Do people only care about themselves? Is being alone the answer to avoiding pain?

Is being alone the answer to avoiding pain

By Sarah P.

An individual who reads our Transformation Thursday emails posed a question, which certainly warrants further exploration.

Our reader mentioned this. Please note the original message is paired down:

“Today’s culture makes people only value themselves…People only care about you when they want to….Being alone is the only sure bet of avoiding hurt.”

This is something, which I have often pondered, as well. I have always assumed that I ponder these ideas  since I have worked in the field of infidelity recovery for eight years.

However, there appears to be some truth to the idea of widespread selfishness or widespread “somethingness.” Last night, I saw several articles appear regarding the upwards trend in “gray divorce.” People filing for divorce and separation during the COVID lockdowns is also at an all-time high.

People who are finding others outside their marriage – as a form of escapism – appears to be at an all-time high.

Families are being shattered into a thousand pieces by infidelity. The hearts of the faithful are being battered, bruised, and beaten.

A darkness has descended onto betrayed individuals, who have given the gifts of boundless love and boundless trust, only to tricked and to have these precious gifts taken for granted.


Is Being Alone the Answer to Avoiding Pain?

Human relationships are nuanced and human behavior can be changeable when exposed to unusual situations.

However, I tend to believe that stress and uncertainly can bring out an individual’s character, whatever it may be.

People with lack of integrity may be able to hide their lack of integrity, during stable situations. People who have always lived, a life of integrity often hold onto integrity as a compass during stressful life events.

There are people in the world who have unshakable integrity. If you have unshakable integrity, it’s best to learn about how another person with unshakable integrity behaves.

We cannot look at a person’s physical appearance to determine integrity. We cannot look at their smile to determine integrity and we cannot look at their positive attitude as signs of integrity.

After all, the concept of behaving nicely is a social construct, which anyone can emulate.

Niceness and kindness are two different things.

Nice people can also be selfish people, for their “niceness” always serves them well, and smiles and empty promises, are free.

Kindness, on the other hand, is a fixed behavioral pattern, which is linked to integrity. A truly kind person has integrity, for they follow the Golden Rule, even when life is hard. For kindness and integrity really are intertwined.

A kind person is kind when no one is looking and a kind person is kind when they have NOTHING to gain.

We can protect ourselves by living a life of kindness and integrity. We must hold ourselves to high standards of behavior, at all times. We must look at our own actions and see if we treat someone a certain way because we want something from them. And we must teach others how to treat us, by setting boundaries and sticking to them.

If we are kind at all times, behave with unshakable integrity, and refuse to associate with those who do not have integrity, we have decreased the number of people, within our sphere of influence, who are there to use us.

The Awakening Poem

The Crown

I don’t have cable, but the television series, “The Crown”, has absolutely captured my attention. Specifically, the portrayal of the relationship between Prince Charles, Princess Diana, and Camilla, has been the best study on infidelity that I have seen in a fictional show.

I believe Princess Diana was a kind person with high hopes for her marriage. Her unbridled love for Prince Charles was unmistakable.

But, Prince Charles could not see past his own arrogance, selfishness, entitlement, and Prince Charles lacked integrity. He was given many chances to make things right, but like a spoiled toddler, his needs were the most important thing. His selfishness was so extreme that it caused him to be blind to the fact that he had a devoted wife who would have done anything to earn his love.

Even the positive and unselfish kindnesses that Princess Diana gave to the world, caused Prince Charles to Gas-Light Princess Diana and verbally decimate her self-esteem.

Prince Charles was already a selfish and untrustworthy person. He found Princess Diana’s kindness to be a threat and he constantly complained to his mistress – Camilla – about how terrible Princess Diana was, when Prince Charles was the terrible one.

Prince Charles ended up marrying Camilla, but his selfishness existed before he met Princess Diana and his selfishness exists to this day.

In Summary

Is being alone the answer to avoiding pain

Well, it’s certainly one way of avoiding being hurt by a romantic partner.

But, there is an alternative. Good people do exist. It sometimes takes time and effort to find them.

This brings me to an 80’s song:

Owner of a Lonely Heart by the band Yes.

Would you rather be the owner of a lonely heart or the owner of a broken heart?


    15 replies to "Betrayed Spouses: Is Being Alone the Answer to Avoiding Pain?"

    • Sue

      I can relate to this article in so many ways. My husband had an affair with a co-worker for two years. I was going through cancer treatments at the time. So needless to say he is/was very selfish. Once I found out about the affair and kicked him out of our home he begged to come back. Told me the affair was over. That was 8 months ago. We have not been romantic or sexual at all. I’ve tried several times and he pushes me away. I am done trying – why is he being so selfish and will not communicate with me. I feel like I might be better off alone.

      • Aimee

        Hi Sue,
        I feel for you. My advise kick him out permanently and find someone else. You are worth more. He is probably cheating again. It appears he only came back because he needed a place to stay. I may be wrong and he could feel guilt and shame but you have a huge red flag. Not wanting to be intimate indicates something is up. Don’t let him break you again. My husband waffled coming back several times and leaving. It was the most painful experience. If I could go back, I would never allow him to return all those times. Good luck.

    • Mary

      It sounds like you are alone anyway.
      I am sorry this happened to you.
      I am not a counselor and don’t know what to say but noticed your post with no replies yet.
      Hope you have a few friends to love on you.
      My husband always said he didn’t have it in him to compliment or affirm me. I accepted this until he accidentally texted me something meant for an employee he was apparently in love with.
      I try to process it but she died not long after that so I don’t know if he would have left me for her.
      Not comparing that to your plight. It says a lot about your husband’s selfishness. Almost like it isn’t personal that he behaved so terribly. Of course, I know it is too personally painful to feel it “isn’t personal.” You deserve better treatment.

    • Another One

      1.5 years after Dday and I still wonder if my first reaction to hold onto m marriage at all costs was the correct one. Certainly kicking him out back than (even if only temporarily) would have avoided me a lot of pain.

      • Aimee

        Hi Another One,
        It wasn’t the correct first reaction. I did the same. It cost me dearly. I am no longer the person I was and worse I feel being alone is the only way to avoid pain. Many people believe that standing for the marriage is the correct thing. These individuals are broken but it is us the betrayed who try to fix ourselves. We then take them back but they never fixed their issue. So they are bound to repeat it. I did Dr. Huezinga’s course the statistics of repeat cheating are very high. However, if you just kick him out without fixing yourself you will end up choosing someone similar from the Hero’s Spouse. So you see – it appears that the solution is being alone. Some argue that they are in a midlife crisis to explain their behavior but not all individuals in a crisis cheat. So no there is no excuse for lacking morals. I finally figured that out. Like you, I tried to hold on to my marriage and without a doubt it was wrong. Not because if I had let go he would have come back but because I would have avoided a lot of pain. Worse, if we are honest – why do we hang on to someone that does not want you? Not judging you I did the same or maybe even worse.

    • Aimee

      After going through infidelity and all the pain and suffering, gas-lighting, manipulation, etc. I say a lonely heart is better than a broken one in my opinion. However, this post assumes that because you are alone you are lonely. That is not always so. The book Codependent No more and many other websites help you learn to find happiness in you. When you truly learn that you are responsible for your own happiness you find you don’t need anyone to be happy. This does not mean you don’t need human contact; you can have friends and date if that is what you need. But finding the happiness in you gives you this sense of peace. You know you are not dependent on someone else, especially when this individual could be a selfish, crappy human being. My second suggestion, the book Love Must Be Tough. Don’t chase, beg or compromise. You not them are worth it. After all it was you who displays a higher moral fiber (honesty, integrity, etc.). Value and validation yourself. Find a way to love you. Your spouse may or may not come back but I often ask myself why would I want him back after all the pain and suffering he has caused me. He did not care enough for me to make it right or do the right thing. True he is broken and has trauma based on all the articles explaining infidelity but show me a person who does not have trauma and I will buy that excuse. We all have trauma whether physical or emotional. Yet, some of us manage to keep our unshakeable integrity. They did this because they were willing to lie and deceive to be selfish. Most importantly, do what you must for you. Only you can decide what will make you happy. Is saving the marriage and/or standing, chasing, begging wrong – no one really knows. In my case it did not help. And, I feel that trying to save my marriage was wrong. If he did not want to save it why should I. He caused the problem it was not for me to fix. Never believe you can save a marriage if only one is willing. But most importantly do what you must for you. Do what you think you need to do to be happy even chase. Just know that regardless of what action you take you will always regret it if you fail. So don’t be to hard on yourself. However, if you succeed you will view your actions as correct because we don’t tend to examine behaviors that get us what we want. We only focus on the ones where we fail. Be kind to yourself, your wayward spouse has already demonstrated he isn’t going to be. Love yourself above all things is my advice.

    • Sarah P.

      Hi All,
      I love all the supportive comments on the thread.

      About being alone…

      Yes, being alone, doesn’t mean a person is lonely. If a person finds wholeness within, then they can be alone without being lonely.

      The song “Owner of a Lonely Heart” represents a universal question that many people ask themselves.

      Love the books Love Must be Tough and Codependent No More.

      Also, all relationships exist in on a spectrum and there are so many factors that affect whether or not to divorce. One always has to wonder about how the future will look when weddings happen and when grandchildren are born. ❤️

      I support all in their journey to find what works for them, since each person knows what they can tolerate and what they cannot tolerate. 🙏✌️


    • theresa

      I have two thoughts here.
      I sat next to a “mature” women at an free open air concert. In the course of our conversation she said something that stuck with me. When she wanted to do something, she would make 2 calls for company. If there was no taker she went by herself. My first reaction was admiration (maybe a little envy). She did NOT sound lonely.
      I thought, here is someone who is comfortable with herself.
      There are many personal reasons for staying, children, money, healthcare, fear, a promise, false hope, to name a few. However, when you wake up every morning feeling bad about yourself, seeing no light at the end of a very long tunnel, do you question your reason for staying? Have you made concessions that have chipped away pieces of yourself until you don’t recognize that person in the mirror? Are you living or existing?

    • Angela

      I’ll just take being alone. I’m one of those people who ever feel lonely even if they haven’t seen a person for days. It’s when you expect to see them and be with them, they let you down and leave you lonely.

    • Angela

      CORRECTION: I’ll just take being alone. I’m one of those people who never feel lonely even if they haven’t seen a person for days. It’s when you expect to see them and be with them, they let you down and leave you lonely.

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