I think I am an asshole most of the time. Wait I know I am. I am selfish, conceited, and oblivious to the things I don’t care about. It isn’t that I don’t know about them, it is that I just don’t care. Take the election – I followed it, but really didn’t care who won. I still don’t, because at the end of the day each and everyone can make a choice to change. If you don’t like something do something about it. As Barbara Bush said, The way to make America great begins in the home (or something along those lines).
Oh yeah, I forgot to preface this post with a small warning that it may be a bit offensive, a bit unapologetic, and hurtful.
So I read constantly. I read current events, blogs about marriages, blogs about divorce, blogs about affairs and recovery, blogs about nearly everything. As I have been reading the affair blogs I have came across a pattern. Now most of these blogs are not written by people in my situation. Instead, they are written by people who are on the other side. They are people who have be cheated on and feel like their life, the one they thought they had, is gone. And to be fair, it is gone. There is nothing left but the two bodies that started the relationship. Neither of them are who they are anymore. Neither of them are un-scarred from the process.
What I have been reading lately from a lot of the blogs is the person who was cheated on not understanding why the cheater doesn’t understand how you feel. Why they are not more apologetic, why they can’t understand that you can’t put away the comparison issues, why they don’t recognize how much you are hurting, or why they are just being such assholes. I look at this and I think a few things are going on here.
It might be that the affair spouse does recognize all these things. I can tell you that I did see a lot of them in my wife but I was not sure what to do. I also had no idea how to handle them now everything had changed. Just as there is no set way for the spouse who has been cheated on to heal, there is no set way to mend things on our end either. We don’t know how to help and I know it is hard for you to know how to trust us enough to let us help.
We also are going through our own private hell that we all deal with differently. I know I personally hated myself, still do for the most part, and that makes it so hard to give ourselves the help the betrayed spouse needs. I mean who really wants help from a piece of shit, cheating spouse? Yes, I know this is just another selfish problem we have, but it doesn’t make it any less real. We tore your heart out and stomped on it and now we are supposed to believe you want us. We don’t even want ourselves so how can believe that anyone else wants us. You have to remember that we have not been living in reality for sometime.
Where the biggest issue comes into play is that in a relationship that probably already had communication issues, two more elements have just been added that make it even harder. The BS does not want to put trust in the AS to help and the AS doesn’t know or want to help because why would the BS want our help anymore. We are lower than dirt and so we really cannot be of any help. We try and set ourselves aside and do what we can but that means we push ourselves and our problems into the background or in my case, I just bury them so they no longer exists. Then we focus on those we hurt and try and help mend the relationship. The problem is we are really not completely present and the BS usually knows and then cannot really open up. It just ends up as a big cycle that just gets everyone frustrated.
This is where frustration sets in and without help, normally things just continue to get worse.
After the affair, the only way to heal the marriage is to leave the affair behind (insert shocked readers and feelings of hate). You cannot heal with two people being torn by something that is in the past. Now just to be clear, this is only to heal the marriage. The people in the marriage may still need to deal with the affair to heal. The BS will need to learn to rebuild trust, self-esteem, and a million other things the affair did. The AF will need to also rebuild trust, deal with the shame and pain of ruining the person you swore to love and cherish.
The marriage is a whole other issue. Each marriage has problems that led to the affair. If these problems are not addressed then no matter how much you work on each other things will just fall back into the same cycle that created the opportunity for the affair.
So what am I saying about all this? Stop blaming. Stop holding it in. Stop thinking it isn’t your fault. Instead move on and communicate. If you want to get better, just be honest. Stop worrying about hurting each other, that has already happened and there is not much worse damage that can be done. Instead, just be brutally honest and don’t hold back. That does not mean that you can’t empathize with you partner, but the best thing is to give them the chance to know everything and then let them decide how they want to react. If you need something ask for it. Do not assume your partner knows anything. Once you can get it out what you need, then it is up to your partner to respond. If they cannot give you what you need, they need to say so. Maybe they are just not in the mindset to help or maybe they cannot not do what is asked. At least it is known and the two of you can move forward with all the information.
I am sure I am the worse person to give this advice but it is really just simple. Ask for what you want and need. If your partner cannot provide them then you can revisit how important it is and if you can stay in the relationship. You never know, maybe your partner may surprise you and want the same things.
No problem is so big or so complicated that it can’t be run away from! ― Charlie Brown