Tuesday, December 18, 2018

It's Not Your Fault

I have a confession to make - I'm a bit addicted to podcasts. I listen to them when I'm cleaning, cooking, when I'm driving. I love hearing people drop pearls of wisdom into my lap. I love gleaning stuff from the experiences of others.

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
3. People who have strong self-esteem are more likely to heal quicker from the pain of infidelity. Those who believe that they are still worthy and lovable, despite what their partner or ex-partner did, are able to heal faster and better from the pain. I think I'm going to stick to the truth that I am enough. Yes, I'm enough. YOU ARE ENOUGH TOO! You have always been and will always be enough. Your worth can never be taken from you. By being human, you possess infinite worth and beauty. We all have flaws. That's what makes us human. No one is able to be the perfect partner or parent, all the time. We have a shadow self. But the beautiful thing is that shadow self is often our biggest teacher. In some religions, we are often told that those shadow parts of us make us shameful and horrible and displeasing to the divine. We are told to get rid of them. Thing is, we will never be able to get rid of them in this lifetime. We will always have things to work on, ways to improve, ways to become more loving. Yes, we do want to become more loving and more at peace. But, instead of seeing that shadow part of ourselves as icky and shameful and something to either suppress or to cut out, let's love ourselves despite that shadow-ness. Let's see that shadow as a gift to teach us many beautiful lessons. As soon as we start to love and accept ourselves as flawed, suddenly that feeling of having to be perfect all the time fades away. Instead we revel in our self-love and joy. Judgement drops its ugly barbs off our souls. And the less we judge ourselves, the more we can learn to love and no longer judge others. And the more loving we become. Kind of full circle, right?

(Thank you to Divorce Source Radio and David of closeconnections.ca - who shared the podcast.)






3 comments:

  1. Great piece, Kathy.So sorry about your painful life lesson with your ex. It looks like you are doing better, though and that's brilliant.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Nana. I only saw your comment now. Yes, I'm doing much better and the whole thing actually made me a stronger person.

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