Identity theft is a hot topic across the web. There’s even a marketplace for all of our valuable personal information called the “dark web.”
There’s also another place in our livelihood where identity theft is commonly at risk: infidelity in a relationship.
When one or both partners decides to step outside the relationship and pursue other sources of connection a common risk that is overlooked is the impact that affair will have on each partner’s self-identity, the identify in the relationship, the identity of the children, and possible impacts on extended family and professional connections.
We are meaning making machines. We strive to curate our life narrative in a way that depicts who we believe we are and how we live our life. Our story enables us to navigate our current state and predict the future path. Our self-image and identity are tightly woven components in that narrative.
When a partner cheats, that current narrative we derive so much meaning and predictability from can become blown up. Big emotions take over and our view of the narrative and ourselves can explode and become shattered.
Like a mirror being dropped on the floor. Hundreds, if not thousands, of pieces scatter and a self-image, our self-identity, can become distorted and incoherent. Immediately placing us in a state unable to make sense of ourselves and the story of the relationship.
Immediately, our mind becomes a super editing machine. When the news of an affair is shared our mind can go into overdrive attempting to edit the established narrative. The objective becomes an obsessive focus on investigating the past and re-writing what we believed to be true. We become hyper vigilant reviewing the past timeline focused on trying to make sense of new details, the new unexpected twist to the plot.
The current interpretation of our narrative that we based ourselves and others on has been immediately revised and who we believed we once were is now something we are not sure actually was.
Part of the process of healing from an affair involves making sense or meaning from the experience and eventually developing an amended version of the old narrative while also curating a current and future version.
During this “next chapter” in your narrative don’t be surprised if you identify and connect with old, new, and different parts of yourself that you were not aware existed based on the previous narrative.
Don’t be surprised if you have on-going mixed emotions about the experience. Allow yourself space for self-compassion, healing, exploration, and transformation.
While identity theft, in your relationship, can temporarily disrupt your life it does not have the star power to dictate how the rest of your life story plays out.
With support, time, and full intention you can orchestrate your narrative however you desire.