You didn’t deserve this…
You did nothing to cause it and there is nothing that you could have done differently to prevent it from happening.
Your partners’ betrayal had nothing to do with you, heck it didn’t even have anything to do with the other person/s or object/s they chose to betray you with. So please Beautiful Betrayed, don’t even begin to question whether or not you “measure up”, there is no comparison.
Your partners’ choices were all about t-h-e-m-s-e-l-v-e-s.
They used whoever or whatever they chose for their own selfish desires and insecurity.
I know that this is really hard for you to believe right now because your world has been completely shredded. You feel like a grenade has detonated inside your heart and you’re wondering how the person you loved and trusted the most in the entire universe was capable of pulling the pin.
I want you to know that you’re not alone.
I know that this pain is all-consuming, I know that you can’t even begin to imagine how the pieces will ever be put back together and I know that at times—you can barely breathe.
I know that the colour has been drained from your life, I know that you’ve been robbed of joy, I know that sometimes you just want to curl up and die and that some days you beg for the earth to just open up and swallow you whole.
I know that you’ll want to kick, punch and scream, hey—you should—go right ahead—find a safe place where you won’t hurt yourself or anyone else and just let it out. Howl and bellow and throw your fists into a pillow, rage until you’re spent, then pick yourself up and dust yourself off—because my friend you’ve got sh*^ to get done.
You’ll likely be facing the person you love and they’ll be feeling really sorry—sorry they got caught—sorry they hurt you—sorry that they might lose their partner, family, house, job, car etc. Sorry, yes they’ll be sorry alright, but please don’t mistake a quick sorry for true remorse.
The best apology is changed behaviour, any apology without this—is manipulation…Unknown
You might want to confront the piece of work that was a willing participant in the annihilation of your marriage, there may be more than just one. You might want to give your partner a taste of their own medicine and have a revenge affair, you might want to destroy property, you might want to announce your partners’ infidelity to all and sundry, publicly humiliate them on social media. Why not, they deserve it don’t they.
You want them to feel the same pain as you’re feeling, you want them to hurt because you’re hurting so, so bad. I get it, I truly do but please beautiful betrayed, this is where you need to show yourself the most love and compassion.
Are you really going to feel better if you go out and do any of these things? For how long? And what happens then? Do you land yourself in jail? End up on assault charges? Contract an STI? Carry the burden of guilt and shame on top of your insurmountable grief?
This is far too heavy for you to bear, the thoughts are normal however the actions will only bring more pain. You’ve got enough on your plate for now.
No Dearly Betrayed, you are going to show yourself true love and compassion—you’ll draw on every ounce of self-respect you can muster. You are going to have grace and dignity even though your insides are hemorrhaging, you’re going to get through this.
You’re going to learn a whole new vocabulary, you’ll develop skills for healthy boundaries and you’re going to become an expert in self care.
I’m not going to lie—the early days are excruciating. For the first 3-6 months you’re going to be in critical care mode. You’ll need a solid safety support system around you.
You’ll go through stages of not knowing whether you should leave or stay. You will hate your partner one minute and love them the next, you will want to be with them and also not want them anywhere in sight. You might want to be intimate with them and then be sickened by the thought of them touching you. You want to know everything, you want to know nothing. There’ll be crazy images playing over in your head that you’ll want to shut down but you can’t. You will feel like you’re going crazy, let me assure you that you’re not, I’m so sorry to say, this is all a normal part of the process after betrayal.
You will feel shame for what they have done and what others might know or think about you. You probably never thought that you’d be faced with this and in your mind, you determined that you’d always end a relationship if you were cheated on. But now, this is happening and you’re not so sure of anything anymore—you hate it.
You’ll be wishing that love had an off switch—you’re learning that it doesn’t…
It will be a time of intense confusion. You should hold off making any important decisions during this time because you might not be able to fully trust your emotions.
You’ll need the right guidance to help you through this. This is going to feel like some sick cruel joke, a living hell. There’ll be sleepless nights and aches in your body that you never noticed before. Some days are incredibly dark, remember though, it’s always darkest before the dawn. Other days you’re doing really well and then some ghastly reminder will send you spiralling back into the abyss. Hang in there, keep moving forward, it won’t always be like this.
If your partner has come clean and told you everything there is to know, they might feel great, they might be a whole lot lighter—meanwhile, the overwhelming weight of their secrets has been thrust onto you…and you’re buckling under the pressure. It sucks!
They might be asking for forgiveness, they might not, Lord knows surely they don’t deserve it. You’re the only one who can make this decision for you, and just as sorry should never be mistaken for remorse, forgiveness must never be mistaken for reconciliation.
None of this is fair, I get it and you didn’t ask for any of it, but one day in time to come you will wake up from this nightmare and realise that the pain is gone. You’ll be amazed at how strong you are and how you gained this superhuman strength while keeping your heart soft. Never allow your heart to become hard hoping that it’s going to save you from grief, a hard heart only promises a whole new level of torment.
We will become bitter or better, I pray that you choose better…
I’m so sorry that you are in so much pain right now, perhaps it feels like life will never be as sweet again, I promise it can and will be if you press into your healing journey. It might take a couple of years, it could take longer, the important thing is that you keep on doing the work you need to do to heal yourself. Time alone will not heal your wounds, it is what you do in the time which ushers healing.
Your marriage might be saved, maybe it won’t—know that you’ll be ok either way— determine to heal yourself for yourself regardless.
I understand that love won’t look the same as before, my prayer for you is that it isn’t. I want for you a better life, greater love and marriage than you could have ever thought possible.
Remain true to yourself.
You are worthy to be loved, honoured and cherished.
You’ve got this!
David and Noni have co-authored their memoir Beyond Betrayal 28 Years Lies-Deceit-Infidelity, you can get your copy here.