My Rant on Betrayal | Grief, Mourning and Beyond
It felt like the end of my world, at least life as I’d known it. My spouse, to whom I’d committed so much to for 46 years, had been having an “affair” for a very long time. The one person who knew me best in life had betrayed me. How was I supposed to get through this?
The most painful part was feeling betrayed and lied to by the person who vowed to love, honor & protect me, till death do us part. Trust was destroyed in that moment in time. It was traumatic to discover that a part of our life was a sham lived in secrecy and deceit. How could he do this to our marriage? How many times had he lied, looking me straight in the eyes?
The last person I’d have suspected of having an affair was him. He was NOT that kind of man.
My Rant on Betrayal | Grief, Mourning & Beyond
- I had endured the ups & downs of marriage for 46 years and this was it?
- I had given the best years of my life to this man and this is how he repays me?
- After we had 3 children that I practically raised alone (as disciplinarian because he wanted to be loved) and he got all the points?
- After all these years of living with a single married man, giving him room to be who he was, this was it?
- After working at, and trying so many ways to improve our relationship… while he continually pushed away… this was it?
- Had I been so wrong to stay committed to someone committed more to himself than his marriage?
Asking the Hard Questions Ripped All Self-Confidence I Had Left.
I Asked Him Questions of My Own… But Got No Real Answer
- Why did you do this? Response: I don’t know.
- How long has this been going on? Response (at different times) 1 year, 3 years, 5 years. I never got the truth.
- Are you sure this separation is what you want? You’re not going to change your mind? He’d get angry and say he was sure.
- How are we going to do this? Response: Take what you want, I’ll give it to you. (the guilty conscience talking…)
My mind flashed back in time to a day he shared that he’d stopped for food at a local take-out. Since it’s just a couple miles from home, I asked why he hadn’t come home to eat. His reply was, “oh, I saw this woman from the post office there so we sat and ate together.”
I found that really odd so I just asked him, “Do you think it’s appropriate to eat with other women without me there?” He looked at me with a funny, puzzled look on his face and said no, he didn’t think so. I filed that thing away.
Now, I flashed forward a few years and discovered this is the woman he was seeing. How convenient.
He made the choice to turn away from the marriage. He made the decision to open the door to an affair and put himself in a situation that he knew he should not. No one can control what their partner does, no matter how hard they try. He was in total control and now, there were consequences.
1 Corinthians 7:15-17 “But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or sister is not under bondage in such cases. But God has called us to peace. For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O man, whether you will save your wife? But as God has distributed to each one, as the Lord has called each one, so let him walk…”
I’d always honored my husband by keeping our issues between him and me. I was not going to talk to outsiders about what our marriage was or was not. It was nobody else’s business. I simply talked to God about it.
God Was My Support System
Proverbs 3:3-5 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” God knows what lies ahead.
As I Sat In My New Home (one month later), I Cried Out to God, Again in Tears
- Why did this happen? We didn’t have a perfect marriage but who does?
- We had struggles. Why did he give up on us? Why did He allow this to happen? (hmmm… )
- Here I was, for the first time ever, living alone. How was I supposed to do this?
- I was on a very, very tight budget. I’m amazed that I managed. (with some help from my son & youngest daughter)
You See, as My Marriage Fell Apart, I Lost More Than a Husband
- The family life we’d been building forever was disrupted. The ending changed. The dream died.
- The family dynamic changed and that will never again be the same.
- Grandchildren were torn: if they spent time with me, they felt bad about grandpa being alone… and vice versa.
- Two of my children took it hard. It’s not easy, even for adult children to live through.
- My middle daughter (who already had a myriad of issues) has completely abandoned her mother… and passed it along to her daughter. This could become a #1 Best Seller, for sure. A complicated story in itself.
I will never counsel a couple to separate or divorce if there is one spark of hope left. It may seem like the perfect solution at the time but really, you’re just opening up a new can of trouble. The effort it takes to rip it all apart and start anew could well be spent in repairing the mess. Unfortunately though, to make it work, you need both partners’ commitment.
God doesn’t mind if you blame Him, scream at Him, or simply say “Why?” Jesus expressed these emotions himself when on the cross (Mark 15:34). He understands what we’re going through.
Deciding to Move Forward is Up to You. Within 4 Months, I Moved On
- It truly was a decision, facing reality and deciding that I’d lost enough time / years. I was 63 years old and was NOT going to grieve any longer or lose more of my life. I was moving forward.
- With God, my healing came gently. I knew I had to let myself feel each step of the grief and I did that. But, I was also not staying in each step for too long.
- After asking for the 50th time if he’d change his mind, if he was sure, he snapped that he wouldn’t and why was I still asking that.
- That was when I knew it was time to let it go. All trust was destroyed. How can you rebuild on that, working alone?
- He’d lied, cheated, sneaked around… and was unrepentant. He’d been going around for years telling people stuff about me that was not totally true. Everyone believed him. He’s that type of guy… so nice all the time. Hmmm… Someone once said “if everybody likes you, then you’re not being authentic.” There’s much truth there.
Several Friends Knew What Was Going On; Others Did Too
NOBODY TOLD ME.
- Why wasn’t I told? That is a hard one to swallow and probably will never understand.
- The Bible says that a friend sticks closer than a brother. Were they really my friends?
- He dramatized stuff to my own family… to one daughter, and sisters. Another betrayal.
- People mostly believed what he told them behind my back.
“Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!” (Sir Walter Scott, 1808)
It’s not something that is easily forgiven or forgotten. I have to live with the fact that people think & believe things about me that are not true. But I’m called to forgive all of it: my ex-spouse… friends… sisters… etc.
The anger, bitterness and sadness will not end unless I extend forgiveness to all parties. As God freely forgives me, I need to forgive others. The pain has to go and move on by building a new life.
Proverbs 19:11 “Sensible people control their temper; they earn respect by overlooking wrongs”.
7 Stages of Grief:
- SHOCK & DENIAL – You’ll first react with disbelief and denial to avoid the pain. Shock is the body’s protection when emotionally overwhelmed.
- PAIN & GUILT – Shock will wear off, replaced with unbelievable, excruciating and unbearable pain. It’s important to feel and not hide it. Don’t avoid or try to escape. Guilt feelings or remorse will come to haunt you. Life feels scary during this time.
- ANGER & BARGAINING – You may lash out and place blame. Try to control it. This is a time to release bottled emotions. You may ask, “Why me?” looking for a way out of your despair.
- DEPRESSION, REFLECTION & LONELINESS – Friends may think you should be getting on with life, but you’re still in a period of sadness. This is a normal, so do not be “talked out of it” by well-meaning people. You finally realize the magnitude of your loss, what it means and it’s depressing. You may want to isolate, reflect and focus on memories of the past, feeling empty or in despair.
- MOVING ON – You’ll start adjusting to life as you become calmer and more organized. Physical symptoms will lessen, and “depression” will lift slightly.
- REBUILDING & WORKING THROUGH – You’ll become more functional, your mind working again, and you’ll seek realistic solutions, reconstructing your life without him or her.
- ACCEPTANCE & HOPE – In these last stages, you’ll accept and deal with reality. Acceptance does not mean instant happiness because pain and turmoil changes you. You’ll move forward and begin to plan for the future. Eventually, you’ll remember without pain and sadness. You’ll once again anticipate good times and find joy in your life.
I’ve made it through each of the 7 stages of grief…
CONTINUE MY STORY HERE: The Day My Heart Stopped Beating
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