Transparency is everything to me. Even in my current practice and purpose, I always want to remain human in the eyes of my readers and followers. I never want to portray otherwise. I am not an expert that provides advice but never shows vulnerability. Regardless of all my formal training and education, I have experienced life—and I want to share my successes and failures with you.
Let’s talk about communication and the power it has over a relationship. I hear so much about love, trust, understanding, and many other important aspects of a relationship. However, the number one most important piece that often gets overlooked is communication.
The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.
— Peter Drucker
Whether it be, non-verbal or verbal, communication is an essential connection to all the other important pieces of a successful relationship. Without effective dialogue combined with active listening, and execution of what’s communicated, the relationship is ultimately doomed from the start. Arguing, endless debates, trying to win, gain control, or get the last word are all forms of counterproductive discourse that can lead to alienation, cheating or the end of a relationship. That’s where I lost the bond that connected me to a woman I loved.
Words of Affirmation
Before I begin, I want to preface the next few paragraphs by saying, I do not advocate-for, justify, nor agree with cheating on any level. It’s wrong no matter what. I was wrong, and I knew it when I was in communication with other people. The pain and hurt it causes cannot be minimized. Especially when the person completely and totally trusts you.
While I’m a Relationship Strategist, a portion of my strategy comes from personal experience. When I was younger, I didn’t always make the best decisions for myself or my relationship. As an adult, there’s a reason why I do not call myself an “expert.” Relationships are ever-evolving. They twist and turn. The people involved are from different walks of life. Styles change and forms of communication change. As a result, in order to shift and adjust with the times, I sometimes find myself reevaluating previous strategies and tactics.
In other words, what worked before, may not be applicable now. Calling myself an expert seems to be obsolete. Even to this day, I run into situations personally and with clients that cause me to pause.
Know Your Love Language
That being said, understanding your love language and your limits is extremely important to the success of a relationship. If you don’t know these things you will cause irreparable damage that you may not be able to rebound from. In addition, communicating your love language (in the beginning) to your partner is essential. They need to not only know, but they also need to make an educated decision to determine if they can consistently fulfill that need.
Words of affirmation – using words to build up the other person. “Thanks for taking out the garbage.” Not – “It’s about time you took the garbage out. The flies were going to carry it out for you.”
WOA is my primary love language. However, I’m going to take this form of communication to the next level. WOA is more than words that are stated. Affirmations can also be actions and affirm how you feel. Or, they justify the words you stated. Otherwise, those words are just…. shallow with no substance behind them.
That Time Communication Failed
This particular relationship was one of the most difficult I’ve ever been in for various reasons. Our communication was off from the start. We text chatted mostly instead of calling. Living in the DM instead of picking up the phone. That was the first mistake.
It’s important to realize, the DM isn’t bad. However, you shouldn’t stay there. Use it as a means to communicate, not the primary way to communicate. You can start there but quickly move off of it when both parties feel comfortable enough to do so.
Selfishness has no place in a relationship, and I was selfish.
Be that as it may, we didn’t do this, and it ended up being our demise.
As I said above, WOA is my primary love language. Additionally, effective/active listening is essential for me or I’ll eventually disconnect. This is what I did. The disparity in communication eventually wore me out and while my intention wasn’t to cheat, I did. No matter how much I pleaded with her to listen, stop fighting, stop arguing and quit the volcanic, temper tantrum blow-ups, it went right over her head—and over time I just had enough.
But I loved her—so it was not easy to let her go. I also knew how much she loved me, and to move on would mean breaking her heart. After all, she had been there for me during some tough emotional times. As a result, I felt obligated to stay. Which was absolutely wrong and ended in resentment for me, and even more hurt for her.
I Had a Code
Another key point here is that when I cheated, the intention was an innocent outlet to unload my feelings. It wasn’t to cheat. The conversations I was having were due to a disparity in my relationship. I was missing those words of affirmation. I was missing that active listening and understanding.
As I said earlier, when communication breaks down, everything else is affected. Trust, understanding, intention, sex, everything.
We stopped having sex, the trust was gone, and we were simply floating in a vast ocean of despair while waiting on the sharks below to finish us off.
I didn’t smash. I had a code. Even though the involvement with other women became more than I could have fathomed or what I intended, I didn’t have sex with them—I didn’t meet with them. The early beginnings were just legitimately honest conversations about aimless topics and various rantings of our unresolved emotional issues. They actively listened and empathized with me (and I with them). This is how I realized what was missing from my relationship. I never wanted to sneak around and have sex with other women, and I wasn’t being greedy or selfish. There were needs that were communicated to my partner that went ignored and taken for granted.
Still no excuse, but that was the deep well I dove down with no way back up.
Furthermore, the biggest mistake I made wasn’t the cheating, it was not realizing (soon enough) that my relationship was over and I needed to let it go no matter how much it would hurt her.
Gone Too Far With Communication
I was vulnerable but not ignorant. I knew what I was doing. The number of chances I had to end things and place a tourniquet on an otherwise hemorrhaging situation was numerous. Yet, I persisted. I was now caught in the matrix of emotional attachment. What’s worse? I was warned.
Jay, I know how you are. It may start off innocent, but you have this way of connecting with people. You’ll eventually hit someone’s emotional G-spot with [just] who you are. Eventually. they’ll begin to develop feelings for you. Love can be birthed from a mutual traumatic—emotional connection or commonality. Let it go. End the relationship and this sh_t on the side. I don’t care how she feels, you’re not happy. You can’t sacrifice your own happiness for someone else’s. You’ll eventually end up resenting them. You’re a communication person, and she’s not. It’s a match made in hell. Let it go.
Of course, I didn’t heed the advice of my good friend. Ultimately, the side woman did develop feelings for me.
Life is too short to stay in fruitless relationships.
The Final Straw
As time ticked past the 3rd month, wouldn’t you know it, I began to develop feelings for her as my relationship fell even further down the rabbit’s hole.
I had developed feelings for another woman while I was already in a relationship. Ultimately, I had to make a decision and I knew it would be a hard one. The problem with that? I didn’t make the decision fast enough. My girlfriend found out about her in the worse way and that was truly the end of our relationship.
We tried to make it work for months after that. Nevertheless, the trust was already gone, the communication continued its downward spiral (we wouldn’t talk for weeks), and we called it quits.
The most important lesson I learned through this experience is that you can’t compromise your entire happiness to please someone else’s vision for your relationship or your life. As a result, you will end up resenting them. If you settle and forget what happiness means to you, how you view it and how you receive love, you will end up resenting your partner. Meanwhile, despising their every word, their body, their touch, and even their presence. Together with that, you may not even want to go home. I used to go home, park at the end of the street, sit there for over an hour, and dread pulling up.
I used to wonder why the same married men would be posted up at the bar I frequented every evening. Now I understand.
In the same fashion, I learned that no matter how you feel, you can’t justify your pain by inflicting pain on others (intentional or not). As a matter of fact, you WILL hurt the other person deeply, and part of your resentment will be accompanied by regret. Mainly from the damage, you inflicted.
Finding outlets to cover the agony of your relationship with a topical treatment of conversation—even if you need it is absolutely wrong. Even if your mate isn’t listening, make the tough decision and move on before you make a decision you ultimately regret.