Sunday, January 13, 2008

It's Not Trivial

Most of the time when I write for my blog, I am in a very positive space and feeling at peace and optimistic. That is not always the case – this season has turned my life upside down – sometimes the hurt and injustice give me a different voice (BTW- both voices are valid and real).. On occasion, I post to a divorce recovery group – and the following was my response to someone else who has been traumatized by infidelity and divorce:


Ok....this may be a little bit of a rant but my feelings on this subject are pretty raw. And I think as a society we need to reach a tipping point where infidelity is not so casually accepted. And it is accepted or at least tolerated. Maybe a more honest view of the impact of infidelity will go a long way toward reducing the divorce rate and
strengthening marriage.

There is a difference between stagnating bitterness (which is what we want to avoid) and minimizing the destruction that came into our lives because of not only our spouse's selfishness but because they found someone equally selfish to complete their act of betrayal. I think ... in all of our christian goodness we seek to be forgiving of the adulterers who created painful situations in our life. Be nice, don't be angry - I say feel what you feel. (You don't have to act on it, but if you need to feel angry feel angry). No voodoo dolls and such but acknowledging that your life plan was altered without your consent - that's just truth. I also think there is a difference between a foolish one night stand (ok - even a few weeks) and building what you expect to be
a lasting relationship with someone who is unavailable (if the person is married - they are unavailable).

And it is certainly wise to say don't focus on 'them'. However, I think there needs to be some REAL acknowledgment that the cheating spouse and their companion committed a serious violation. This is not to say - that the people we speak of should be punished but certainly the call is for some 'movement' (stigma) to be associated so that an effective deterrent exists. The destruction wrought by their "friendship" "love" "lust" or whatever they choose to call it is real and the impact goes beyond - it is not trivial. You cannot pretend it did not happen or that it was not a significant
contribution to the demise of your marriage.

Friend, I understand how you feel. I think it is offensive for them to pretend that the life they share now was not borne out of betrayal and deceit. I could at least respect someone who says "Yes my husband and I are better people now, but once upon a time... " In my case, the skank misunderstood our current marital crisis as an indication that our marriage was over and it was therefore "not wrong" to be my husband's close friend (mistress).  Of course, on some level she knew she was wrong - hence she kept their relationship secret from EVERYONE, not one of her close friends knew how frequently or too what extent she was in contact with my husband.

I told my spouse recently - that he made the mistake of getting involved with a woman who wanted my life - and in getting involved with her I guess he was trying to give my life to her. Unfortunately, for both of them - my life was not his to give (at least not for free). It is my life past and present. I am doing good things with my present and
expect to be financially compensated for my past (and stolen future - retirement funds, vacation weeks, etc). They are free to have whatever life they can build together but it will not be built on my back.

My hope that stories like ours are shared honestly with young people - so they have the option of making better choices. I was always told married men/women were off limits - at this point I know that tidbit of information was not passed on to everyone. Ed Young also has a really good series on this topic.