Ahhhhh the affair partner, how many colourful names do we have for them?
The dirty rotten pieces of work that they are—damn home-wreckers who set out to destroy our lives!
Are they really?
Here’s my theory, it may not be a popular one and at the risk of setting a cat amongst the pigeons, I’m just going to share what’s true for me…
I’m not saying that I haven’t used harsh words when referring to an affair partner. If you’ve read our book you’ll know that I used some very uncharitable words describing one woman in particular, I hope you hear me out, and please hear my heart.
The way I see it is this—our significant others were accountable for their own actions when they chose to betray us. Sure, they had willing participants, but ultimately, they were responsible for their commitment to the relationship we had/have, marriage or otherwise.
Not one of Dave’s affair partners forced him to do anything that he wasn’t ready to run with in the first place, (heck a few of them probably didn’t even know that that’s what they were to him 🤷♀️) His own vulnerabilities, lack of boundaries, little self-awareness and shredded self-worth led him into places he never thought he’d go.
I’ve heard a truckload of statements from the betrayed—she* chased him and pursued him, she wouldn’t take no for an answer, she kept flirting with him, she’s a no-good so & so, it’s her fault. All of this may be true, but in my mind, our partner’s did have a choice. They could choose whether to engage and give in to selfish desires or walk away. They chose themselves over anything or anyone else that mattered at the time.
I’ve been hit on by men and women, (I’m sure you have too) and before I married Dave, willingly involved myself with some (single guys not taken ones). Since being married though, I’ve never once leant towards giving in to the advances of a man nor encouraged continued interest from them in any way shape or form.
It’s really not that hard to point to the wedding ring on your finger, and say “Sorry I’m taken and frankly, I’m just not interested”. Even if the potential tempter or temptress persists, we all have a will of our own; I’m sure none of our spouses had a gun pointed at them when they succumbed to temptation.
And here’s the thing, temptation will always be there, people willing to engage in illicit affairs will always be there.
A truly confident secure person doesn’t let the stroking of an ego prop them up, they don’t need it.
The reason I share all of this is that I fear that too many hurt and betrayed people continue to focus intently on how bad and horrible the affair partner is, even after the affair has long gone.
Name-calling, anger, hurt and rage all have a place in recovery when held in a safe space, but there comes a time when excessive ruminating about the AP can lead to the deep root of bitterness taking hold.
Although cursing the AP is completely justified; there comes a time, when this ceases to be therapeutic and only keeps us cemented, twisted and stuck in an ugly painful place.
I guess I’m trying to say, we all have to mindfully let the other person or persons go—eventually.
It’s our choice…and the question to ask ourselves—does holding on to ill will or contempt towards the other person bring us closer or does it take us further away from the healing we so desperately desire?
A hard heart is the greatest barrier to true love.
The affair partner doesn’t deserve any more of our precious energy or space in our lives than they’ve already stolen from us.
So next time you’re tempted to curse the other woman or man—remember—what you focus on expands.
It’s Easter, this is the most important event in all of history for a believer. Every bit of suffering we endured through the heinous assault of betrayal, the profound agony, Christ took it all to the cross with him. I don’t need to bear this burden and neither do you my friend.
Focus on you, focus on your relationship, don’t let the AP take up any more space in your beautiful soul. You’ll be surprised at how much room this makes for thoughts that serve us so much better.
It’s been said before, “You can’t affair-proof your marriage, you can only affair-proof yourself.”
Be blessed this Easter, give yourself the gift of freedom, love and life!
Noni & Dave xxx
Ephesians 4:31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamour and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.
*for the sake of this post I’m keeping it simple and gender-specific, coming from a betrayed wife’s perspective, men are very often betrayed by their partners too.