So you've decided to stay. At least for now.
Not much has changed. Maybe he doesn't believe in therapy, at least not for him. Maybe he's grumbling about violation of his privacy when you ask to see his text messages. Maybe things seem a bit better. He's home on time. He doesn't go out with his friends. He's drinking less.
And so you tell yourself that this is good. You're willing to let him stay. At least as long as he's not seeing her anymore.
Your kids don't know. Your co-workers know something was up but they've moved on to other gossip.
And you feel proud of yourself for accepting this new reality.
But have you? Really?
Or are you simply tolerating it?
What's the difference? you ask
Your heart knows the difference.
Accepting feels light, like a weight has lifted. Accepting might still hold sadness and grief. But it has let go of anger, it has let go of revenge fantasies. It has released you from blame. Acceptance knows that this is on him, not you. That it was his choice to cheat and nothing you might have done or not done isn't to blame for his decision.
Acceptance is rooted in self-love, in self-care, in self-respect.
Tolerating? Well, tolerating feels like a clenched fist and gritted teeth. It feels like resignation. And fear.
Tolerating is about counting the weeks, the days, the seconds.
Tolerating is low-level despair.
Tolerating is the where we experience the plain of lethal flatness. Exhaustion. Numbness.
Tolerating can have its role. It can keep us from fleeing when we're not entirely sure we want to flee. It can keep us upright and functional when we're suddenly single parents, especially when that's something we never wanted to be.
It can be a step.
But it's not a way to live.
And it can keep us dangerously in place when we should be fleeing.
Fleeing words like land like gut punches. About your looks, your age, your intelligence, your family, your parenting. Fleeing fists and feet. Fleeing control – emotional, financial, physical.
Tolerating any of that is the opposite of self-love. It's tacit agreement that you don't deserve more.
And that is an absolute lie.
You deserve love.
You deserve kindness.
You deserve respect.
And especially after betrayal, when you haven't kicked his cheating ass out, you deserve deep deep gratitude and support.
We know it doesn't always play out that way, at least at first.
Sometimes there's a period where he hasn't yet figured out just how idiotic he's being, when he's deep in the fog of his delusional choice and he's convinced he can somehow emerge perhaps not a hero but at least not a villain, when he thinks he can push this away and simply insert himself back into his marriage with barely a ripple...well, that's a period of time when we might just be gritting our teeth and clenching our fists and...tolerating his lunacy.
But for only a very short period. Like days or weeks, not months and certainly not years.
Because if he comes to believe that you will tolerate any level of betrayal or abuse or lack of respect or kindness or love, then he hasn't fully accepted the cost of his affair.
Let him know.
(If you are in an abusive relationship – any kind of abuse, whether emotional, verbal, physical, financial – please reach out for help. There are people out there who understand your situation and can guide you through: The National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233.)
- Feeling Stuck, Page 22 (PAGE FULL)
- Sex and intimacy after betrayal
- Share Your Story: Finding Out, Part 5 (4 is full!!...
- Finding Out, Part 5 (Please post here. Part 4 is f...
- Stupid S#*t Cheaters Say
- Separating/Divorcing Page 9
- Finding Out, Part 6
- Books for the Betrayed
- Separating and Divorcing, Page 10
- Feeling Stuck, Part 23
- MORE Stupid S#*t Cheaters Say
- Share Your Story Part 6 (Part 5 is full)
- Sex & Intimacy After Betrayal Part 2 (Part 1 is full)
- Share Your Story