is to find happiness from within. I trained myself to stay present in the moment, no matter how painful the circumstances, catching the subtle messages sent from all corners of the Universe. Every time my mind wanted to engage with negativity or carve up someone else’s choices, I intuitively knew I must ask, “What is going on inside me that needs my attention?”

With determination, I chipped away at the layers of false personas I had constructed throughout my life because I didn’t think the real, authentic me was good enough. And when I got down to my own skin and bones (and fat cells and stretch marks and freckles), I fell in love.

A seismic shift occurred. I grew up. In other words, I evolved.

As with other giant leaps in the history of evolution, the suffering caused by our current epidemic of infidelity has the potential to launch us all on a transformative rocket ride. Remember the comet that shook the earth to its core when it face-planted in Mexico? Bam. Life forms. The Bubonic plague? We mutated in a most advantageous way.

The epidemic of infidelity? We just might figure out this whole relationship thing after all!

Suffering has a way of giving us exactly what we need to thrive.

But do we have to keep blowing apart our families to get it together?

I’ve spent the last four years reading thousands of emails sent to me by those who have discovered infidelity in their partnerships. It’s the same story—relationship hits turbulence, and the next thing you know a thong is stuck to your rear end when you get out of bed, but it’s not your thong.

All the excuses trotted out for our inability to remain monogamous are red herrings, some so outdated I feel like I have to step into an exhibit at the Museum of Natural History just to get my bearings. We no longer need to propagate the species or improve upon our genetic makeup by spreading the seed. Screwing the nanny doesn’t insure the health of the species, evolution does.

There is no excuse for cheating on your partner, so let’s stop pretending we can’t stop doing it.

How about this as an alternative: have conversations, not affairs. Emotionally evolve without suffering and discover how magical a human union is when two beings join together without conditions and expectations and force-fed fairy tale madness. Come together in love, and when the relationship has served its purpose, lovingly part ways with integrity, grateful for lessons learned and proud of how we conducted ourselves. Let’s leave relationships without shame, without shaming.

Our relational focus is ready to shift from a quest to find our soulmate to a quest to integrate with our very own soul. When we bring our whole selves to a relationship without an agenda (big party, must make babies, nobody left to watch football with anyway), the relationship flourishes.

My mother has said umpteen times that life isn’t complicated until you, yourself, complicate it.

It’s time to stop complicating our lives with infidelity and embrace this modern-day opportunity to evolve.

Cleo Everest hosts The Weekly Call, an hour of virtual, emotional yoga to help you spin magic out of infidelity and divorce. She is also the author of His Giant Mistake, a real time account of her adventures post-pocket call. CleoEverest.com

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