Elodie of New York Dating Life interviewed me at length regarding my book content and other assorted relatable questions. She gave me pause for thought with some of her unique inquiries! Hope this bit of information goes a long way.
Elda M. Lopez fully understands the consequences of unfaithfulness. Her book; THE (IN)FIDELITY FACTOR: Points to Ponder Before You Cheat, provides insights and exercises that will help you prevent infidelity and cope with the hurtful repercussions on the emotional, physical, and psychological levels. She has so much to share and there is much to learn from her. Her book is a true inspiration while also being a one-of-a-kind self-help manual.
Read her insightful interview below.
1. How did you become an infidelity expert?
I have experience with it on both sides of the fence. My ex-husband cheated on me, and I’ve been the “other” woman. I’ve also done a ton of work on myself trying to make sense of it, from both points of view. As cheating became more prominent in the public eye, I became increasingly annoyed with infidelity gone wild. No one is really addressing it effectively, if at all! It’s becoming normalized. Not good. I wrote my book to bring renewed attention to this unproductive behavior. While researching and having first-hand conversations with people, I became even more curious and fascinated by the subject. I continually experienced learning curves. Although I don’t judge this behavior, I’m still surprised by some of the stories I hear. I have to keep stepping back. I’ve gained so much from the experience, ironic as that may sound. Infidelity is definitely not one size fits all. Having dealt with it in this manner has given me a unique perspective, along with valuable insight regarding this issue.
2. What is the (in)fidelity factor?
The (in)fidelity factor is not just the subject matter that the term implies. It’s much more than that. It encompasses the entirety of this chaotic situation. It’s an examination of the whys and why nots, the backstories, along with the emotional, financial, and mental components. And the crazy-making fallout stemming from anger, revenge, retribution, hate, broken homes, damaged children, heartbreak, bankruptcy: financially and at the soul level. Not to mention madness, mayhem, murder, dismemberment (hello, Lorena Bobbitt and copycats) and all other assorted actions that are direct by-products of infidelity. These are not exaggerations. This stuff is real! On the upside, I discuss tools and skill sets to hone in order to work through it all. I cite simple examples that most people can relate to. The premise is infidelity prevention. Hopefully, people will “get” it before it gets them. As you can see, infidelity is a situation that spreads its thread long and wide.
2. What are the main principles we can learn from your book? The main principles are: Awareness, in the most basic and deep-rooted sense. Also, most people don’t understand that the trickle-down effects impose themselves on society at large (bankruptcy, government aid, mental health issues, etc.; resulting from infidelity) and – we’re all society at large! We’re fortunate that we have services that can help in times of need, but how much better would it be if the situation could have been avoided in the first place? Exactly. Education, or rather reeducation. We have to recreate and apply a more effective approach to dealing with this subject. I list some ideas in my book. One being; we need to discuss infidelity in high school. These kids have hormones raging, are risk takers and act out. They may also have examples at home that are not in their best interests. Why not start at this level to help them along to gettin’ healthy? And, personal accountability. This is key. This lends itself to personal growth, which in turn helps create a healthy individual, who in turn is more apt to enter into a healthy relationship. I could go on and on about each of these, but you get the idea.
3. What advice would you give to a person who is fearing infidelity (very inquisitive and not trusting)?
First, you have to examine where that feeling is coming from. Is it a past romantic experience, an issue with a personal background or family situation? You have to get down to the nitty-gritty, otherwise, that stuff will fester and create all kinds of problems. If someone is continually looking for the other shoe to drop, they may, in fact, push their mate in a negative direction with all the questions, accusations, etc. Self-defeating behavior; you’ve created something that didn’t exist based on you not wanting it to happen in the first place! This is where therapists, spiritual counselors and the like, come into play. Someone may not even realize they have an issue until they can untangle the emotions that are creating the discomfort.
4. Should you trust your sixth sense over the trust in your partner/date?
I guess it depends if your sixth sense has a high accuracy rate. If so, be mindful but don’t jump to conclusions. We each have our own personal and unique abilities to suss out situations. If history has shown that you’ve made good decisions by moving away from a situation that doesn’t “feel” right, well, there’s something to be said for that. However, our own preconceived notions can get in the way as well. Know thyself.
5. What advice would you give to a person who is considering cheating?
I’ve been in that situation. As I said, I don’t judge anyone who chooses to cheat. But, I have told someone, “If this is what you feel you must do, be very aware of the consequences. It could backfire on you and your family. People could get hurt, including yourself. Think about it thoroughly before doing something you’ll undoubtedly regret. It might be time to address certain issues in your marriage as well.” And – read my book! I didn’t say that, only because I hadn’t written it yet. I would certainly try and piece out why he/she feels that this is an option they want to explore, then I would explain my experience. Not so pretty. I’d also suggest speaking to a trained professional before dipping their toe, or whatever appendage, into those murky waters. That might help them think in a different direction.
6. How do you help your clients survive infidelity consequences and not be a victim of it?
Honestly, I’m not a fan of the phrase “surviving infidelity” or the word “victim.” I’ve used neither in association with me. Those words place so much emphasis on the lack of individual self-worth. Although, I do understand why people say it. If we look at the strict definition of victim, it makes sense, but to label yourself that way just seems to reinforce the lack of self-empowerment. It really is a pet peeve of mine, but I don’t begrudge anyone who wants to claim themselves as such. To me, the real victims of infidelity are the children involved or those who’ve suffered forms of abuse. I went through one of the most difficult times of my life when my husband cheated on me, but I never considered myself a victim. I married for the first time at forty-three years old. My self-worth had long been a part of my personality. But, to answer your question, of course, I’d say read my book as a starting point. It really is an easy and effective read. It’s a good eye-opening introduction to this particular issue. I’d then do as much listening as possible. We don’t listen enough! I’m as guilty as anyone at times. We do plenty of lusting and loving, but listening; not so much. I would acknowledge their sorrows, gauge their emotional state and based on this, either suggest therapy, more books to help them along their way or recommend another resource that might be appropriate for their particular situation. I’d definitely suggest some sort of stepping stone to take. There is no time limit to grieving, but I would encourage an individual to also give as much time to the positive aspects of their self, and lives. Wallowing and self-pity aren’t your friends.
7. Can flirting be considered as a form of cheating?
For me, no. I know how to draw boundaries and not engage in ambiguous behavior, which I suppose flirting could be considered to some. Then again, a little flirting goes a long way. However, if you’re out and about instigating situations, chances are that behavior will be misconstrued. If your intent is to draw attention to yourself for all the wrong reasons, you just might need to reassess what’s going on in your world. You have to be very aware of your emotional intelligence. Emotional I. Q. We actually need to teach that in school as well!
8. Is it worth continuing a relationship after infidelity has played a part in it?
That depends whether the mates involved have the care, courage, and wherewithal to get to the other side. It will be hard work. No doubt. There will be huge trust issues that must be addressed, as well as the reasons for the behavior in the first place. Again, I can’t stress enough how important it is to have a professional work with you. It’s very difficult for two people who are so intimately involved, to be able to see their relationship objectively. Also, seeing yourself, in the same manner, is equally challenging. There will be steps forward and setbacks. The dynamic of the relationship will change up radically, which is a good thing. It obviously needs to! There is a high incidence of having a healthier and happier relationship if you can keep moving forward. It takes two to make or break a relationship. Yes, the person who colored outside the lines did the unfortunate deed, but that doesn’t mean the betrayed individual isn’t also responsible on some level for the disconnect. People don’t get that. It’s easier to keep pointing a finger and blaming. I had to take a hard look at myself after my husband’s infidelity. Yes, my ex was the knucklehead (I used much more creative language to describe him when I discovered the indiscretion) who broke our vows, and that certainly is one-hundred percent on him, but what was my part? Turns out, a lot.
9. Are some people more inclined to cheating?
There are many opinions about this. I would think that someone who had poor examples set in their family (such as my ex) would have a higher probability of taking action, but I also don’t deny that others work hard to avoid that at all costs, precisely because the examples were so poor. They don’t want to do what they saw done to their mother/father, etc. It gets tricky. There are also medical or psychological afflictions that can lead one toward infidelity. That’s not my area of expertise, so I really can’t specifically speak to that, but it is a reality. Do you think astrological signs have an influence on cheating? I have no idea. I do appreciate astrology, although it doesn’t drive me, it’s not something I’ve thought about. Interesting question. I may have to look into it!
10. What can people do to avoid being cheated on?
Well, if you’re bringing your healthiest self to the table, such as being communicative (unfortunately, men aren’t really taught that particular skill, yet another thing I discuss in my book), caring, an attentive listener, compassionate and a team player, then I believe the chances of infidelity decrease. Healthiest self means a fair amount of personal growth is realized and is consistent. There’s always opportunity to up that ante. Truth is, if someone really wants to cheat, there’s nothing anyone can do. You can not control another person’s behavior. All we can do is properly gauge our reactions to external situations.
11. Are there ways to predict if your date will cheat on you?
If your radar is good (I guess this goes back to intuition, discussed earlier), you should be able to pick up on some red flags. I’ve ignored red flags and it usually doesn’t wind up in anyone’s best interest. If you’ve been on enough bad dates, hopefully, you’ll be able to ascertain whether someone is a good fit or not. Truly learning from your mistakes and moving positively forward comes will benefit outcomes. Be good to yourself. If not this person, another one will come along better suited, as long as you continue to value yourself.
12. Should you come forward after you cheated?
That’s a big question. My instinct is to say, yes, because obviously there is a problem that isn’t being addressed and it has led to an unfortunate situation. Self-gratification and quick fixes, like infidelity, do not bode well in the long run. Usually, the newness of the fling wears thin and you’re left with another set of problems. That’s putting it mildly. There are those who say if it was a one-time thing, why bother to upset your mate? I think it would be difficult for that incident to be buried and supposedly, be made to disappear. Suppression could very well manifest itself in other forms. I’ve never been in that particular situation, so I can’t answer authentically, but I don’t think I’d like to be on either side of the circumstance. Yes, I’ve been the “other” woman, but I wasn’t in a committed relationship and wasn’t responsible to anyone except myself, which is bad enough. Infidelity is a big secret to hold. I wouldn’t want the burden.
13. Anything you would like to add?
So much! I’m very passionate about this subject. Sometimes it’s hard for me to stop talking about prevention. I guess I’d like to say, although I don’t believe infidelity is a crime, I do think a monetary punitive charge should be applied. Tickets are given for speeding, running red lights, etc., why isn’t there a literal price to pay for infidelity? I certainly don’t mean to suggest we should give tickets for infidelity, but I do believe there should be a monetary consequence. It’s a very damaging circumstance. People actually die because of this! Why aren’t we being more proactive in helping to decrease the incidences? It will never be eradicated because humans will do what humans will do, but why aren’t we doing more about it? Along with a fine, I think six months of therapy should be mandatory. It’s way too easy for someone to cheat, defeat, and repeat. The pattern continues, in part, due to a lack of personal accountability. Makes me a little crazy. Time for us to get progressive with our thought. Time for a big change-up!