Grief is a part of life. We lose someone or something we love, it’s a natural human response to mourn and grieve.
Usually there’s a process for grief and all grief is valid.
When someone we love dies we are generally surrounded by community offering support, bringing meals, running errands, cleaning house, taking care of kids etc. There seems to be no shortage of generous offers to help the bereaved.
There are also rituals and services to commemorate who or what was lost, we celebrate memories of life and happier times. We gather and collectively share the loss and we move through the process to heal. We try our best not to bypass the grieving process.
But how do we grieve after the world as we knew it is decimated because of our partners betrayal? Where is our tribe then? Surely we need to grieve what has been lost, how do we even start to do this though when no one seems to understand or acknowledge our loss? What—if any—are the social norms around this kind of loss? I believe that minimising or failing to recognise the losses associated with infidelity only serves to delay an essential part of healing—it is disenfranchised grief.
Think about some responses or reactions you received when people discovered that you had been betrayed by your partner. Did you hear things like “You’ll be better off without them” “They don’t deserve you.” “Maybe it’s a blessing in disguise.” “It could be worse, it’s not like anyone died.” “Get over it, they’re a deadbeat.” “What did you do to cause it?” “It’s only porn, it’s not like they cheated on you.” “You’ll get over it.” “Just move on.” “It was only a one night stand, why are you so upset?” “They made a mistake, forgive them and move on.” “Let’s go out and party, you might meet someone else.”
There’s endless supply of dismissive throw away lines, likely unintentional, yet totally unhelpful for betrayed partners in mourning. How does it benefit anyone when their insides are haemorrhaging and they’re desperate to be allowed to express their sorrow. It effectively shuts them down, communicating to them that their feelings are not valid, or perhaps there is something wrong with them, this may result in delaying the grieving and healing process.
Perhaps no one even knows yet and you are holding the entire weight of your world yourself, ugh this is too much to bear, your pain is unimaginable. I’m so sorry 💔
Our needs, our sadness, our sorrow, our feelings and our thoughts are all valid, so how do we honour ourselves in our grieving?
I’m so excited to announce that in July this year Cat Etherington and Fran Hopwood from The Naked Truth Project in the UK are visiting Australia for their WholeHearted Intensive Grief Retreat. The retreat will be a sacred space for women healing from intimate betrayal, with particular focus on the largely overlooked grieving process.
After speaking with Cat last night I can’t wait to be a part of this amazing weekend. It is going to be an awesome opportunity for women to gather on our home turf! I’m certainly looking forward to immersing myself in stillness, reflection, group activity and finding that balance between “work” and rest in a stunning location. Not to mention spending time with some of the most courageous women I know!
All of the details can be found on my events page. I will have a couple of spare seats in my car for anyone around S.E Q.L.D. or Northern N.S.W, girls road trip! Spaces for the retreat are limited, I think the capacity is 18 so it’s going to be a wonderfully small gathering of women who truly understand this journey. I hope you will consider coming along!
Please, please share this with anyone you know who would benefit from joining us in this act of self care and don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.