Thursday, November 1, 2018

Here's the difference between acceptance and tolerance

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.)


  1. I've decided to stay at least for now (separated with H for 4 months) but i do not know if this is the right decision since my H is still in his affair with his co-worker. He show no regret/remorse at all-maybe he no longer love me or he is in deep fog. Sometime, i feel that i am so stupid still holding on and hoping for miracle to happen.
    Is it make sense that a person can forget and give up a 16 years relationship within short period of time and fall for someone and worship over someone? (Being together for 16 years, married for 5 years).


    1. Anon, I agree with Gabby and TH. You need to do what is right for you. I would suggest finding a therapist for yourself. I searched for someone who was licensed and specialized in betrayal. My therapist supported me and took into account what I needed and wanted. It was a great sounding board for me to walk through the recovery process. One thing from my own experience and seeing others here you do not need make a decision about whether you stay or go. You will know when it is the right time to decide. But whatever you decide you can take care of yourself and focus on what you need. You cannot control him. You can only figure out what you want and need and establish the boundaries and expectations. At that point it is up to him. It might take time for him to wake up and get out of the affair fog. As my husband has told me when he was in the middle of it all he had to tell himself all these things otherwise how could he do what he did to the one person he loved most. For my husband he started by betraying himself first then it was like an avalanche and he could not undo what he did. My husband had two affairs over ten years, they were sporadic but still no small thing.

      Take care of yourself and focus on you.

    2. AA, let that bird go and if he comes back only then can you have a marriage and if he doesn't he was never yours in the first place. I hate guys that are abusive like this to you. You don't deserve this type of treatment. I don't think he is in a fog at all, he knows exactly what he is doing. The word "fog" tries to normalize his behavior. Fog makes you think this is normal and it isn't. He is taking for granted your unconditional love. Four months seems like forever while you are barely able to breath, chest hurts, tears won't stop. You say being together for 16 years and married for 5, do you ask yourself why isn't it 16 years of marriage? You cannot have 3 people in a marriage. He is betting you won't leave. You probably have always been there for him. He thinks this is still the case. You sound like you love him to your core. Until YOU see this as abusive only then will you draw a line in the sand. This is not your fault, you didn't ask for it, nor did you deserve it. You gave it all and he knows this. What have you put up with from the past with this dude? I bet a lot if you think about it. I know how you feel, I was afraid my H would leave me too and there wasn't really any reason to feel like this. You deserve to find yourself and see what YOU want. You sound resilient. You sound strong. Just sit on the fence as long as you want, until you figure it out. Figure out what is right for you. If you have let him take advantage of you in the past then you don't need to heal on your own, you need therapy. I thought I loved my first husband too but he let more bad into my life than good. My boundaries let only good in and bad out.

    3. Hi LLP,
      Yes, i bet he knew i won't leave him and that's why he got no sign of remorse. He is my 1st love and i'd been with him since 16. We've been through a lot of things throughout these 16 years.
      I do not know how long will i still need to figure out what i want-to stay and fight or to let go but i know one day i will be able to find out.


  2. Lost_AA
    I’m sorry to hear your husband is being a down right ass.
    If you are separated, are you living together? What do you mean by you have decided to stay?
    It’s more than likely your h is in the affair fog and headiness of the fantasy life.
    He is clearly disrespecting you and the boundaries of marriage and relationships by blantantly still carrying on his affair with the ho worker.
    You are not stupid for holding on and living in hope, but if your husband is not prepared to stop ALL contact with the affair partner and seek counselling ASAP, it’s going to be very hard to get him to wake up and seek what he is doing is cruel and wrong.
    I hope you are in counselling, even just for yourself. Know that you are worth so much more than these what these lying cheating cruel people that have done to you.
    I too, can’t undrstand how years of loyalty, commitment and love/marriage etc can be gone in a blink of an eye with these husbands.
    Take care of you.
    Gabby xo

    1. Hi Gabby,
      We no longer stayed together, i moved out and currently stayed alone. Actually my H requested for divorce but i do not agreed with him and choose to stay/hold on this marriage for a little while.
      The main problem that i am facing is my H never want to admit that he is having affair and keep on emphasis that he is alone but his behavior/action speak louder than words. They even went for holiday together.
      I am not in any counselling, healing alone. I am now trying hard to be alone and enjoy every alone time.


  3. Oh Anin i am so sorry. It’s awful i know. I’m not going to tell you to leave or don’t leave. What i know from my experience is we have to do things on our own timetable. What you’re doing is not a waste of time but i hope you are doing things and putting processes in place for your future whether it’s with your h or not. But sometimes when you get to a point of radical acceptance of what happened and we make a radical move they awaken from that “fog”.

    I just wanted to reach out to you to say that. I get what you’re doing. And yes 16 years is a long invested relationship. It’s hard to just leave. I was at 34 years. So yes lots of history there. Hugs to you Anon

    1. Hi Trying Hard,
      I guess no one can tell me whether to stay or to leave as i am the one who is going to go through that life.
      I've join some exercise classes after work to fill up my time and to look as fit as i can.
      One day, he might regret that he lose a great wife that he once had.
      It's good to have all of you here.


  4. Oh he knows very well what the cost of his choices are to our marriage and relationship. I believe he feels remorse and regret for everything he ever thought or did to justify his behavior. He lives with me and sees me when triggers and reminders show up. I tolerate zero in all areas of our life together. I speak up and I am heard. He desperately wants forgiveness. He doesn't expect me to ever trust him again. I am still waiting for the acceptance to kick in on my part. That is the gift to myself that I continue to work on. Acceptance means I must accept that 40 years with him was really 40 years with a lying, cheating, selfish and entitled man who pretended to be Prince Charming all the while he was indulging himself whenever and whereever he was. It is a challenge. I'm still up to it and I'm still here. The problem is that we all want Prince Charming when love is new and exciting and we expect Prince Charming to grow and mature as we are doing. That obviously didn't work out for me. Three years plus a few months past D-day and I still marvel at my spouses ability to be a chameleon for all those years. He is not that guy anymore. He loves the guy he is now. He is honest and transparent and loving that he doesn't need to hide anything from me. The question is, "What will it take for me to accept that he is now the authentic man he says he is?" I admit there is still fear on my part even though I know I will be fine if things do not work out.

  5. Hello. I needed some advice and support. My husband and I have been together for 12 years and married 9. We were bestfriends before we began dating. Well, he had an affair 2 1/2 years ago with his assistant. I found out when something told me to look into our business cameras and seeing it for myself. Mind you, my sister was working for him as well and had no clue this was going on. We went to therapy and had since reconciled. We communicate more but at times I was getting triggers and flares of anger and would rethink the incident. I can't get the video off my head and certain things puts me 10 steps back where I'm sad, disappointed and feeling depressed. Like recently. We have a 10 and 7 yrs old. My husband developed a friendship with one of the lady's from our kids daycare/aftercare. I just recently found out that they talk and text on the phone. He did mention to me that she became of friend but I didn't realize the consistency of how much they talk. I don't like it and express my feelings to him. He keeps insisting there is nothing there just friendship. I found out he would call or text her after I leave the house to take the kids to school. Or when I leave our business to pick up the kids from school. I've been working with him for almost a year. So he's always with me. The calls and text were every other or two days thing until the day I saw it. So apparently he stopped reaching out to her and she hasn't responded but I feel they've been communicating and have this extreme thought that he deletes it. I have the urge to call her and speak to her. To tell her that as his wife I don't like it and wish it would stop.

    1. Anonymous,
      I'm so sorry for what you're going through. The problem isn't with these other women so there's little point in telling them how you feel. The problem is with your husband and his utter lack of boundaries and his utter lack of respect for YOUR boundaries. You have told him clearly that you don't like him texting/talking to this woman. It's a perfectly reasonable thing to be uncomfortable even if he hadn't cheated. But on top of his existing betrayal? Absolutely not. If he can't/won't stop communicating with this woman even as he knows the pain it's causing you (or the discomfort or whatever), then he's telling you that HIS comfort/wants/needs are more important than yours. They're not. Especially not right now when he should be doing everything he can to show you that he understands the lines he crossed and that he will never cross them again.
      You say you've reconciled? What sort of counselling is he in? Are you in any sort of couples counselling? Cause it sounds as though he still has a whole lot of work to do to understand why he cheated and how to make sure he doesn't do it again.
      As for your inability to wipe that video memory from your brain, I would urge you to try EMDR therapy, which focuses on traumatic memory. What you're experiencing is post-trauma and it's very hard to move past without specific treatment to help you "dislodge" those memories and "refile" them in a way that doesn't feel so immediate and excruciating.
      I'm glad you're here and sorry for the pain you're in. But your husband is completely out of line here.

  6. There is no reason to address my behaviors without consequences. Properly leveraged pain is my friend and it opens my life up to beautiful opportunities...but how I engage in pain defines what I learn.

    Ending the relationship is the most loving thing © could have done for her, me, and Us.

    No change, no change.

    1. Hey Cad,
      Yes, thanks for this. I agree. Putting up with unacceptable behaviour for any reason -- to keep the peace, to keep a family together, etc. -- ends up hurting everyone. When we have to face the consequences of our choices, we either grow better or bitter. Choice is ours. Witnessing you grapple with this (via Twitter) is heartening.



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