There are way more deal breakers than infidelity, although that one tops the chart. Those who were unfaithful were selfish. Those who focused entirely on their career and justified it with statements that it benefited the family are often not less self-centered (or even selfish) and some did it all….the career and the dirty relationship.
It is not unlikely that one or more of the following terms are applicable.
From the least to the worst:
- Self-centered: A preoccupation with oneself and one’s own affairs, interests and welfare.
- Egoistic: Being centered in or preoccupied with oneself and the gratification of one’s own desires.
- Selfish: Action or motive that is lacking consideration for others. Concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit and pleasure.
- Egocentric: Thinking of oneself without regard for the feelings and desires of others.
- Corrupt: Having or showing a willingness to act dishonestly in return for one’s financial or personal gain.
In Post 15, I discussed personality disorders and of course, by all means throw these “disorders” around. We can also make it simple by thinking what does it mean to love someone?
Couples who are re-connecting can focus on what “love” means to them and how they can express love.
To me it means to listen to each other. To ask your spouse what they need, to try to see issues from your spouse’s perspective, to look at what you need to work on to make the relationship better and of course, to give freely. Couples who share deep love for each other grow together.
When one of the spouses went big time in the wrong, this spouse needs to take the initiative to undertake steps to repair, rebuild and re-connect. This means that if that spouse is ready to acknowledge that they were selfish, that spouse has to work hard on finding out where this behavior was coming from and how it escalated and, of course, this spouse needs to work the hardest on repair and re-connection.
Not all people who can be described by definitions 1-4, mean to hurt others. Many driven, motivated and hard working people, see pursuing their goals not as selfish but as what is expected of them. This is fine…but it is not OK, when you are no longer a single person, but have a family. With having a partner and kids, goals can no longer be YOUR goals only. They have to fit the family. Here is where many (men and women) go in the wrong. They are driven, feel work is important and they are passionate about their work and they are ambitious. They want to provide for the family and justify their choices as it benefits the family financially. By focusing on work, and not making sacrifices for the family, they lose focus. When conflict arises, behavior is justified as it benefits the family, but in reality it is the absence of sacrifice and the lack of willingness to meet each others’ needs that does harm to the couple and the family.
The interesting and sad part is not clear until years later. What was seen as a sacrifice in the past: Doing things with the children, being there for them on special days, having family outings, enjoying couple time, is seen as a missed opportunity years later. People do not regret that they did not make more money, spent more hours at work, and with colleagues. Many regret that they were not there for their kids and their spouse when it was most important to them.