Considering the Other Side

I remember shortly after D-day I was having a meltdown and my husband was trying to comfort me.  In the midst of his attempt he said “I’m struggling with this too.”

Looking back I can see he meant it as a “we’re in this together” statement.

But, at the time I remember thinking “maybe you are, but the difference is this is a self-inflicted wound for you.  Surely, that isn’t near as painful as being “shot” by the person you trusted most.  And by the way, don’t expect me to feel sorry for you.”

Now, just to clarify, I don’t believe he has ever expected me to feel sorry for him.

Anyway, for some reason I found myself thinking back on this today.  And I found myself wondering – is his self-inflicted wound just as painful for him as my “innocent bystander” wound is for me?

Maybe I have more clarity today…or maybe I’m going crazy today, but I’m actually considering the possibility of his self-inflicted wound being worse (at least to a degree).  I’m not trying to make light of our pain as BS’s – please hear me on this.  I know we are struggling daily.  I know we hurt daily.  But, consider for a moment the other side.  Consider doing something you KNOW is wrong, but for a season of time do it anyway because now your selfish desires are all that matter.  In a sense they have taken over.  Then the guilt begins to eat away, the walls to the fantasy life begin to crumble and at the same time the walls to real life begin to crumble.  You’re stuck in between two crumbling worlds.  And the kicker is you know you did this.  You know you’re the reason.  What is wrong with you that you can’t make either world function?  And yet you also know you could have prevented this mess that is now your life.  Yet, your selfish desires were all that mattered.  Then the devastation takes hold of your spouse and all you can do is watch – knowing again, you caused this.

I don’t pretend to know the mind of a WS…or even of a former WS, but I can’t help but think that for those who are trying to rebuild their marriages perhaps the self-inflicted wound is just as difficult (if not more so) to heal from.  Perhaps they see the many times they could have said “no” replay in their minds.  Perhaps the thoughts of “I could have prevented this if only…..” invade their minds as quickly and as often as the triggers invade ours.

Is that their “punishment”?  Is that the justice for their sins against us?  I don’t know.  And again, I’m not making light of our pain because I know we are all struggling deeply, but for some reason I find myself considering the pain of the other side today.

~RH

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10 thoughts on “Considering the Other Side

  1. Interesting post 🙂

    I have previously tried to put myself in my husbands shoes… not very successfully though, my pain always seems to win that battle, the “other side” is something I just can’t get my head around. Maybe that’s another thing that comes with time and acceptance x

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  2. I wish I could explain it well but I can’t. I know my wife is hurting as a BS and I do all I can to make sure I am there when she needs me. I have to be aware of all her triggers, which consequently become triggers for me and then I have my own set. In addition, while the BS may not care and at least in my case, I have feelings on both sides. I have hurt not one person but two, at a minimum. That doesn’t even count the peripheral damage done (family, friends, coworkers,…). I will never say that my pain is worse than my wife’s even if it may be because she had no control over that pain. I did and I have to live with that everyday.

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    1. Agreed. I would never think mine is worse than my wife’s. However, our pain and our shame is very real, but different from what our spouses have to go through. There are no winners in adultery – only losers.

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      1. Perhaps “worse” wasn’t the best word. But looking at it as bac4 mentioned (knowing you hurt 2 people, plus the peripheral damage) would certainly add to the guilt/hurt/shame…overall pain – in addition to knowing you caused it (not only to yourself, but to the others as well). I believe (and please correct me if I’m wrong) that the pain generated by the selfishness of an affair would (in a strange turn of events) leave no room for selfishness at this juncture. Perhaps it’s the turning point to seeing others with eyes wide open for the first time…or at least the first time in a long time.

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      2. Stupid smartphone, I wasn’t done typing. The thing about pain is its natural consequence is selfishness because it’s hard to think about others when you are in agonizing pain. Our hearts are slippery, devious things and they can turn the shame of our greatest failures into yet another reason to be selfish and feel sorry for ourselves when what we should be focusing on is other people. The basic point is still correct – for many cheaters, the road to recovery is a painful one.

        Liked by 1 person

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