Even The Betrayer Has Feelings

I was reading through some comments on another blog that I follow, and she was talking about how her husband had behaved during a disagreement. Some of the commenters were very displeased with his behavior, being that he was the wayward spouse. This got me thinking, even though our spouses may have cheated, even though they may have been selfish bastards, even though they broke our hearts into tiny little pieces…they have feelings too.

I remember one time during all of the crap JR and I were arguing about something, I have no idea now what it was, but he looked at me and said, “You know, I have feelings too. None of this has been easy for me either.” It’s taken me over two years to realize this. Through out most of this recovery process I had the mindset that I was the only one who was allowed to have feelings, I was the only one allowed to hurt, and that simply wasn’t fair. I know, I know…he was the dirt bag. I get it. However, he is my dirt bag and he has his own feelings about this.

Whenever I can step back from my situation long enough to look at it from the outside I imagine that JR may actually have a worse time dealing with this than I do. If this man that I share my life with loves me even half as much as I believe he does then the guilt of what he did to me has to be unbearable at times. I know it pains him to look at me and think of the hurt that he witnessed me go through. He has the memories of me in the back of an ambulance and has to live with knowing he put me there. The shame that I know he feels about our children knowing about the affair, all of our friends knowing, our extended families knowing, his colleagues knowing, all of this has to be unbearable at times. I left him no safe place, I screamed from the rooftops about what he had done to me.

In the first year of recovery I believe it was all too much for JR to deal with and that’s why he shut down emotionally. We both walked through our life like zombies for the first 18 months of this. What I have now is so different. We are both changing every day. We are healing.

What I would suggest to all betrayed spouses who have decided to try and heal their marriages is this, the next time you are having a disagreement just try to think for a second, about how your partner may feel at that time. Try and remember that they have feelings about what is going on same as you, maybe even more feelings than you. If you know that they do in fact love you then they are dealing with your pain and their own pain. When I was hurting the most I can honestly tell you that I didn’t give a shit about what or how JR was feeling. I was all about me, me, me, and he tried to be. I would get so angry because he wouldn’t react the way I thought he should. Looking back I wish I would have been able to think of him more, I wish I could have been more constructive with my arguments instead of destructive. I was a total bitch…many times. I called him every name in the book , and a few new ones I made up just for him. There were times that he would get equally as angry with me, and now I realize it was OK. He had to deal with his feelings, same as I had to deal with mine.

Now when we talk about the past, when we reflect on how far we have come, we both see how all over the place he was. Both of our lives got flipped upside down simultaneously, and we had to muddle through it together and alone. Many times we both wanted to quit and walk away, I’m so glad we didn’t. Every day we feel better, and for the first time it’s sticking!

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6 Responses to Even The Betrayer Has Feelings

  1. Still Loving Him says:

    {{{Thank you}}} You described exactly what it’s like in a “fight”. I don’t give a shit what he is thinking and actually in my head I’ll start saying over and over “I hate you”. I’ll even stare him down and think it, wishing he could hear my thoughts. Sometimes I spill over and actually say the words “I hate you.” I almost always regret it as soon as they are out of my mouth.

    My husband has said to me so many times “I’m a human being too and I have feelings” but in the moment I’ll think, no you’re not human your less than human because a human with feelings would never have done these things.

    Hopefully as time passes I’ll get better at this. When we get in our crazy cycle it takes very little for me to snap. This last round I said horrible, horrible things to him. The worst thing he said to me is “You’re a crazy bitch” and that hurt my feelings badly, so I can only imagine how the things I said affected him.

    I sometimes lose sight of the fact that under all the resentment I have for him I still love him and I still want him as my comfort every night.

    Thank you again for this post. You are such a kind and loving person. I imagine you as an incredible wife and mother.

  2. I whole-heartedly agree with you here. I have seen the pain my husband went through when he realized what he had done to me, lost his job, lost the respect of family, friends and the people he ministered to. He didn’t always do things right in how he handled my emotions in fact sometimes I felt he put his pain ahead of mine but I did feel compassion for him. The first 4 days of full disclosure I hated his guts. A week later I was forgiving him, (not denying my pain tho) and two weeks later I was doing damage control with his kids and our families. I didn’t want anyone to hate him. I wanted them to forgive him too. Every day he has to deal with the shame and humiliation and pain he has put over 2 hundred + people through that looked up to him. He will always be a black mark on our former community and in the denomination of our church. He can’t erase that. He will probably never preach again and that was something he loved. We both lost so much but now I can say we are gaining a whole lot more. I am so thankful I didn’t leave the blog world before I got to see your posts and the turn you have made. You give me more hope that marriage can be restored after infidelity. BS need more posts like this that offer hope!!! I continue to pray for you guys. Blessings!!!!

  3. Luckily for us this hasn’t been the case in our recovery. One of my first thoughts was how much the affair must’ve hurt her. W just suggested that it might be different because she’s a woman and most of the WSs seem to be male and I’m not sure she’s wrong. If you know our story you know that her AP was rock bottom for her. I have seen how scared she was to tell me and how much she hurts when I am hurting or scared. All I have asked is that she make sure I’m not flipping out when she brings up her issues. That’s the most selfishness I could manage. It’s working well for us. I can’t imagine any WS that wants to heal their marriage not hurting and I think that we, the BSs, need to realize that going in and know that marriage is a partnership and that selfishness, even not giving the WS the space to hurt, will slow down recovery. Sure things aren’t fair anymore but the goal is to get back to fair. We’ve decided to stay so getting back to fair is work for both parties.

  4. Thank you for this post. I’ve been struggling a lot lately and have been consummed with my own feelings of despair. I have completely lost sight of the fact that he is hurting too, he regrets what he did to me and it hurts him to know that he is the source of my pain, my crying, my confusion, my depression. I will try to remember that he has feelings too, and he is not enjoying this period in our life one bit.

  5. Interesting perspective – I am not really in a place where I care about how he feels. I can see his pain, but I dislike him so much that I don’t feel any empathy. At this stage, my goal is to tolerate him and try to control my outbursts. I even told him that I don’t care about him or love him (and it wasn’t to hurt his feelings – I truly feel this way). Your post shows me there might be hope for a change of heart in the future.

  6. betrayalsurvivor1981 says:

    Kayboo, your love for & forgiveness of JR–plus your strength & resilience–amaze me!

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