Today, I stumbled upon a podcast that said: It's Not Your Fault if Your Partner Has an Affair.
Although I knew the podcast was mostly geared toward those who were still in relationship, I thought I could get some good stuff out of this one. And I certainly did! Because those thoughts get to everyone who has been through the devastating pain of infidelity. I didn't entertain them long after the discovery, thankfully, but they did affect me, and there are still twinges that come out from time to time. Like today. When I have a small fight / disagreement with one of my kids, a little voice whispers in my ear - see, that's why your husband left you because you're selfish and over-sensitive. No one really wants to be with someone like that.
But then I got to thinking. When my kids do something that upsets me, I still love them. Fiercely. Love does not abandon or betray a person just because they didn't meet some supposed need or they upset you or you don't have a perfect relationship. No one has a perfect relationship.
I didn't only blame myself for the affair, but my ex spent quite a bit of time listing his disturbing bullet-point list of all the things I'd done wrong. Strange, before he'd met her, he'd never ever once mentioned a single one of those to me, nor had he ever said he was unhappy or wanted to go for counselling. So, I smell a rat here. It looks like he was deflecting the blame from himself. I'm not going to take that into my soul. I'm not going to hear all those soul-destroying words he threw at me.
Anyway, back to the truth that I want to relay to anyone who may need it:
1. No matter what's wrong with a relationship, having an affair is a moral choice and it's not the way to heal a relationship, nor even the right way to get out of a relationship if you want to leave. Yes, if the relationship is not going well, usually two people are responsible (not in a shaming way, but they could probably do with some pointers and counselling on how to improve the dynamic). Just because two people are responsible for maintaining a healthy relationship, does not mean having an affair is justified. Choosing to have an affair is a morally irresponsible and deeply violent and selfish act. There are so many other ways to deal with relationship problems.
2. Because the one who had an affair chose that way, the other partner in the relationship is NEVER to blame for the affair. They are hurting and should never, ever be blamed for it. That only makes the hurt much worse. It's like whipping a wounded dog. Never allow anyone to tell you that it's your fault. And don't go inward and try to find ways that you could have done things better, blaming yourself while you're at it - that's just a way of trying to control the situation because you're afraid of it happening again. (Nothing wrong with learning from the broken relationship though.) Common phrases like, "did you make him happy?" or "did you meet all his needs?" or "did you put your marriage first" are all painfully damaging and destructive. I've had those thoughts. I've even had some people ask me such things. Yes, I wasn't perfect. No one is. But that's not the point at all. Think of it this way: What if your partner was bedridden or paralysed due to illness and couldn't cook your food or give you sex, or meet whatever "needs" you have? Would it be okay to have an affair then? No! Unfortunately, some religious people also teach that our bodies don't belong to ourselves but our partners. What balderdash. This is very damaging stuff and can open people up to abuse in relationships. Your body is yours and yours alone.
|Oracle Card made by Me - Copyright (c) K. Bosman|
(Thank you to Divorce Source Radio and David of closeconnections.ca - who shared the podcast.)