At this point, we’ve already established that domestic abuse doesn’t necessarily begin and end with a partner being physically violent towards another. Abuse transcends the physical and also trickles down to the scars inflicted which cannot be viewed with naked eyes. It also includes-but is not limited to- emotional, mental, psychological, sexual and financial.
Did you know that infidelity could also be considered a form of domestic abuse? Psychologists are opined that the pattern of abusers and serial cheaters can be very similar. They both try to justify their behavior, deny their actions and sometimes, show no concern for their partner’s feelings.
These behaviors will inevitably cause pain, emotional torture, loss of self-worth in the receiving party; what’s worse, more often than not, gaslighting takes centre stage in these kinds of relationships.
Gaslighting is a form of manipulation whereby seeds of doubt are being sowed in the mind of a targeted individual, causing them to question their memory, reality, sanity and perception. Constant denial of cheating by one partner can lead to this grueling form of emotional abuse. How?
When you see signs like lipstick stains on his shirt, nudes on her phone but they constantly deny. He tells you it’s definitely your lipstick even when you know you don’t own that shade of lipstick. He swears on everything he holds sacred and even creates the perfect scenario where you planted the kiss on his shirt last week and the shirt was not laundered since then.
She tells you the nudes never existed when you confront her much later. She says it’s all in your head and you’ve probably been fantasizing about other women, that’s why you made the images up in your head.
The aim of the gaslighter is to make you question your sanity and your memory. The mind is a powerful tool and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to play with it, all it takes is an extremely manipulative partner and before long, you begin to think you’re going crazy.
At this point, the cheaters can carry out their heartless acts right before your very eyes and tell you you’re hallucinating. And you know what? You’ll fall for it hook, line, sinker after all, your mind has been playing tricks on you recently.
If this does not constitute abuse, I don’t know what does.
Let us delve into the world of the emotional degradation that comes with cheating. Cheating can be demeaning and make the one being cheated on feel like they’re not worth much or not enough to satisfy you.
Some men feel like there is nothing wrong with cheating- and sadly some women believe men will always cheat and they have come to accept it, I’ve never heard more rubbish in my whole life. Some other men know cheating is wrong but still do it regardless of the emotional distress they may be causing to their partners.
Cheating undermines and diminishes self-value. It is the same as abuse. Just like men that beat their wives say things like, “Why do you always make me hit you? You know I don’t want to hurt you.”, men who cheat frequently say things along the lines of, “You don’t give me what I want, how can you blame me for looking outside for it?”
And you begin to think about it and see truths in what he’s saying. You begin to feel less than you really are and you may be tempted to stick to this man forever because you feel like you’ll never be enough for any other guy. The truth is, no one deserves to put up with this kind of relationship.
Not every woman is feminazi to beat her chest and say that loser is out the door the moment he even thinks of another woman, be it the sexy waitress or even his mother.
Some women are more Stepford. They don’t care if their partner, especially their husband, is cheating. He’s a man, men are programmed to cheat. Besides, she took a vow to stand by him no matter what. Well, guess what? The moment he broke his vows without sparing you any thought, he lost his right to expect you to keep yours.
No one’s saying you shouldn’t forgive maybe once or twice, if he’s truly repentant and shows commitment to making the relationship work and quitting his bad habits, but when the cheating becomes habitual and is causing you emotional stress and heart ache, you have to reconsider your stance on being the picturesque wife or girlfriend and find your peace of mind away from this person.
Just like any other form of domestic abuse, cheating as an emotional abuse also embeds very deep scars that take time to heal. If you’re in this kind of relationship, identify the fact that you’re a victim and you’re being abused. The only way to bring an end to abuse is to run for your life.
There have been cases where a person was killed because their spouse wanted to be with someone else. Ever seen episodes of Fatal Attraction or Happily Never After? Even the Bible advises divorce on the grounds of infidelity.
You cannot reason with someone who thinks that cheating or polygamy is their right or someone who doesn’t care about how their philandering ways are affecting you. Just like any other form of abuse, the problem is not with you, it’s with them and when they refuse to admit they have a problem, you cannot do anything about it but leave!
No one- not even in the name of love- should make you feel less of a person than you really are. Never forget this.