I don't know what it feels like to hear the words, "I'm not in love with you anymore," though Diana does. Nor do I know what it feels like to send your child off every second weekend to live with an ex and his former-affair-partner-turned-girlfriend. But Anne knows. And I certainly don't know how it feels to live with a man who won't give up his "extracurriculars" even at the risk of losing his marriage. But many women do.
The thing about betrayal, though, is that the details rarely matter. They're eclipsed by the overwhelming feelings of loss, shock, rejection, abandonment that all betrayed wives share. All those primal emotions that strip us of our defenses and reduce us to feeling like infants.
That, however, is where we lose sight of our own power.
No we can't control another's feelings or actions. But – and here's the important part – we can control our own. We can refuse to participate in another's manipulation of us. Abuse of us. We can state our needs clearly. Then, if they're not met, we can decide to walk away. If you haven't figured out what your needs are yet, having spent a lifetime denying you have any, start with this: You need to feel safe.
We owe it to ourselves. We owe it to our children. To insist on being treated respectfully.
It's not easy, especially if we've never behaved that way before. It can be terrifying. But, in the end, all we have is ourselves. And if we let ourselves down, how can we expect others not to do the same?
- Join the Club...and Share Your Story
- Share Your Story: Finding Out (This section is full.)
- Share Your Story: Feeling Stuck? (This section is full.)
- Share Your Story: Multiple Affairs?
- Share Your Story: Feeling Stuck: Part Two (This section is full.)
- Share Your Story: Feeling Stuck? Part Three
- Share Your Story: Finding Out Part Two