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!