“Infidelity is a hard sell.” My new tagline. I know it seems oxymoronic, but in reality … it’s not. The journey with my book, THE (IN)FIDELITY FACTOR: Points to Ponder Before You Cheat has been all about learning curves. And apparently, I needed to round those tricky curves in order to realize the full spectrum of what I was/am up against. In my zeal and earnestness to tackle the topic of infidelity prevention, I didn’t fully take into account how much more there was/is to this subject. So much!
The huge scope of adultery is mind-boggling, particularly when it’s echoed time and time again, that, the majority don’t approve: 90% of Americans believe adultery is morally wrong. I’ve mentioned this stat before, but here’s another reiteration to drive the point home, literally. Yet, we’re not doing enough to address it and to add insult to injury, it’s met with resistance in the process of trying to do so. So where’s the disconnect?
I, personally, want to connect. I’ve reached out to certain groups to spread my word. Most thought it was a great idea, but the timing was wrong; some didn’t even bother to tackle it, and others were on the fence. One member in charge of acquiring speakers said he believed it was definitely a topic worth sharing, however, several members of the group had encountered the experience, and out of deference, he decided against engaging. Ironic, as this is precisely the reason there needs to be a dialogue! Who are we protecting by “respecting?”
I get that people need to heal (remember, I was one of those people) and do so at their own pace, but, if someone is there to support you on a level that is relatable and nonjudgmental, why not choose to hasten the process of understanding? This goes for everyone in the room. We can learn from each other’s circumstance. I know I have. It’s been unexpected and surprising how much I have. Talking about infidelity releases bits and pieces of shame, humiliation, anger, and pain. That alone is worth a chat.
The flipside being, I have found people that do want to talk about it … one-on-one. When I was interviewing individuals and recording their stories, I’d put down my pen and pad thinking we were ending the conversation, only to swiftly grab them again because other notions came to their mind. Once the thought process got going, it unleashed (and I’m going to say unburdened, cause that’s what it felt like to me) their memories and afforded deeper insights that perhaps weren’t uncovered or recognized prior. Even at book signings, people inevitably shared their comments or story. This happened over and over – and over.
But sometimes I get the impression wounded parties prefer secrecy, victimhood or stasis mode, which prevents healing and headway. Not to say you want your business out on the streets, but that’s exactly where, unfortunately, unbeknownst to you, it’s been taking place. Family, friend, and foe might already have the 411. Of course, when in the midst of infidelity pain, you don’t want to expose yourself, as you’ve just been overexposed to a profound betrayal. However, there does come a time when talking about it is the most caring and thoughtful thing you can do for – you, and yes, others.
I’m aware of one nonprofit, the Infidelity Counseling Network, that offers gratis counseling to those dealing with infidelity related issues. Unfortunately, they may not be able to continue. This quote from Executive Director, Laura Steuer, explains it, “Our challenge is funding. We have plenty of volunteers and plenty of clients, but it’s always a struggle to raise funds to keep our nonprofit operating – the issue of infidelity is hard for people to hear about so it takes a lot of outreach, marketing, personal connections, etc, to bring in donors. Their service is extremely generous and valuable, but apparently, it’s a hard sell – and it’s free! Okay, so the money has to come from somewhere, but why not fund a service that is committed to making a positive change? I know of another company that, regrettably, did go under due to lack of activity. This company was promoting a healthier way to initiate relationships, especially if priors had been affected by betrayal. Another organization had to cancel a full-on infidelity seminar with several speakers (myself, included) because people didn’t physically want to be present, even though there was a tremendous amount of interest and inquiry. It was later reintroduced as a virtual summit – with 500 participants! The cloak of anonymity runs deep cover when dealing with infidelity.
On one hand, we don’t want rampant adultery, but, we also don’t want to literally show up en masse to discuss resolutions and we’re not supporting organizations that are doing their best to remedy this chaotic, life-changing event. Again, mind-boggling.
Infidelity, specifically its prevention, will continue to be a hard sell unless we switch up our mindset. The damage incurred through betrayal is too great to ignore. Ask your friend, your neighbor, your uncle, the local barista, that famous celebrity, or fallen politician you may know; about the harmful and devastating backlash. Better yet, ask yourself. Then, be a part of the answer.